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LETTERS TO THE WEBSITE!!!!

AN OPEN FORUM FOR THE STOUGHTON COMMUNITY.
We publish ALL signed letters, unedited. Snyder's Stoughton and PMPNetwork, Inc. do not necessarily agree with anything written.


Send your emails to snydersstoughton@aol.com. Permission is granted for all letters received to be printed.

UNEDITED AND PRESENTED HERE IN THEIR ENTIRETY.

 

(If identities are confirmed, we print--with confidentiality, upon request. )"


"Mark, I hope this snowy winter finds you well. This winter has been challenging with the massive amounts of snowfall. Unlike many others, my husband and I LOVE it, being skiers and winter activity enthusiasts. While I know many struggle with the burden of snow removal, I can not understand why the extra bit of effort is not put forth by land owners to clear fire hydrants on or NEAR their property. We have a hydrant on our property and my husband dutifully clears it every snowfall every year, not just for our own property safety but also for those around us. We hope we will never have to see the fire department here using it, but know that if they do have to show up, that what ever is burning in the area will be attended to immediately and not burn for another 20-30 minutes while the firemen clear the hydrant.
I counted 7 hydrant sticks poking up through the snow drifts on Plain Street....ONLY 3 are shoveled out. What a crime!
COME ON PEOPLE...do your part. Clear the hydrant on or near your property.  Stop waiting for someone else to take care of it. It is in your and your neighbors best interest."--
Sincerely, Diane Whittaker and Bob Morrow

"Dear Mark, As the current president of the Stoughton Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SSEPAC) and the previous co-president, I am sad to hear that the fundraiser organized by Mr. Fernandes and Mr. DeAndrade was not that successful. Until I read your website, I did not know who was hosting the fundraiser. Nor had anyone contacted me or the SSEPAC regarding the fundraiser. However, if I had been contacted, I would have been glad to publicize the fundraiser through our own email list and share the information to create awareness. I am concerned about the remarks you quoted from a 'major donor to the Stoughton School System' blaming the SSEPAC for this entire situation. I respect the 'major donor’s' wish not to be identified further, though it makes it harder for me to counter his claim. However, I find it hard to credit his expectation that a small group of parents of children with special needs, volunteering their limited time and with no paid staff or communication expertise, should be responsible to do something that the School Committee and School department, with paid staff and resources, was not able to do. I do believe there is some misunderstanding of the role of the SSEPAC. For those who may not understand, state law requires each district to have its own Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) to advise the school committee and administration on special education issues in the district and to provide parents of students with disabilities with information, advice and support. We, along with the district, also provide the annual Basic Rights presentation required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. One activity the SSEPAC does not engage in is fundraising. As a public body established by the school committee, in order to engage in fundraising, we must either follow strict rules about public funds donated to a school committee or to form a separate and private 501(c) (3) organization. Speaking for myself, I don’t really have the time to take on the additional responsibilities of a non-profit fundraising organization. But the biggest motivator behind the decision not to engage in fundraising is that each school has a PTA/PTO that engages in fundraising, and we do not wish to compete with them for the limited fundraising dollars. After all, our students are students of their individual schools first. This has long been our practice, way before I became involved. The 'major donor' states that we are 'constantly looking for more money.’ Since we don’t fundraise, I can only surmise that the money we are constantly looking for is to have special education needs met in the budget by advocating for those needs before the School Committee and Town Meeting, which is our obligation under state law. While anyone has the right not to agree with the content of our advocacy, or even more so with our own individual political views (which also vary among individual members), no one has the right to demand that we not engage in what the state law requires us to do. Furthermore, HHI would hope that he, or anyone else, would not punish the schools or students for adults exercising our individual 1st amendment rights to engage in political speech. Since I would like to do my part to prevent a situation like this in the future, I am providing my contact information for anyone who would like to contact SSEPAC for any reason. My home phone is (781) 344-6714 and my personal email is carolynjcampbell64@verizon.net. The SSEPAC email is ssepac@yahoo.com. In addition, I would suggest that anyone wanting to organize a fundraiser for any school purpose contact the particular school’s PTO/PTA as those organizations are 501(c) (3) organizations that do engage in fundraising. Very truly yours,"--Carolyn Campbell, President, SSEPAC


"The momentous January 29th vote by the MSBA commenced a period called "Eligibility" during which there is a tight time frame and list of prerequisites. 
These are: certification of the District’s understanding of the grant program rules; a summary of the District’s funding capacities; a summary of the District’s existing maintenance practices; certification of a design enrollment for the proposed project agreed upon by the MSBA; confirmation of community authorization and funding to proceed; and, execution of the MSBA’s standard Feasibility Study Agreement, which establishes a process for the District to be reimbursed for eligible expenses. Here is a graph of the process:  http://www.massschoolbuildings.org/building/prerequisites

Many of these have already been done. One of the big ones is the funding for the feasibility study. There are towns that have been invited into the process but the invitation has had to be rescinded because they were not able to move forward with this appropriation. The Feasibility Study Committee (we voted to dissolve just recently since our work is done) developed a presentation for the 2012 Annual Town Meeting. This is a shortened version of it:  http://www.snydersstoughton.com/FeasibilityStudyarticlePart1.pdf
There was a near unanimous vote in favor of a $1,000,000 appropriation for a feasibility study by town meeting members.

The Feasibility Study period (likely later this year after another MSBA vote) will begin the tight collaboration between the town and the MSBA to look at what the options are to meet the educational programming and facility needs at the high school. In the case of a nearby town, Norwood, there were about eight different options offered to meet the needs at their high school, each with schematic drawings and estimates.

The other major piece is the School Building Committee. This has to be in place by April 3. This is a very carefully controlled process by the state since Stoughton is now eligible for tens of millions of state money and expertise. The composition of the School Building Committee is proscribed by required roles, but there is community expertise in very particular areas to be tapped. The MSBA approval of the committee is required. This link shows the composition of the required School Building Committee:  http://www.massschoolbuildings.org/sites/default/files/edit-contentfile/Guidelines_Forms/Guidelines_...

If there are members of the community with architecture, engineering and/or construction experience they can apply for the School Building Committee by sending a résumé and letter to the Stoughton Town Manager. There will be a significant commitment of time with meetings that may be once or more per week over several years.

We, as a town, have collaborated together to make this very exciting project begin. It was town-wide support for the Stoughton High School  Statement of Interest (SOI) that made this happen. It is the TOWN that builds the school, in collaboration with the MSBA. 
We have a very long way to go but we are on our way!"--Deb Sovinee, School Committee

 

" Mark, I enjoyed reading your Stoughton Jounal story entitled "Transparency lost under new Town Hall rules." But, please do not just blame Hartman and Kelley. I believe they proposed this radical change to the Selectmen before they implemented it. And, the Selectmen approved. Too bad, Municipal government is going Rizzi style. In old days, school
district department heads would come to the school committee meeting to defend their budget proposals. With the blessing of the school committee, Rizzi did away with this and other great transparency measures."--Dr. Erdem Ural, School Committee

"To the Editor: Having Naloxone, also known as Narcan, in Stoughton Police cruisers will undoubtedly save residents’ lives in future opiate overdoses. I want to recognize the great work of Chief Paul Shastany and members of the Stoughton Police Department for their bold leadership combating the scourge of drugs and impact of addiction. Despite the challenges of getting this medication in the hands of first responders, Chief Shastany and the members of the department have worked closely with Dr. Dan Muse at Brockton Hospital to equip every cruiser with Narcan.  Stoughton Police continue effective enforcement, including working with regional task forces and the State Police drug unit attached to my office, to stop those who are selling poison to our children. Stoughton Police accepted a grant from my office to install a 24 hour, 7 day a week prescription drug take-back and disposal capability at the police station – helping residents get unneeded drugs out of their homes and secure. The largest killer of young people in our area is now prescription drug abuse and opiate overdose. Norfolk County alone saw 60 overdose deaths in 2013 – more than the entire states of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire in the previous year. Stoughton saw 3 fatalities in a single, awful, week last summer.    I want to personally commend Stoughton for being a leader in Norfolk County on this most important issue."--Michael W. Morrissey, Norfolk District Attorney

"Mark: I just got back from Warner, NH, this glorious day after Christmas '13. I met my daughter, from Stoughton, to bring my 2 grandsons to VT for vacation.
Today, it was snowing pretty good. On my return trip home, for about 15 - 20 miles traffic on Rte 89 North was going approximately 30 mph. Part of the reason
was the road conditions from the snow, but, a greater reason were the 7 cars that had gone off the road because of the conditions and, most likely, speed. Of
those 7 vehicles one was from NH, one from VT AND 5 Massholes, drivers from MA. Normally, I would feel for these people, this time I didn't, though. I guess
it's true that MA drivers are some of the worst and are definately in a hurry to die. Four wheel/front wheel drive are great for getting through snow (my wife I both have four wheel/front wheel drive vehicles since moving to the Socialist Republic of VT) and we have learned a valuable lesson....the vehicles work great in these conditions, but, like every other vehicle...they stop the
same way, drive too fast and you're probably going to pay the price for it. It really is ashame that people don't learn. By the way, people from MA are lovingly (????) referred to as Massholes by native Woodchucks (name of VT'ers). People from other "Flatlander" states are also referred to as Massholes, just take off the capital M.   Also, my daughter, on her trip home was STOPPED for 1 hour and 45 minutes because an 18 wheeler had overturned in the southbound lane on Rte 89 in NH. People, will they ever learn???"--Peter Everett, Morrisville, VT

"I would like to that Mark Snyder for giving me the opportunity to share my concerns. As a parent with a child with special needs I have a lot vested in the Stoughton School Systems. Prior to starting at the Edwin A. Jones Preschool, I would have never thought my son would be where he is today. They took a little boy with few words, very little eye contact, limited social skills and have molded him into the happy, thriving, social boy he is today. It has been a long road. From the beginning when he would attend a school concerts with his ears covered and back turned, but a teacher next to him consoling him, making me feel less embarrassed that I had a child who was different. One thing that most special needs parents have is fear, fear of the unknown and fear of not doing the best for their child. The day he walked into Kindergarten and I met his teacher, that was one fear I was able to put aside. When his medical condition began to deteriorate, he needed a feeding tube, his nurse was there supporting me and assuring me that no matter what he would be taken care of while he was in school. She never waivered, or had second thoughts. Fast forward and my child is now in third grade. The team that has formed to ensure he succeeds is phenomenal. They each have fought for him, laughed with him and cried with me. In my heart I know that each and everyone of them I have to thank for his success.

So after my back ground, I can explain why the teachers not having a contract affects my family so much. This is the first time that my fears have returned. Fears that highly skilled people that work with my son on a daily basis, are not guaranteed their futures, which jeopardizes my son’s future. Why would we consider making the Stoughton School Systems a place that a new teachers will flock to due to a new pay scale, but then in turn we have nothing to ensure they stay. Why would we look for changes when what we have now works perfectly? My son thrives on consistency. Some of his therapists have worked with him since preschool and the others he has had all four years at the Gibbons School. Each teacher for him I know is carefully planned for to make a perfect match. The numbers sadly show the truth, 17 teachers who did not have their contracts renewed, 17 more teachers choose to leave Stoughton for another school system or career so they would have the time and resources to do the job that should be done, and 2 teachers retired earlier than planned. How long can we continue to have teachers leaving us before we have a school that fails? 55 new hires this year alone is a scary thing, if we no longer have seasoned teachers to guide them, how will we continue be proud of our schools? I can only hope that the school committee will look at the future of our town and work towards a contract that will be fair, a contract that will attract and keep these professional that our children need to succeed."--Marlene

 "Hi Mark, As a longtime resident of Stoughton, (41 years) I've appreciated all of your articles pointing out the  positives in this town.  Unfortunately, this letter is being written because I see no way of rectifying the following situation, other than by writing to you.  During the last three years, snowplows have destroyed my mailboxes during their routine clean-ups.  It's odd that, for 38 years, my mailboxes have not been disturbed in any way.  I have not moved the box, at all, so the only conclusion I can draw is that the town, lately, is hiring people who don't take pride in their job and ride through the streets way too fast!  Three years ago, the box was dented twice (in two different storms,) but it stayed on its perch.  It no longer closed tightly, but was workable.  Last year,  I needed to purchase TWO new mailboxes, because the first one was again ruined.  Now we come to our first storm, this season, which was hardly even a storm.  We might have received five inches of snow, and yet my mailbox was laying on the ground, Sunday morning, in a crumpled mess!  I tried calling the D.P.W., several times, to no avail.  They maintain the mailbox is on town property and they will not replace them.  Believe me, if they had to replace them, we'd all see a drastic reduction in the carelessness of these drivers.  When my plow man came to plow my driveway, he told me that he saw at least twenty homes with broken mailboxes, some with the posts down, as well.  Today I saw some of my delivered mail lying on the ground!  Maybe if you publicize this problem, and you hear from other people, the town will have to be more careful in hiring drivers.  When I suggested that to the woman at the DPW she said  "We're lucky to get any drivers."  As of now, I have to retrieve my mail from the Post Office! (What a pain!")  I hope you will publish part of this leter, or paraphrase it, but please dont ignore it.  I am going to sign my name, but I DO NOT WANT YOU TO PUBLISH IT, for fear of reprisals from the plow drivers.
Thanks for your attention, (Name Withheld Upon Request)

"RE: "SURVEY: HALF OF STOUGHTON TEACHERS  COULD BE LOOKING FOR JOBS"  Mark: There is one big problem with this story. A postscript that there are not many teaching jobs available, anywhere.Where do these teachers think they are going? They all should be grateful that they have the opportunity to work with our youth. Many graduates are struggling to find teaching and other employment. - -Arthur Slate

"Hey Mark. I'm glad you will still write your column in the Stoughton Journal. My Wife and I really enjoy it. I know you are moving but I want to let you know how much we enjoy the info and stories we get from you. Thanks Mark and please keep on truckin with your column."--Jim Doherty

"Mark, Just curious if you have heard from any other residents over the lawsuit that the owner of the whiplash is pursuing against the town for violating civil rights for the actions taken against his bar for the April shootings? If Stoughton is serious about cleaning up and attracting a "much" better element, then it had better stick to its "guns" (no pun intended), and keep this dump shut down. This town is in very deep trouble Mark with a very bad class of people pouring in, mostly due to the low income housing that has been shoved down our throats over the past few years. The center looks like a run down mess and the only people being attracted to it are those out of the inner city troubled neighborhoods. All of that trouble is just going to come right along if this town does not take control and limit what comes in. The last thing this town needs is housing units above store fronts in the center or any more low income projects. One only has to look at the police logs each week to see what these places are doing to our town and schools. Enough is enough. I cannot believe that this Mr Silva that owns the whiplash is saying the town violated civil rights and are against his establishment because of the race of the people. What about the rights of the people of this town and what is being done to this town. Maybe to Mr Silva 90 police calls to his place of business with the last one involving shootings is no big deal, but it is to me and my family and a lot of other people that have always called this town home. If this is progress for our town then stop the ride and let me off. This town pulled together years ago to stop an adult book store from going in the square, so where are the voices over shootings and drug violence/deaths and blight and crime?????I am very concerned for Stoughton and I can't see how in gods name any good family looking to put up roots would come here any more? The only people that come here are the ones directed here by welfare and phony hypocritical politicians that work very hard to drive the unwanted citizens out of their towns and into towns like Stoughton. No names mentioned but the biggest offender is from Milton and this town keeps electing him? He is so big for 40B projects yet his town is no where near 10% affordable. Why doesn't everyone put a stop to the way this town has been and continues to be treated. Pick a path people. Do you want this town to become another inner city dumping ground or a nice family community where you don't have to worry about walking by a bar and getting shot because a bunch of out of control, uncaring entitled people can't be respectful or care for others? It's our choice so what will it be? Mark, please just use my first name. It is a shame that it has to be this way but this isn't the country we all once knew and I have a family to keep safe." Thank you--Jim

 

"Dear Mark, Thank you for writing your column about Stoughton. I lived in Stoughton from 1951 through 1965 and every time I come back to the Boston area, I come “home” to Stoughton. I went to school with Cynthia Walsh, Stoughton Selectman, all the way from 3rd grade through high school graduation.  We still correspond and visit each other when we can.  I still feel connected to Stoughton and care about how things are working there. I agree with you that Stoughton is a beautiful place and one with wonderful, caring people.  They formed my goals and outlook on life, all the time that I was growing up there.  I was truly fortunate to have lived there. I live in Pearland, Texas and work at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, but I still follow your column and care about Stoughton and YOU.  I hope you are progressing nicely in your recovery from back surgery.  Keep up your positive words of wisdom about this lively town.  They are a legacy to the town’s future! Best of luck to you.  Thanks again for the column."--Bonnie Baum, M D Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Immunology

"Hi Mark , I hope your doing well as your recovery continues. I think we all looked on in horror and anger and disgust as we witnessed the Monstrous attacks on our beloved Boston Marathon. To attack innocent women and children and men especially an 8 year old boy named Martin.Is the most cowardice act imaginable.To view this  in person or in real time on our smart phones or on the computer. As I was doing. The last 7 years I watched the marathon in person. I never imagined this could happen.   My first thought was “this is it they have come back”. But I was amazed at the reaction of the civilians going straight into the fire and ground zero even as the second bomb and explosion went off. Without any hesitation or apprehension for their own safety. True heroes who react in a moments notice without fear and skillful resolve to help fellow citizens and human beings. I once asked FF Jim Rush many years ago why he did what he did and he stated “Because people need help” and someone needs to help them. Eloquent and precise and I have never forgotten what he said. I have read about the story of Carlos Arredondo the man with the “Cowboy hat “and listened to him this week on sports radio. I have to say my first reaction was that this man must be a suspect! But now if there was ever someone who was trying their hardest to be forgiven for their past and to be redeemed ……………it is truly this man. As he instinctively knew to hold the man’s femoral artery and to pinch it until medical help took over. I see where his hero son learned his own character. Who was a Blue Hills H.S. graduate. In 2002. Then to read the story of Captain Bob O’Donnell who as a spectator waiting for his son to finish the race. Jumped into action to help his fellow mankind without any regard for his own safety and to draw on all of his training and education and experience as a Stoughton Fire fighter and emt, paramedic and nurse. Right there at the right time to help others in their time of need and to show his true resolve as a leader in our community and beyond. I hope the town manager acts swiftly to give an official commendation to Captain O’Donnell for his bravery and actions in a terroristic attack.   I am sure everyone including Captain Bob O’Donnell will be honored at the State House in the near future. And I am glad we have such a dedicated professional staff of employees at the Stoughton Fire Department who answer every call. I also hope all of us never take our eye off the ball and realize there are still many out there who want to harm us and threaten us because of their sick twisted ideology that we will never understand in a million years. To that I say NEVER AGAIN NEVER AGAIN! Peace Mark Stay strong"--William Statkiewicz  

"Dear Mark First and foremost thank you for keeping citizens like me updated with local news. I am writing to thank you for the wonderful article about my selection as Superintendent of Schools in Norton, MA.  You were very kind in your commentary about who I am as a person and educator.  I spent six years on the Stoughton School Committee and met many parents and educators who work very hard to meet the diverse needs of the Stoughton community.  I also want to thank the wonderful people of Stoughton who made public comments on blogs etc. or simply congratulated me when seeing me about town.  As a kid off the boat (portuguese immigrant in 1974) who has been lucky enough to be brought up in Stoughton within such a diverse community I know what it is to be a Black Knight.  I am proud to say I am a graduate of Stoughton Public Schools, reside in Stoughton and send my daughter to Stoughton Public Schools.   I am thankful for the support. Thank you ALL. With Regards,"--Joseph F. Baeta

 

"Mark, Thank you for your in-depth article on the Finance Committee member’s challenge to the Town’s Veterans’ Agent, Mike Pazyra.  I found it interesting that the committee member would negatively comment on providing services to veterans while the United States is at war.  The country now relies on volunteers to fill the ranks of our armed services. I wonder what a young Stoughton resident would think about joining the service to fight our war knowing that some at home would not want to meet the mandates of the laws which were put in place to protect veterans when they return home. My father fought in World War II.  Upon his return the Town of Stoughton was a welcoming place for veterans. The town offered plots of land on the old Poor Farm on School Street to my father and other veterans. The cost for the plot of land was $10.  My father built his house and raised his family in this home. Over the years, my Dad needed asistance for various service related injuries including surgeries.  The Stoughton Veterans’ Agent helped my father and his family over many years. Things had changed in Stoughton when I returned from Viet Nam.  Stoughton veterans’ services were non-existent.  People may not remember the cost to the town in young men who did not return from that war.  But I do. When I returned it took me years to address my health issues because veterans’ services were not available.  I relied on the compassion of many health care providers. My dentist informed me that the service related damage to my teeth would be too expensive for me.  He got me in a program at a dental school where students did the work. It took over two hundred visits to repair my teeth.  Later, another doctor found a tumor in my jaw.  It was likely the result of exposure to Agent Orange.  My family and the company I worked for took care of the expense for my needed surgery. I came home from Viet Nam with intestinal parasites and still have a blood disorder as a result of malaria.  My son was born with “center-line” birth defects  -- once again the likely result of Agent Orange exposure.  Again, my family and employer covered the surgery my son needed.  I also suffered for many years from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the extended combat I experienced in the year and half I fought in Viet Nam.  Fortunately, I found Veterans’ Services in Brockton and got involved in Rap Group Counseling designed to help combat veterans.  The lack of Stoughton veterans’ services made my war related health issues very difficult.  Does anyone really think my experience should be repeated today? I walk through Faxon Park and read the names on the monuments that list the sons of Stoughton who paid the ultimate price.  Many of them were my school friends.  The names on those memorial rolls go back to the war of Independence, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam.  The citizens of Stoughton, like others, have an obligation to care for  our veterans.  Sometimes,  we, like the Finance Committee member, forget what it costs to have a free society.  Sometimes, a town  -- our town and its veterans -- are fortunate to have a dedicated Veterans’ Services Agent like Mike. He ensures that veterans and their families receive what they deserve under the law.  That includes relying on town volunteers who each year place American flags on the graves of my father, father-in-law, uncle, high school friends and neighbors to honor them and to remind us of the sacrifice it takes to live in our town."--Yours Truly, Mark Hausammann, Town of Stoughton Resident and Veteran of Foreign Wars

 

"Mark, I just read your article about the Vets.  I am so glad that Androchow quit. He was more than rude.I am 100% service connected VA and there have been times I went to see Mike with some questions and I found him to be a terrific agent and he guided me through some difficult situations. Later, he called me and told me about a former Army vet that had a  similar condition that created my disability and that the poor guy wasn't being helped by the VA.  I gathered information and delivered it to Mike and was greatly impressed how hard he was working to help this man. He is a first class Veterans officer.  I just can't even imagine anyone wanting to deny the placement of flags on our vets graves.  As it was well stated in your article that only 1/2 of 1% of the towns budget goes to any veteran aid another % comes to my mind.  Only 1% of the citizens of this country step forward to join the military."--Tom Fitzgerald

"Mark, I believe we are all hurting and in pain collectively as a town. I don’t think you have to know someone personally to feel the effect. With the recent tragedies that have struck our little town. Whether it is near the Chemung hill school, or on Washington St., or off of Turnpike St., or near Amherst Massachusetts or even Newtown Ct. as a nation. When our moms or dads, sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, nieces or nephews or cousins and friends leave us, we hope that it’s because they are off in some other state pursuing their dreams and goals and making a living as they see fit. But sometimes the hurt and pain of reality is that because they leave this earth and their loved ones, long before their time was up. In a way that will bring us all to our knees. I know through my own faith that everyone will enter the promised land of their own faith as promised to them with open arms from loved ones that will greet them that have gone before them, and as promised to them. To welcome them into eternal rest and peace. But that’s not an easy consolation to accept when they are so young with so much promise and joys ahead of them. I think death is the one thing that all people will agree that should be put off as long as possible. But that does not make it any easier in our moments of grief or sadness. So slow down and look around and take a deep breath when you are out and about ,life is precious and fragile and those are your neighbors around you and we all carry our own burdens, so please respect everyone for someone unlike yourself, in their own unique genius because you never really know what someone is going through . Because besides family community is our next best thing. So in the days ahead let’s keep building community here in Stoughton and lets show our families and our friends and neighbors and the world that here we have a really big heart , just take the time to look and see. You know it would not be any easier if it was in the desert of Iraq, or a rice paddy in Vietnam or a rolling hill in France and Germany or a long cold lonely highway close to home or in Afghanistan. But home is the one place that we can and need to find our own solace and peace on our own timetable and nobody should ever take that away or say to someone that is hurting beyond words that they don’t understand, to just get over it! Because you never really get over it, you learn to go on in the hope that we will all see our loved ones again. As beautiful and young and strong and healthy in all their glory and majesty. With a glowing smile that lights up our hearts and mind as we remember them. I hope that my fellow townsfolk think like me and have those around us who are hurting beyond belief, on their minds and in their hearts, and in their prayer’s. Because I know and I am sure they need it most of all. Because any condolence from the heart helps at any given moment to someone in need, it may even come years later from a stranger in the form of a hug. Or in a song you hear. Sent from heaven (like) a) a postcard from heaven perhaps .To say hi, look and listen I’m O.K. and we want you to be o.k. too. So shed those tears its ok because we all have gifts and presents that were given to us over time, that no one can ever take away from us and they are those special memories from all those special moments in time spent and shared with our loved ones. So open each one like you are a child opening a present on Christmas or Hanukah and forever revel in the special joy that it brings. Because it was given for you and only you in your moment of sadness. So may Jesus, God ,Yahweh and the Holy spirit bless all of us right now, and give us continuing and enduring strength in the days to come, especially those in pain and more so right now. Because they need it most of all. Right now and right this moment. ! And may we all feel and experience his Divine Providence."--William Statkiewicz

"Mark, Dr. Ural is right! 1. Attorney Tate is hired as the attorney for the Stoughton School Committee.  She represents the Stoughton School Committee, not the Superintendent of Schools.  During my previous time on the school committee, Attorney Tate represented ONLY the school committee.  The superintendent only called the school committe attorney after being directed to do so by the  school committee.  2.  I was shocked to see that Dr. Urel was treated with such disrespect by the Chairman of the School Committee when he tried to explain his point of view.  He was elected to serve, not to to be silenced and disrespected at every school committee meeting.   3.  I am still waiting for the public comment agenda item that was promised to my wife at a previous meeting.  I found it interesting that she was told by Mrs. Sovinee that the school committee did not allow public comment or input at their meetings."-- David Camacho (former school committee member and 9 year finance committee member)

"Mark, I enjoyed your balance on the gun violence debate, but there are a few things that you missed.  All pistols that are not single shot or revolvers are semi automatic. The second thing that you missed was that in the Sandy Hook and the previous mall shooting that the guns were stolen.  Had the mother of the Sandy Hook shooter locked up her pistols and ammo in a gun safe, which only she knew the combination; the AR15 that her son used could only be used as a club. Keeping all guns out of the hands of the mentally ill would end most of these types of tragedies. We should have universal reasonable gun laws to that end. We should have less violence in our video games, in the movies and on TV. We do not need more arbitrary gun laws that only penalize law abiding citizens. Criminals do not obey the law. That is why we call them criminals. But all the politicians seem to do is offer knee jerk reactions against the 2nd amendment."--Dick Power

 

"Dear Mark, This is in your response to your column dated November 9, 2012 when you stated "Republicans need to step into the 21st century, and drop their rhetoric on abortion and gay marriage if they want to win again. I want to be clear:  I FULLY SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE AND ALL RIGHTS FOR GAY PEOPLE. On the other hand I am appalled and angry that you would group the murder of unborn humans with the rights of Gays.  These issues are not even close to being in the same context. How many Jews were murdered during the Holocaust?  Conservative estimates are about 10 MILLION.  How many Slaves were murdered for the White Man?  Conservative estimates are also about 10 MILLION. Was it not considered by some that these were not actually human lives being taken?  Sounds crazy doesn't it?  Thank God there were people willing to fight and die for those atrocities to end. How many legal abortions have murdered our "unborn" since Roe v Wade?  Conservative estimates have that number at 52 MILLION.

DAY 1   Fertilization:  ALl HUMAN chromosomes are present; Unique HUMAN LIFE BEGINSDay 6    Embryo begins implantation in the uterusDay 22  The heart begins to beat with the CHILD'S OWN BLOOD, often a different type than the mothersWeek 3  By the end of the third week the child's backbone, spinal column and nervous system are forming.  The liver, kidneys and intestines begin to take shape.  Once a woman becomes pregnant it is no longer HER body, it belongs to them BOTH. Do you really not understand that?  Are you suggesting that the people that believe that abortion is murder are supposed to stop trying to save those baby humans in order to get "their people" elected? When will people understand?  I hope and pray that the fight for the unborn never ends until the murdering ends.  Just like those that fought for the Jewish people, and those that fought to abolish slavery, they did not stand down until the murdering was ended. I am fully disgusted by your statement."--
Bernadette Richards

To Snyder's Stoughton: "About 20 years ago, I served on an ad hoc committee to determine what improvements could be made to both the road routing and traffic hazards at the point of convergence of Central Street and Rt. 27 on the downhill speedway towards Cobb Corner. We were stymied by the inability to alter the dimensions of the unused park dedicated to a deceased fire chief between the two roads. I am offering this as backdrop to our meetings that included discussions of Stoughton's answer to the Indianapolis Speedway, traffic lighting, etc. Reducing the steep grading was also considered, to run beyond Island Street, eliminating the scorched rubber currently still needed to extricate oneself from Island Street, but, of course, there 'the Cost.' Perhaps NOW, there are other considerations besides COST!"--Warren Ross

"Dear Neighbor: T he latest Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education MCAS results were released this week for all school districts in the Commonwealth. The MCAS measures student ability for grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 on Reading/English Language, Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering. Below is a quick breakdown of how Stoughton Public Schools students fared:  

 If you would like to see a more detailed breakdown of the data for your district or any other district in the Commonwealth, you may find it at: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/mcas.aspx"--Brian A. Joyce, State Senator

 "Hi my name is Malik Sabree, I guess I'm not sure if I'm directing this letter through the proper channels but I have a concern about the Pleasant/Lincoln St intersection.  Being a resident of Stoughton since 1992 I have never seen as many traffic accidents as I have at this particular intersection.  I see at least one accident a month there and thank god haven't seen anyone hurt.  In light of the towns recent tragedy on Central St with a three year old girl I was wondering if there is anything being done or studied about this intersection?  The status quo can't remain here as I feel that it's another tragedy waiting."-- Malik Sabree

"Hi All: Sorry for the late email but as most of you know I was in the hospital last week when the latest news broke regarding the town manager search.  In my opinion the three finalists the search committee chose are not nearly as qualified as the current interim town manager, Joe Feaster.  Although I was not privy to the interviews, all you have to do is Google the three names to get an insight as to whether any of these three are the type of person you would want to represent our town in the highest appointed position of town manager.  The three names are; Paul Shew of Franklin, MA, Kenneth Fields of Boca Raton, Fl and Michael Hartman of Canton.  You can also log onto www.Snydersstoughton.com to get some of the latest information. The discussion on the candidates is due to take place Tuesday, 9/18 @ 7:30.  I would ask that you attend the meeting if possible. The selectmen may or may not make a decision at that time.  After reading about the other finalists, I would urge you to call each selectman and voice your strong support for the current interim town manager, Joe Feaster.  Joe has done a great job coming into this position.  Unfortunately he had no control over the FY '13 budget as it had already been approved by the selectmen and passed on to the finance committee.  Joe was thrown into the long and exasperating town meeting and handled himself as if he had been on the job for years instead of a few weeks.  Even though Joe was not among the three finalists the SEARCH COMMITTEE chose, the selectman still have the authority to appoint him should they deem him the best candidate. I have been fortunate to have spent some time with Joe on different matters and he has always found the time to listen to my concerns and recommendations.  I'm confident that if any of you had the same opportunity, you would have come out of those meetings as impressed as I was.  Please call the selectmen and let them know that you feel Joe is the person to continue in his current position only this time as a permanent town manager.  Joe is already up to speed with the happenings in our town.  He has already had his "on the job training".  Joe is already a resident of the town and has great pride in being a Stoughtonian. Here are the phone numbers of the selectmen.  They are public record and you have every right to contact them.
John Stagnone, Chairman: 781-341-0153, Stephen Anastos: 781-341-4981, John Anzivino:  781-341-0342, Robert O'Reagan: 781-344-9191, and Cynthia Walsh:  781-344-2470.  
Thank you in advance for you help."--Dick Levine
 
 "Hi Mark, I was very interested to read your review of the town manager interview process and meeting.    I was not able to be at the meeting nor did I see it, but I was alarmed by your quote, "Many of the selectmen seemed to prioritize finding someone ready to do battle with the school department, for funding, procurement, and services." I really hope that is incorrect!   The School Committee has been working very cooperatively with the town manager as well as the Board of Selectmen. We are intertwined in so many ways and share the same goals to make Stoughton a vibrant, flourishing community.    Recently, the School Committee asked for a joint meeting to discuss our mutual goals of making Stoughton the best place to live and work. We plan to share the work that we have done on our Strategic Plan, Facilities Master Plan implementation, Feasibility Committee and Three Year Budget Projection and Vision. This will help to move the capital and financial planning forward, and together. We are looking forward to this. The School Committee is looking forward, as well, to working with whomever becomes the next town manager, and the Board of Selectmen, to develop a unified vision to achieve our mutual goals."--Deborah Sovinee, School Committee Chair

"Mark: Living here in Vermont you would think that all is ideal in this naturally beautiful state. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Just as with more populated states, we have to be constantly on guard, when it concerns children. Their activities are far different than when you and I were growing. As we were, as the develop, they begin to think they "know it all" and start to
explore many aspects around them. Many times without the knowledge of those who are entrusted to protect their safety and well being (like we weren't that way). Today, our social environment is far more complex and we must be ever vigilent with our care of children. This is no easy task, these children will try everything we did (and probably more). We must be aware of what these
children will attempt to stay even with their peers. Point in case, my 11 year old granddaughter fudged her age (must be a minimum of 13 years) just the other day, and created a Facebook
account. This was done without any adult approval. Accidently, her aunt happened upon this and contacted her dad and both myself and my wife. Needless to say, we were not very pleased with this development. Without reading my granddaughter the riot act, we approached her about this. She was, for the most part, forthcoming with answers to our questions (be real, kids have a hard time trusting adults when they perceive punishment is on the way). Turns out, many of her friends have these accounts on Facebook. Without trying to scare her, we tried to explain both the good
and bad of these social media formats. We used this situation as an excellent time introduce to her several terms that she will hear on news, in newspapers,
etc. Two words: Preditor and Stalker. She had to research what they meant and then we had a discussion on these words. We did cancel her Facebook account, for now. When she reaches
the proper age it can be brought up again for discussion. As we were, children are naturally curious. Unfortunately, as we were, they are too trusting. Because of this we, those who are responsible for them, must take the time to educate them in the ways of today's world. Some are not going to like this next statement. IT IS NOT UP TO THE SCHOOLS TO DO THIS!!!! This is OUR responsibility. We may be tired from our daily routines, we may not think we have time time to do this, we may not think that they will listen to us. We can come up with so many reasons to not do
things. None of them are valid. As a parent and grandparent, my main goal has been the well being of those children I love. I've made mistakes with my kids, things I wish I could do over again. One thing I don't think my children could say is I didn't care about them or wasn't there when I was needed. There were times, I'm sure, my kids hated me for the things I had to do as they grew, yet as parents themselves, they are realizing that not everything dad did to them was so bad. So Mark, in conclusion, ever vigilent we must be. We still have to work very hard to stay one step ahead of today's growing children. They are tricky (as we were), they are a bit more sophisticated in many aspects (technology in my case) than we were. There may be that one instance where, by
being there, willing to listen, share our knowledge with a child, we can protect them from unforseen harm. Don't know if this made sense to anyone, made me feel better talking about it."--Peter Everett, Morrisville, VT

 

"To the Honorable Members of Stoughton Board of Selectmen (BOS), and Stoughton School Committee (SC): During the recent joint meeting of BOS and SC, communication and trust problems between the two boards were discussed and the need for improved access to board meeting records was highlighted. The current situation leaves a lot to be desired. If a board member wanted to understand why the other board voted a certain way on a particular issue, he or she could theoretically examine the meeting minutes, or watch the video record of the meeting on public access channel broadcast by SMAC (Stoughton Media Access Corporation). To see if the system is working as intended, I just checked to see what is currently available through abovementioned channels. The latest set of the BOS minutes posted on the BOS website is from the February 1, 2011 meeting, which was approved on August 9, 2011. Although the SC is not as tardy, it does not post all its agendas and minutes. Those that are chosen for posting can take up to 100 days to appear on the school department web site. Furthermore, both BOS and SC minutes violate the Massachusetts Law because they do not include a list of the documents and other exhibits used at the meeting. Thus, it is plenty clear that neither BOS nor SC web sites can be relied upon by the Board members or by Public to obtain timely and accurate information on what transpire in the meetings. Video records of the public meetings that are considered important (e.g. most BOS, SC, FinCom meetings) are created and broadcast through the public channels of cable television by SMAC. Because the TVGuide function of the cable services does not display the local programs, SMAC publishes its programs on its web site; few days worth at a time, with a warning *Schedule subject to change without notice*. Public cable channels cannot be relied upon by the Board members or by Public to obtain timely information on what transpire in the meetings, either. For example, lately, the education channel has only been broadcasting the School Committee meeting that was held on January 24, 2012. Instead of more recent meetings, it is mysterious why SMAC chooses to broadcast the January 24th meeting day after day (sometimes twice a day). During the recent joint meeting of BOS and SC, I had requested that Stoughton adopt a system similar to that used by Easton cable access, where all recorded meetings are available on demand. The viewer can easily navigate within the video, going forward and backward to a desired discussion. I understand Easton uses TelVue CloudCast services for streaming meeting videos and video on demand services. I also understand, Easton (or their local access company) pays approximately $2,500 per year to host the video files and to stream them. You can find further information on this system at:

http://www.telvue.com/products/cloudcast/. I respectfully request that you test the Easton system by visiting: http://eastoncat.org/gov-channel-tvguide. You can select any date, and click on “watch now” button for those available on demand. If you would like to see a similar system implemented in Stoughton, please advise Steve Innis, and your favorite SMAC director."--Erdem Ural

"I'd like to extend a formal THANK YOU to everyone who donated for the Fundraiser last week! Your generosity and kindness allowed me to deliver over $1000 in Cash, Gift Cards, Clothing & Food to my friend and her family who were victims of the Park Street fire last week!"-Bela Santos

Mark, I wanted to inform the residents of Stoughton of an important project currently in process: The Pinecrest neighborhood in Stoughton (near Denneno’s) is getting its gas lines replaced.  I spearheaded this initiative by writing to the president of Columbia Gas.  We have had several leaks & repairs—all reactive approaches.  The gas company is constantly in our neighborhood repairing the gas lines, which are over 60 years old.  A “Band-Aid” doesn’t solve the problem.  We need a proactive approach so nothing catastrophic occurs.  With the frequent smell of gas looming in the air, you can imagine how concerned the residents feel.  The president of C.G. informed me that while our lines weren’t slated for replacement this year, he re-evaluated his decision and is promptly replacing them. I would like to thank Mr. Stephen Bryant, President of Columbia Gas for his prompt response to my concerns. I'm proud of this initiative, and feel safety is our #1 priority as residents of the Town of Stoughton.  Thank you."--Candace Fisher, Town Meeting Rep, Precinct 7

"Mark: The city of Detroit is on a track as Greece to being bankrupt. Not unlike Stoughton who is $200 million dollars in debt and pays 1million dollars in interest per year because of the debt. The Finance Committee just gave the school department $1.2 million dollars left over from town meeting members votes to be used for other things in the year 2011. The school committee gave the Superintendant of schools a $28,000 dollar increase which is equivalent to a brand new car every year. People out of work would love to have a job paying $28,000 dollars a year given the economy. I am not writing this to criticize the school committee. Timing is everything and the economy says no. Remember there are no plans to reduce Stoughtons’ debt. If Stoughton had a plan to save $4 million dollars per year the debt would be paid in 25 years. This of course is a dream. New Town Meeting Reps have been voted in. Please consider calling them and tell them about Stoughton’s debt. If you don’t know who they are please call the Town Clerks office and get their names. The reps need to know how you are thinking. If you want good government then get involved. If you want better government then call! To cure this problem will take extraneous plans to make this debt go away. We the people of Stoughton must now speak up. We can no longer wait for someone else to repair the damage. We definitely need a plan. Also, the debt has a great impact on the value of your house. People are leaving Stoughton for many reasons and debt is one of them. We need a plan for debt and a plan for the survival of Stoughton. They say local government will only change if the people of Stoughton realize there is a problem. I believe $200 million dollars is a big enough problem."--Joaquin Soares

(sent to snyder's stoughton for publication): "Dr. Rizzi, I am trying to understand the delay in notifying parents of students in the Stoughton school system of the “incident” that took place at Stoughton High School  on April 13th. I have students in both the Middle School and the High School. Here is my understanding of the timeline based on press releases: The incident took place on April 13th, the student was charged on April 20th, and parents/press were notified on April 24th. I am struggling to understand why parents were not notified of the incident until April 24th . On April 24th I received an email from the Middle School (included below) and a phone message notifying us of the incident. C an you answer the following questions: 1)      Why weren’t parents notified on April 13th or at the latest April 20th after the incident was investigated by police? 2)      Why were parents notified the same day the press got the information? 3)      Is there a procedure in place when “incidents” take place at the school? 4)      What specifically went on from April 20th to April 24th (were there multiple side bar meetings to decide whether to let parents and the press know what is going on)? 5)      Has anything been learned from how this “incident” was handle and is there a plan to change how the school system handles “incidents”? Has Stoughton not learned from other school districts in the country that have had “incidents” that releasing the information and notifying the public quickly is the right thing to do? It unfortunately appears that parents were notified because it was going getting into the press, not because we need to inform parents of what is going on. As a parent, this delay in releasing information on an “incident” does not make me feel comfortable that information out of school system is free flowing. Could you address my specific questions above about the “incident”? Respectively." David Walsh

"Hi Mark, I just saw the election results from yesterday.  I wish the winners well in their upcoming (and probably difficult) couple of years ahead. However, the 15% turnout is disgraceful.  Stoughton is having a difficult time right, with many issues, both on the town side and school side, that need to be resolved.  I can pretty much guarantee that far more than 15% of the eligible voters in our town have an opinion, and are willing to share it with anyone at anytime.  The turnout for local elections, which directly impact our town on a day-to-day basis, is deplorable.  To the 85% that didn’t vote – keep your opinions to yourselves.  You have forfeited the right to express them by not voting. I’m sure you’ll write an article about this, as you do after every election; I just want you to know there are many of us who agree with you.. Thanks."--Kevin Monahan

"Mark, in reading Selectman Anastos comments about the potential departure of Human Resource Director Martin McNamara, I want to correct the misinformation that Mr. Anastos has told you and your readers. I had a few conversations with Mr. Anastos, who missed 3 meetings in a row, what Ms. Pope and I had done to find possible candidates for Interim Town Manager. My first consideration and discussion to fill this position was with Mr. McNamara, he was not sure if he would want to take the position, so I started looking for other candidates. Ms. Pope and I made calls to known agencies that specialize in Municipal Government work, we received a few candidates names along with the 2 candidates who sent their resumes in unsolicited, Mr. Feaster and Mr. Sanguinet. Public interviews were held for the candidates who were available to start before the end of March as part of the transition, public nominations took place and a public vote to offer a contract to Mr. Feaster was taken, I am not sure how this is not transparent. The difference between the hiring of Mr. Feaster and Judge Crimmins was one was interviewed in public and one was not. As for the message we are sending to the management team, we provided them with a talented and experienced full time leader, who in his first day on the job worked through the procurement problem with the school department that had been going on for well over a year and dividing our town. I did not want to hire someone just to keep the seat warm and go through the motions. The VNA Director is not leaving because Judge Crimmins is no longer the Town Manager, in fact Ms. Parent was not looking for another job, the opportunity found her and we wish her the best of luck in her new position, she will be missed."-- John J. Stagnone, Chairman Board of Selectmen

"Hi Mark: I would like to record a brief response to Mr. Anderson’s recent letter regarding Glen Echo. First, I confess error. Mr. Anderson is correct that the final purchase price was $1.2 million. What he fails to mention is that the Town Meeting approved a purchase price of $1,250,000, but the price was reduced by $50,000 prior to closing to take onto account the title problems that affected a fifteen acre parcel that was almost entirely undevelopable - completely isolated - wetlands. In one of the appraisals this lot was specifically separated from the rest of the land and the appraiser said it had virtually no value. So the final closing price was reduced to take title problems into account, despite the fact that the title problems pertained to a portion of the land that had no value. Mr. Anderson repeats that there is restrictive language in the deed prohibiting the construction of ball fields during the prior owner’s lifetime. That is not an issue. He is as correct this time as he was last. The point is that the prior owner is over ninety years old and the Town has - and had - no intention of building any ball fields on the property for the foreseeable future. All other development is permitted. The Town meeting will be asked in May to approve a CPA funded sequencing and development plan for the property that, when completed and accepted by the town will be phased in over time. In short, the restrictions in the deed do not impair in any way any reasonable time table for the development of recreational facilities - including ball fields - over the next decade so – and they do not diminish the value of the property. Mr. Anderson says that there is no mention of a 'friendly' eminent domain taking in the warrant article that was approved at town meeting. Of course there wasn’t. The article specifically stated that the town was authorized to take the property by eminent domain and in the visual and oral presentations made by the Open Space Committee and by the Community Preservation Committee the willingness of the owner to cooperate in an eminent domain taking to clear up any title defects was thoroughly explained. Mr. Anderson was at the town meeting and sat through the presentation – so I have to believe that he heard and understood both the possible need for – and the “friendliness” of – an eminent domain taking should that become necessary. It is interesting to note that one of the members of the Board of Selectmen who opposed the purchase of the property did so because he wanted to see the property developed for very 'high end' residences in order to 'attract a better class of people' to Stoughton. This feeling that the upland areas along the lake would command premium prices was shared by several of those who opposed the purchase. It is interesting to hear them now say that the property could not be developed because of wetland restrictions. The fact that the property was never developed had much more to do with the prior owner’s commitment to preserving the property to the greatest extent possible. It went on the market only after Algonquin withdrew its offer to purchase the property. That happened just as the bottom fell out of the real-estate market and developers were no longer buying large tracts of developable land. As it turned out, the delay was in the best interest of the Town because the appraised value of the land fell by more than 40% from the early 2000’s (when the Board of Selectmen initially authorized the Trust for Public Land to begin negotiations to buy the land) to the time of purchase. I note that the town paid more per acre for the Edwin McNamara 47 acre property and for the 80 acre Libby property – neither of which had developable lake frontage and both of which contained wet lands. The Board of Selectmen was well advised by Town Counsel, the Town Treasurer, and Bond Counsel during the negotiations and internal discussions that led to a closing. I would rely on Town Counsel’s opinion as to the legalities of the acquisition more than that of Mr. Anderson. The CPC is well aware of the need to conserve vital funds for important projects in town and voted to support this acquisition because it was considered to be a most important and time-constrained project that had widespread community support as well as the enthusiastic support of several town boards and commissions. I can say with confidence that the CPC takes its obligation to be judicious in the use and application of CPC funds and will only recommend their use for qualifying projects that are within the priorities established with public input and published in the CPC Plan. The Acquisition of Glen Echo was one of the most urgent and most frequently requested of these priorities. Town Meeting overwhelmingly agreed. The short of it is the town has ended up with an extraordinary property at an extraordinarily low price."--John Morton

"Hi Mark: This is in response to Mr. Morton's letter concerning Glen Echo purchase.  Without flowery rhetoric as displayed in the story submitted by Mr. Morton please allow me to submit the following facts:  The purchase price I quoted  ONE MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND AND 00/100 ($1,200,000.00) dollars is correct. The deed restriction I quoted in my previous letter and included on page six of the deed is correct.  This is documented as received, filed and recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds Book 294234  Page 161  #123806.  
This information can be reviewed at the Registry of Deeds in Dedham, on line at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds or at the filed copy at the Treasurer-Collectors office at Stoughton Town Hall.
Mr. Morton told Town Meeting on June 6, 2011 that an agreement had been reached.  Not to our knowledge. Further, Town Meeting was told by Mr. Morton that there was a $500 K grant available for active and a $500 K grant for passive development.   Results????   The appraisal was arranged by CPC  subject to good title. There was no mention in the Town Meeting  article that stated "friendly" eminent domain.  Thus the title is not clear. Ma. General Law Chapter 44B Section 5 (f) states, " no such real property, or interest therein, shall be acquired by any city of town for a price exceeding the value of the property as determined by such city of town through procedures customarily accepted by the appraising profession as valid." Would the deed restriction reduced the appraised value?  The appraisal assumed the price to be for approximately 10 to 12 lots or 96 acres.  It is unlikely that any developer could receive permission to develop the land due to current zoning and environmental  requirements. Glen Echo has been on the market for years-there were no known buyers.  With all of these facts it appears that the Town over paid for this property, $12,000.00 plus per acre.  The deed restriction as stated in the deed was never approved by Town Meeting Representatives. It would appear to me that an extension of this process was in order, that the purchase was not under duress and the Town should have extended the P. & S. until such time as all of these items were addressed.  It is for this reason I did not vote for nor sign the acceptance of this deed.  I am in support of open space and laud the Open Space Committee for their effort in this regard.
As an elected Member of the Board of Selectmen however, I have a responsibility to be fiscally responsible for all tax payer dollars and how they are spent. Careful consideration of CPC expenditures could have saved some dollars for other worthwhile CPC projects in the Town."--John D. Anderson, Vice Chairman, Stoughton Board of Selectmen
 
 

 

"Dear Mark: I was sorry and disappointed to read the letter from John Anderson on your web site. In my view, his letter distorts the facts and tries to create issues where none exist. I note at the outset that the Glen Echo property was the number one priority for protection in the Town's Open Space Plan that was approved unanimously several years ago by the Town Meeting and a prior board of selectmen. Contrary to Mr. Anderson's assertion, the actual price paid for the Glen Echo property was less than $1.2 million because of anticipated title problems. The possibility of title issues was thoroughly explained to the town meeting members at the 2011 annual town meeting as was the possibility of a 'friendly' eminent domain taking to resolve these problems. Any such eminent domain taking would have been 'friendly' because the owner actually was aware of the possibility of title issues and agreed to an eminent domain taking is required to resolve those issues. In fact the town did agree not to build playing fields on the property during the (91 year old) owner's lifetime, but the town had no intention of building any such fields for the foreseeable future in any event. The town is free - under the terms of the deed specifically quoted by Mr. Anderson - to build out any other uses on the property including access roads, parking facilities, bath houses and restrooms, meeting pavilions, beach improvements, hiking trails and more. The restrictions on the construction of playing fields is not an encumbrance at all to the short term anticipated uses of the property. It appears that Mr. Anderson has an issue with the size of the property. He takes issue with one letter that states the property includes 96 acres and another that describes it as 97 acres. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. For the purposes of future discussions, we might assume the property to include 96.5 acres although it has never been precisely measured. Mr. Anderson refers to the six acres set aside for active recreational uses, and asks, 'Where is it?' In fact, it lies southerly of the beach area and includes the approximately level land on which current activities are permitted and future ball fields might be constructed. Mr. Anderson asks if we are now going to build bath houses and parking lots. The answer is probably 'yes.' At least I hope that at some time in the future we will. He asks, 'Who will pay for it?' The Town Meeting voted overwhelmingly in favor of the acquisition with the clear understanding that CPA funds (which include matching grants from the state) could be used for all of the improvements and recreational build-outs on the property. In fact, as Mr. Anderson well knows, there is an article in the upcoming annual Town Meeting warrant asking Town meeting members to approve a CPA funded sequencing and build-out study on the property which will envision and recommend the sequence and types of improvements that the town is able to build on the property - again with CPA support. Finally Mr. Anderson laments that the fire department and the Police department cannot patrol the Property at Glen Echo. I note that neither can they patrol all of the 650 plus acres at Bird Street nor the conservation lands at Chemung Hill, nor the lands behind Ryan Road. All of these lands have hiking trails on them (both formal and otherwise) and the Bird Street property has a water filled historic quarry that has been there for a hundred or so years without serious mishap. I cannot understand the argument that we should not protect one of the most magnificent and one of the last remaining natural resources in Stoughton because of the remote possibility that someone might get hurt when walking the land. I rejoice that our pioneer forefathers did not have that attitude. Imagine disallowing the westerly trek of our ancestors because the police could not patrol the new lands or because someone might get hurt. It is very troubling to me that Mr. Anderson took it upon himself to attempt to frustrate the overwhelming desire of the people of Stoughton to protect and preserve this one-of-a-kind magnificent property for future generations. I hope that in the future he can be more responsive to the clearly articulated preferences of his constituents."--John Morton

"Hi Mark:  Please allow me the opportunity to clearly define some facts concerning the purchase of Glen Echo for Stoughton residents. The purchase price:  ONE MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND AND 00/100 ($1,200,000.00) DOLLARS . Deed Restriction: This deed is subject to the restriction that the Grantee shall not build, permit or cause to be built, upon that portion of the granted premises (approximately six acres) acquired for active and passive recreational purposes, any playing field, including but not limited to soccer fields,baseball fields, basketball courts, or the like , during the lifetime of the Grantor, which restriction shall run with the land and be binding on subsequent grantees during the lifetime of the Grantor. The information posted above is extrapolated from the QUITCLAIM DEED as recorded with the Norfolk Registry of Deeds and a copy filed in the Office of the Treasurer- Collector Town of Stoughton and is a public document. It is interesting to note on the two letters posted previously, there is mention of 97 acres on one and 96 acres on another.  Which is it?  Further in the deed restriction it mentioned 'approximately six acres'.  Where are the six acres located?  The Town is now in the process of acquiring Title Insurance--is the Title not clear? Historic glitches in the title was stated by one of the letter writers.  Now that the Town owns the land, what liabilities to the Town are presented and exposed  in the event of injury by hikers, swimmers and the like?  Recall at last years Town Meeting, Police and Fire Chiefs when asked, both stated that they could not patrol and protect the public in the Glen Echo area. Should swimming be offered, where and how much parking will be afforded the residents?  Are we now to build parking lots and bath houses--if so where and at what cost? As a Town Meeting Representative (Pct.4) I voted against the article last year.  As a Member of the Board of Selectman, I have not voted in favor of, nor did I sign the Deed.   I am in favor of and enjoy open space however it is my considered opinion that the Town spent far too  much money for this property.  To my knowledge this property was on the market a number of years with no potential buyers.  What is done, is done. This year at Town Meeting the Representatives will be asked to fund additional dollars.  Can we, i.e. CPC truly afford it?"--
John D. Anderson, Vice Chairman, Stoughton Board of Selectman
 
"Hi Mark: I have to say that I was offended by John Morton referring to Judge Crimmins as "Frank". Calling him "Frank" is just disrespectful. The man is a former judge, learned in the law and respected by his peers and attorneys who appeared before him. It is wholly appropriate and respectful to address him as either 'Judge Crimmins' or 'Mr. Crimmins'."--Michael L. Georges

"Hi Mark, I read your article about the town manager reason for leaving. I feel there is a need for clarification on the purchase of Glen Echo. The Glen Echo property is not smaller than originally planned, the Town is now the owner of all the parcels that made up the approximately 96 acres. Further the restriction that was agreed to does not restrict the town from using Glen Echo Lake for what ever purpose residents want to use it for, nor does it restrict us from building bath houses and parking lots. The restriction that we agreed to does not allow the construction of playing fields such as soccer, baseball, basketball courts or the like, during the lifetime of Ms. Gibson. The majority of the Board felt that with this being the Open Space Committee's number one priority for the Town and that Town Meeting supported this by voting to purchase the property, that this limited restriction was something we could live with it and because there was no immediate need for new playing fields, it was not worth losing the opportunity to purchase this magnificent property for the residents. There has been a lot of misinformation out there on this purchase. Any resident who has any questions about the Glen Echo purchase they can call me I will be glad to discuss this with them."--John J Stagnone, Chairman, Board of Selectmen

"Hi Mark: wish to correct a statement that you made in your recent article about Frank's departure as town manager. First, I would say that I think Frank did some very good things for the town while he held the office.  I am very sorry that the story ended in the way it did. In your article, however, you mentioned the acquisition of Glen Echo and said that the Town got less land than was approved at town meeting.  That is not correct.  The town acquired the entire 97 acre parcel. You also said that the property cost less than anticipated at town meeting.  That is correct. Because of some historic glitches in the title, the town was able to reduce the purchase price for the entire parcel by about $50,000. Finally, you said that the property "must remain pretty much untouched until she dies."  That is not true.  The only restriction is that no substantial grading can be done on the property to construct a ball field until her death.  In the meantime, the property can be used (and developed) for other active and passive recreational uses.  In fact, there is an article in this year's annual town warrant - with funding recommended from the CPA recreational account - to fund a sequencing and built-out plan for the property. I point out that former owner is in her nineties and has dedicated herself to the preservation of this wonderful property. She didn't want to witness bulldozers doing substantial grading on the uplands behind the old beach. She had no problems with any other form of recreational improvements to the property - and the town is not constrained from making other types of improvements to the land during her lifetime. At the last town meeting, I specifically said that it would take some time and some planning to envision a build-out plan for the property.  I also said that any such planning and build-out would be eligible for CPA funding if approved by the CPC and the Town Meeting.  The planning for the property is right on schedule. The COPC has approved the funding request for the build-out plan and It is now up to town meeting to approve the funding request. Once again, this demonstrates the power of the matching grant program available to the town under the CPA. I am hopeful that the property will be opened for passive recreational uses very soon and that we will begin to see active recreational uses on the property even before ball fields are developed on the six acre portion reserved for active recreational uses. My thanks to you for keeping us all informed about the goings-on in town.  I thought that I should correct the misimpressions that might have inadvertently crept into your article about Frank."--John Morton

 

"A meeting was held today (3/15) concerning the possibility of outsourcing payroll for the Town, including both the school and municipal sides of government. At that meeting were the Superintendent of Schools, the School Financial Coordinator, the IT Director, the Town Treasurer, two members of the Finance Committee, and the Town Auditor Bill Rowe.At this meeting Mr. Rowe was asked if the Town had bid the contract with ADP payroll service that is currently used by the municipal side, and is in its 3 rd year. Mr. Rowe said that the contract had never been bid. When asked if the payments to this company had been stopped as a result of it being an illegal contract, Mr. Rowe responded that he was in fact still paying these bills. Mr. Rowe has stopped payment of bills from numerous vendors on the School side because of technicalities in bidding or advertising, many of which are in gray areas, or that the Schools have been advised by outside agencies have been done correctly. As a direct result of his continuous and repeated actions in these matters, service is in jeopardy in many important areas, including service on our HVAC systems. Mr. Rowe has pulled from the warrant, and refused to pay long time vendors such as our copier company, and told other companies they can sue the town if they want to get paid. The chimney service at the middle school, over $20,000 has not been paid because Mr. Rowe was not satisfied with all aspects of the bidding process. Now we find out that the standard applied to the Municipal and School contracts is entirely different. When asked why he refuses to honor the school contracts while paying for this clearly illegal town contract, Mr. Rowe said, 'Town Manager’s prerogative.' This is an outrage. We demand that the Board of Selectmen immediately direct the Town Auditor to honor the contracts entered into by the School Department in the way he is paying the Municipal contracts. The alternative is to stop payment on all contracts, and clearly this is not being done, even in the case of a major contract that was never sent out to bid! There can now be no question that selection of School contracts for non-payment is purposeful, adversarial, inconsistent, and entirely unacceptable and inappropriate. The School Committee was forced to reject bids for cleaning supplies and classroom supplies because of the Town Manger’s alteration of the procurement process. These bids were given to Bill Rowe on Friday to rebid. Had the School Department been in charge of these bids, they would have been advertised on Wednesday. Mr. Rowe has not done this, and therefore the process will be delayed by another week. A crystal clear example of the substandard handling of the work we are very capable of doing. When asked why the Acting Procurement Officer had not done her job, Mr. Rowe said that she was not in but that she is not sick. Please, stop this madness."--From the Supt. of Schools and the School Committee

"Mark, I don't miss working for Stoughton at all!!!! Most corrupt messed up town I have ever been associated with! As I read your column and Stoughton journal I see nothing has changed! Good luck to all of you in Stoughton!!!!"-- Ronald Dobosz

"Hello Mark: I also voted against the motion of the three other Members of the Board of Selectman and voted to move the budget as presented by the Town Manager and in concert our department heads forward for review by the Finance Committee and then to Town Meeting for potential approval. It is my belief that the best way for Stoughton to succeed in these difficult financial times is for all of us to come together both School Department and Municipal Department and put our collective ideas together and work on a plan that will insure the financial stability of the Town. It is important that we keep focused on the important issues and not the trivial personality spats that have divided the town for too long. Respectfully,"--John D. Anderson, Vice Chairman, Stoughton Board of Selectmen

"Hi Mark, I voted against the budget passed by Selectmen Walsh, Stagnone and Anzivino because it arbitrarily cut $1.4 million from the schools and $400k from the municipal side while setting aside over $1,000,000 in a rainy day fund. We are just coming out of 3 years of austerity caused by the worse economic downturn in a generation. This is the time to start re-investing in our community and absolutely the wrong time to cut school funding. We still don't even know what local aid will be from the state. Last year nearly $2,000,000 became available at the end of April, three months after our budget was developed. We can fully fund the budgets recommended by the Superintendent Rizzi and Town Manager Crimmins if we have the
patience and commitment to work together to find the resources. We can always make the cuts in May if needed."-- Steve Anastos, Stoughton Selectman

"Ladies and Gentlemen, The Selectmen voted a budget recommendation last night.  The implications of that recommendation are as follows: The Town Manager's requested budget has been reduced from an increase of 11.2% to an increase of 8.9%  The 18 new and 2 enhanced positions he is seeking were reduced by about half.   The Selectmen's proposed School Department budget differs drastically from the School Committee's budget in that they are recommending a .008% increase, to the schools, tantamount to level funding.  This represents a  cut of about 1.4 million dollars from the School Committee's level service budget.  The School Department finds this recommendation unacceptable, as this would be a significant and damaging cut to the school department.  Just to put it in perspective, the School Committee budget has more than $800,000 to fund the jobs of 14 teachers currently supported by expiring stimulus money.  The cost of our secondary Social Studies Department is about 1.4 million dollars.  The cost of our entire maintenance department is $1.1 million dollars.  This cut to the level service School Department budget is being proposed to fund multiple new jobs on the Municipal side when the persistent recession warrants frugality rather than expansion.""--Maggie Rizzi

"Dear Mark, I enjoyed your column of December 9 and I thank you for mentioning Jim and his favorite subject,'Christmas Parade.' That was a pet peeve of his that some refer to it as a 'holiday parade.' In the early years of his chairing it (the 80's), it was sponsored by the Chamber and he had strong objections from a local businesswoman who insisted it be called the 'holiday parade.' I believe the Chamber did abide by her wishes, but she soon went out of business and moved out of town, so it once again became the 'Christmas Parade' and Jim stayed on as chairman. This was his favorite activity and he put a lot of hours and love into it, along with his family members and a few dedicated Chamber members. After closing our store at 5 p.m., we would have an assembly line filling bags or stockings with candy for Santa to distribute after the Parade. Some of my family members were with me at the Parade yesterday as is our tradition. Ironically, the news photographer took a picture of our granddaughter and great grandson, James, sitting on the curb enjoying the parade. I'm sure Jim was watching over it all and smiling. Thank you again and Merry Christmas."--Evelyn Callanan

"Dear Snyder, First, I want to thank you for the wonderful pictures and write-up regarding Al Jardin's Memorial.  It was great to see so many people there.  It was a wonderful tribute to my husband.  Also, I appreciated  your recent article regarding Christmas or the lack of calling it that due to the '"politically correct thing to do'.  Whatever that means!  I know that you are of the Jewish faith,and I found it remarkable that you would uphold the Christmas tradition.  Our Christian beliefs are rooted in the Old Testament and the Jewish tradition. More Christians 
should stand up and refuse to use the greeting of 'Happy Holiday.' So, Snyder, thank you for your  article, God bless you, Merry Christmas, and Happy Chanukah."--Marie T. Jardin

"Hi Mark- I watched with sadness last night’s Board of Selectmen Meeting. Sadness for the School Committee and School Department who were unfairly portrayed as being poor managers and poor leaders. Sadness for the Board of Selectmen and Town Manager who are so caught up in the minutia that they don’t see the bigger picture - which is submitting the SOI is non-binding – it just gets us access to FREE technical assistance to gather information on the possibility of a new high school or new elementary school. This is the first step in a long process!! Sad for the community because if the high school loses its accreditation it hurts all of us – young and old. One of the key components of the value of your home is the quality of schools in your community and a non-accredited high school will plummet property values. For those who are saying we don’t need a new South School or High School – this process DOES NOT lock you into building either one – it gives us an opportunity to get FREE technical assistance on the projects. For those of us who love data, no SOI that we do will be 100% complete because that does not exist, until we get additional reviews and people look into the buildings infrastructure it is impossible to list every deficiency. According to the FAQ section of the Mass School Building Authority the SOI is a form that can be completed by cities, towns, and regional school districts that are contemplating filing an application for funding with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).  The SOI asks the district to state what it believes are the deficiencies in a school building and how those deficiencies fit the statutory priorities established in MGL c.70B.  It is the first form that a local district should file with the MSBA.  The purpose of the SOI is to identify perceived deficiencies within a school facility.  Specific remedies to problems that exist will be arrived at only after the district and the MSBA have collaborated in validating any deficiencies and in seeking the most appropriate educational and cost-effective solution. For further questions people can visit http://www.massschoolbuildings.org/building/prerequisites/SOI_FAQs. As for the Due Date being January 11 th, 2012, it is in no one’s best interest to wait to the last day. I compare this to the college application process – the due date may be February 15 th because legally they must have an end date. But as we all know, the applications in first ,get reviewed firs,t and in the pipeline for acceptance. In addition, what would happen if we forgot some important information and we did not realize it – by law – the MSBA cannot come back to us after the due date to tell us what we may want to tweak. So as I tell my kids, you do not want to wait until the last day. But I digress, the Schools and the Board of Selectmen need to work together and calling each other names or putting each other down on TV shows or at Meetings or on the web do NOTHING to help this town. For the Town Manager and School Superintendent, put your differences aside and work together. We are 34 days from the due date and this process needs to move forward. What will be the legacy of the Board of Selectmen? Do they move forward and support the SOIs which will give us access to free technical assistance, help the community, protect our property values and locks us into nothing? Do they trust and respect another elected Board to do their job and ensure that we get the best school for our community and the best education for the children who make up a large portion of our community? For the Board of Selectmen, maybe you do need to hear whether the community supports the SOI to move the process forward and an easy way to accomplish that is to allow the community to speak at the next Selectmen’s meeting."--Name Withheld Upon Request

"In the memory of David Parsons, I wished that you had shown more reverence for David's condition while he was still alive. You wanted to use the disrepair of his building as a news story while he was courageously battling cancer that had spread through his system. His primary focus, and those of his family and friends, was to help him regain his health and comfort in his time of need. If you claim to be a "journalist of some sort" you could have spoken to people and found out that the insurance company handling the claim on his building severely delayed progress. You also should realize that buildings do not get rebuilt quickly and there are a lot of negotiations, planning, and engineering that has take place in advance. You should have shown more professional and moral decorum, especially when you claim to know what is going on in Stoughton, and treated David with more sensitivity. You obviously knew he was seriously ill and for that, you shown have left him and his matters alone. I am certain that you would not the same treatment if the roles were reversed. Disparaging him and the condition of his building is ethically reprehensible and you need to adjust your moral compass. I might suggest that you demonstrate more respect and responsibility to your craft than trying to be the "gossip monger" of the town. I was one of David' s closest friends and your actions were way out of bounds in my opinion. I personally think that you should issue an apology and it may do you some good in retrospect."-- Sincerely; Paul Oliveira


"To my friends in Stoughton, I ’m happy to let you know that the supplemental budget passed yesterday includes an additional $195,841 for Stoughton. As a result of increased tax collections as well as prudent budgeting, we ended FY11 with a surplus, and are able to return additional funds to the town. We also allocated an additional $350 million to the state’s stabilization fund, as part of our continued efforts to increase our fiscal stability. Recently, Standard & Poor’s recognized these efforts, which included our recently passed pension reform law, with an upgrade in the state’s bond rating from AA to AA+. This rating upgrade saves taxpayers on future state bond offerings. Thanks for the opportunity to work on your behalf."--State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton)

Mark:  I have received  permission to forward the following  e-mail sent last Friday (9-23-11) to Jeff Pickette at Patch.  My evaluation was posted on Patch however there are some folks who called me and cannot access Patch.  To that end will you please post this under your Letters segment on your site? Further, if you would , can you open the attachment so people can read it in printed form? Questions?  give me a call and thank you. < Jeff> I read your coverage on the Selectman's evaluation of Manager Crimmins in today's Patch.  Chairman Stagnone when providing us with the evaluation form requested narration by Members.  I believe that the  narration is paramount as it supports the scoring numbers.  Having said that I am pleased to submit my accompanying narration by category    This narrative was submitted along with my evaluation document to the Chairman."--John Anderson, Selectman  

"Mark, attached is my individual review of the Town Manager. With the release of two Board members evaluations I believe the public should have access to all the individual reviews, copies are available at the town hall for anyone interested. I can not speak for the rest of the Board but my review was based on my own observations as well as discussions with town employees. Make no mistake, as my review score indicates the Town Manager has done a COMMENDABLE job, but there is still a lot more work to be done and areas for improvement. I look forward to working with the Board and the Town Manager to outline next years goals at our October 11th meeting."--John J. Stagnone, Chairman, Board of Selectmen

"I read your column every week and I love seeing what is going on in town.  I was very happy to read about the evaluation of our Town Manager, Francis Crimmins.  I think that Mr. Crimmins is doing a great job and I agree with Mr. Anastos comments about each area of the Evaluation.  What is wrong with the rest of the board that they don't post theirs.  I thought this board was transparent.  ALSO, I think there needs to be an evaluation of the BOS each year.  I listen to every Selectrman's meeting, and there are sure some on that board that can blow smoke, and a lot of it.  BOS share your evaluation comments with the citizens.  It is an open book do it. I read Mr. Sousa's comments and I thing he has all the answers and should run for Selectman seeing he has got it down."-- Dave Milley

"Mark, My daughter Katie is a sophomore at Stoughton High School. Katie has autism and is in a special needs class with six other classmates. Today we went on a field trip to The Beantown Diner on Washington Street. The food was good, the portions were large and the price was reasonable (the total for 11 people eating full breakfasts was $75, an average of $6.80 per person). However, those are incidental in my story. The service, that is what I want your readers to know about. The young ladies who waited on us were simply amazing. The main waitress took the time to talk to each of the children and get their orders directly from them...she didn't just stare blankly at the "typical" adults and wait for us to translate for them. Then she learned each of their names and took a moment to talk to each one, making eye contact and making each child feel special. My daughter is non-verbal and talks with a device called an alt-chat. The waitress waited patiently for my daughter to type out her response to her question and was very kind. Then both waitress stopped to ask us questions about the kids and their program... On the way out, not only did our waitresses stop and say Goodbye to each child, the two men cooking behind the counter as well as at least one patron stopped what they were doing and made a big deal of saying goodbye to the children.
Today, the workers and patrons of The Beantown Diner showed real love of community and citizenship. They saw these kids, saw they were all "different" and instead of looking away or pretending everything was "normal" they stepped up and showed us all real love and affection. I love living in Stoughton. Today I was particularly proud of my town."--Cindy Albert

"Dear Mr. Snyder -  I was not surprised that Mr. Anastos gave Mr. Crimmins an outstanding rating in all categories - he brought him in as the highest paid town manager in the State at a time when the economy was poor and without even advertising the position - so of course he had no choice but to say he was outstanding.  I would have hoped that Mr. Anastos could see that there is room for improvement in the Town Manager's job performance but he was biased.  Maybe, you could go back to Mr. Anastos and ask him these questions? When Mr. Crimmins was brought in he was supposed to bring the town together and it appears after last December's issue with the school budget and then again the antics at town meeting with criticizing various people and town meeting members - that is not the case - so how do you justify your rating.  All of the town employee contracts expired last year and he has not settled any of them - why not - if he can bring people together - than these contracts should have been done months ago - so how do you justify your rating.  In terms of bringing in money, Mr. Crimmins sold 2 house lots in more than 15 months of office - one of them to his friend - a local developer at a reduced price than what the town was asking for - so how do you justify your rating.  The Town Manager's budget presented to the Selectman was balanced on the backs of the Schools and he did not even communicate this information to them in advance and then after Town Meeting - 4 months later - he has several new positions and has still not hired many people - so how do you justify your rating. Also, he was the only Department Head in the entire budget submitted that guaranteed himself a 5% raise in the following year. According to Department Heads that I have talked with, he has made the procurement process a nightmare - and documents stay on his desk costing Public Works, Fire and others time and money - so how do you justify your rating. Mr. Anastos - your review was biased, ask many employees and  we are not happy with his his management style and poor communication skills - he does not ask nor does he like being questioned.  In the end, your fabricated and biased evaluation will cost the townspeople money by not fairly or accurately judging the town manager. Sincerely."--Robert Sousa   

"Hi Mark: I have been receiving calls from residents asking for more information regarding the summary of the performance evaluation of Town Manager Crimmins posted on your website. The summary had ALL of the numerical scores (from ALL 5 Selectmen in ALL 5 categories) but NOT the corresponding comments/narrative that explain the scores. Instead, a compilation of comments was posted. I believe that a performance evaluation should include an explanation with each score that is given. I did that in my evaluation. These evaluations are public documents. I was the Chairman of the BOS during most of the evaluation period,  I feel I should make my complete evaluation available to anyone interested in reading it."--Thanks, Steve Anastos, Stoughton Selectman

"Mark, Great opinion piece in the last Stoughton Journal.  We are a public works contractor with our office and maintenance facility in Stoughton.  Our power went down during the storm and we didn’t get it back until last night (after much kicking and screaming).  Three times over the past week I had a different National Grid supervisor drive up to my place to access the situation and I was told by all three that a pole crew would be there momentarily.  Obviously they were doing nothing more than trying to give the “customers” lip service.  One of them even stated that he saw the lights on in my office building so he assumed the electricity had been restored – all this while he was standing right next to the 75 Kw generator we had hooked to our building for temporary power.  Absolutely crazy! Stoughton is a great place to do business but it would be a whole lot better if they could figure out a way to get rid of National Grid. Keep up the good work."--David Zoppo, President, R. Zoppo Corp.

"Mark: I have spent countless hours trying to find any type of recommendation from DOR on assessors, BoS and the like completing home reassessments for the purposes of data collection and tax revenue.  My findings so far,  and I am not an accountant type or attorney as you know has found NOTHING about 9 year cycles or any other type of cycle.  Moreover, the law is very silent about going into peoples homes. As important the DOR has just recently completed a study on in-house versus contracting out reassessing homes for communities.  The findings are on the DOR site. It is very interesting.  Why should the taxpayers be paying salaries, plus benefits, plus mileage, plus buy-backs etc. for all of these contracts when it coould do it with the private sector by contracting it out.  As a matter of fact it would be more efficient and potentially cost the town no retirement benefits for these types of employees. I think the Townis missing the boat."--Name Withheld Upon Request

"I love the Town Spa, but it’s not just about the pizza; it’s about memories and nostalgia.  Getting Spa pizzas was a treat event in my family when we were growing up and hanging out at the Spa was a rite of passage as a high schooler.  Many folks can and will argue that the pizza tastes different now in the “new” ovens because they haven’t been seasoned like the old ones or that it’s just not the same, but they are missing the point.  It’s not just about the pizza, it is about the experience.  What other location in the town of Stoughton evokes such strong and positive memories?  Why do so many folks insist on a visit to the Spa when they visit after moving away or are home from college?  Why do many SHS reunions – official and unofficial – happen there?  The Town Spa evokes memories of our childhoods, of old friends,  and of a simpler time.  Plus, their linguica and onion pizza is just the best!"--David J. Breen, Clinical Associate Professor, Boston University School of Law

"Hi Mark: I would appreciate my name not being used, something I would not typically request but feel as though the way this Town works that it could be used against me. The issue is the upcoming parcel and home visits from the Assessors Office that are part of the "cyclical approach required by the Dept. of Revenue".  First, the DOR does NOT have the legal authority to have an assessor come into your home.  I have no intentions of allowing for it AND recommend the same to my neighbors and friends.  Assessing your home from outside is more than enough and meets the guidelines. They can however utilize your most updated information that you as a homeowner have noted with your insurance company.  Its appauling to me that the Town of Stoughton would expect that I allow them into my house to make a check off of what they think about what the lay out of my home is and then make an economic decision on the price of my granite countertops, granite floors etc. (I really don't have either of them).  Its even more ridiculous to think that homeowners should allow for it.  The DOR's landscape on this is that the Town "must make a reasonable attempt."  I will not do it...ever. I hope most Stoughtonians do the same....take my advise. Last year two families on the Morton St. side of Town that I personall know let the Assessors in and saw increases of $600 plus while the rest of the neighbors saw increases of $75-125 each.  What was the difference- 2 families let the Assessors into their home.  I don't think the Assessors are bad people. No, I believe the system is broken.  Lastly, lets not have the Town Hall employees tell us about a 9 year cycle- NO SUCH THING.  Do some digging Mark...you will find some serious issues on this matter."--Name Withheld Upon Request

 

"Mr. Snyder, I am limited in what I can respond to without violating the confidentiality of a student with special needs.  I can comment on the fact that at no point in time have we lost a child.  The district has moved to a new transportation company.  The district and the company worked very closely together to set up the summer and next year's transportation as smoothly as possible.  Thank you for you concern. Best. "--Heather Tucker, Administrator of Special Education

"I would like to publicly commend Stoughton Animal Control Officer, Mike Gormaley. Late this spring, we realized an unwanted guest, in the form Rocky Raccoon, had decided that our attic would be a more comfortable home than the tree's outside. Not knowing where to turn, I reached out to Mike for assistance. I found Mike to be accessible, knowledgeable, understanding, compassionate and a overall a huge resource. He was reachable, both by e-mail and by telephone, conversing with me on more than one occasion during his off duty time. His advise was spot on, enabling me, not only to evict our guest without having to hire an expensive pest control contractor, but also to find the Raccoons front and back doors. Once his entrances were sealed up, Rocky found it impossible to return, and eventually moved out of the neighborhood entirely. Mike is a huge resource for the residents of Stoughton. I am glad he is here. Thanks Mike. "--Norm Wortzman

"Mark: I forgot to commend Mr. Yaitanes on his suggestion that the State might create other CPA like funds. He said: "The schools need money, do we start an EPA? Education Preservation ACT at $ 50 for average homeowners? Or a FPA Fire Preservation Act for a new Fire Station, Truck or Ambulance? Or a PPA to Preserve the Police Dept.  Or DPWPA to Preserve our DPW?"  We should all write to our legislators and urge them to do that.  The effect would be a 35% reduction in local taxes because each of these Acts would provide the Town with at least 35% matching fund for schools, Fire stations, Trucks, Ambulances, The Police Department, and the DPW.  What a deal that would be.  Our local taxes would be reduced by 35% and all of the non-deductible fees would disappear.  My congratulations to Mr. Yaitanes for his constructive suggestion.  Just like the CPA, these special taxes would really be tax savings disguised as a tax."--John Morton

"Dear Mark: I have read the two letters from Mr. Yaitanes regarding Stoughton's participation in the CPA that was approved by the Town Meeting and by vote of the Stoughton citizens about three years age. Mr. Yaitanes' argument against the CPA then and now boils down to "ITS A TAX." That is not news. Of course it's a tax. It is the only tax that provides a return to the homeowner of more than 100%. M r. Yaitanes compares the CPA surcharge to a "2 1/2 override. There is a huge difference. First, a 2 1/2 override provides no match from the State. Second, a 2 1/2 override provides no relief for the homeowner taxpayer. Under the CPA, a homeowner receives a reduction in the surcharge because the first $100,000 of the homeowner's assessment is exempt from the charge, while the first $100,000 of a commercial or industrial property is not. Under a 2 1/2 override, there is no relief for the homeowner taxpayer. Even with the reduced match ( which is now in the 25% to 35% range) the return to the homeowner for each dollar paid into the CPA fund is more than $2.00 in matching funds. The balance is made up from the CPA surcharges paid by commercial and industrial property owners. That is a huge return on investment. Mr. Yaitanes also asks "who pays for upkeep once Glen Echo Property is purchased and renovated." The answer is that CPA funds can be used to improve properties purchased with CPA funds. In addition, there is presently a bill before the state legislature that would increase the match to no less than 75% and would allow participating municipalities to use the funds in connection with pre-existing recreational land. The bill was reported favorably out of committee and moved to the legislature for a vote. The CPA is one of the best things that ever happened to this town. The voters know it and anyone who does the math knows it. While Mr. Yataines complains about the $76.75 that he claims to spend on the CPA each year, he does not mention the $170 + that he pays in a non-tax deductible fee for rubbish pickup and the non-deductible fees that he pays for certain programs within the school. The CPA surcharge is tax deductible and yields - to the homeowner - a 100% return in matching fees. A taxpayer in the 20% tax bracket has to earn more than $130 to have enough left over after federal payroll deductions to pay a $100 fee. That same taxpayer needs to earn less than $80 to cover a tax deductible $100 real estate tax. The CPA funds were used at this town meeting to pay for six projects that the Town would have wanted to approve even without the CPA funds. It is as if the Town received a state matching grant of 35% for each of those items - and the money committed to these items freed up other funds to be used for more routine budgetary items. This "shifting" of expenses to the CPA helps to avoid the more costly "shifting" of municipal services away from tax deductible real estate taxes and into non-tax deductible "fees" for essential services. All taxes are not evil. Taxes are the inevitable price we pay for living in an organized, peaceful and safe community. While we should strive endlessly to assure that our tax dollars are spent effectively and efficiently, we should also do all we can to get the maximum bang for every tax dollar paid. The CPA really gives bang for the buck."-- John Morton

 "Mark,  Did you know that the CPA funds cannot be used to maintain the recreational land purchased?  CPA funds won’t help us keep up our recreational facilities.  It just allows us to buy new recreation land – which will then need to be kept up. So who pays for upkeep once the Glen Echo Property is purchased and renovated?  Where will that money come from?  I have read that the average cost to a homeowner of the CPA is less than $50 per year but I am paying $76.75 per year.  How much do you pay?... Go look.  The CPA is a tax.  It is not an asset to the town.  It is just a way for someone to get what they want by calling a TAX another name.  Yes a TAX to the average homeowner with approx 35% funds being matched by the state which will be less and less every year.  The schools need money, do we start an EPA? Education Preservation ACT at $ 50 for average homeowners? Or a FPA Fire Preservation Act for a new Fire Station, Truck or Ambulance? Or a PPA to Preserve the Police Dept.  Or DPWPA to Preserve our DPW?   When the voters voted for this, I was surprised since Proposition 2 1/2 Over Rides have always been voted down.  The CPA is just another way of robbing the taxpayers.  Now we will be stuck with it forever since the funds will be used for Grants and Loans.  We already pay enough in town, we didn't need this tax and now we are stuck with it unless by some miracle this Glen Echo deal falls through.  Then, we can vote this added expense off of our tax bills and hope that the powers that be can manage and spend our tax money in a responsible way.   I am the sole supporter of a family of 6, I need that $77 here at home for the MFPA. My Families Preservation Act."--  Phil Yaitanes, concerned citizen

"Mark: Congratulations on surviving your first town meeting as chairman of Precinct 2.  You did a fine job even though you could not get 100% attendance from the precinct.   I guess we all can't be great and as the old Brooklyn Dodgers used to say 'wait till next year'. Anyway, the reason for this e-mail is to ask you to investigate the change of POND VIEW VILLAGE from an OVER 55 complex to an open NO AGE RESTRICTIONS complex as advertised on the front page of the Pennysaver. My quest for an answer to this change in status took me to the building department on the second floor of town hall where I was told that an agreement was reached between the Zoning Board and and HAC (Housing Appeals Committee).  It seems that the Zoning Board had rejected the builders request to have the complex changed from an over 55 situation to an open situation and that the builder won his appeal and now we are faced with the possibility of a multitude of people moving in that are under 55 with their pets and kids.  Where is the justice to those that bought thinking that they were moving to a nice quiet area and what about the neighbors and adjacent neighborhoods along with the potential traffic increase on Turnpike Street. Just thought you would want to look into this now that you have plenty of time since town meeting is over. Talk to you soon."--George Dolinsky

"Mark, Kudos to the town meeting representatives from precinct 4 regarding the purchase of the Glen Echo property.  Obviously much time and effort was involved in the preparation. I would like to correct one statement that was made by Mr. Morton.  He stated that the potential purchase of the Glen Echo property was "exactly the same process that was used for the Libby and the McNamara properties".  While the Trust for Public Land was indeed involved in the negotiations for the Libby property, it was not  for the McNamara property.  That project was discussed in the office of a local attorney who was representing the developer seeking to purchase the land.  The chairman of the Board of Selectmen, at that time was me, along with Mr. Morton, finalized the agreement that evening.  The Board had given me certain parameters to abide by and after lengthily maneuvering on the part of both sides, the deal was consummated.  That Board of Selectmen was highly involved throughout the entire process.The vote to purchase that land was then passed UNANIMOUSLY by town meeting. I am happy the article for the purchase of the Glen Echo property passed at town meeting.  I simply wanted to clarify the actual events that occurred during the purchase of the McNamara property."--Dick Levine

Hi Mark: The CPA was one of the best things that ever happened to this town and the voters were smart enough to know it. This year at town meeting the CPA funds were used to support six different initiatives that the Town would likely have approved anyway.  Even with the declining match from the State, the effect of the CPA was as if the town received a matching grant for more than 35% for every one of those items. The average cost to a homeowner of the CPA is less than $50 per year but the return to each homeowner is more than $75 in matching grants due to the fact that homeowners enjoy a $100,000 deduction on their assessed value before the CPA surcharge is applied and a large portion of the CPA base (on which the match is computed) is paid by commercial and industrial real estate in town. Without the CPA, the Town's budget will continue to be balanced by paying for services with non-deductible "fees" such as those we now pay for trash pickup, and a multitude of school programs and services, previously covered by the tax-deductible Real Estate Tax. The town should keep in mind that the average wage-earning homeowner has to earn more than $130 to pay a non-deductible fee - while that same homeowner needs to earn only $75 (after taxes) to pay a $100 real estate tax.  That is a savings of $55 for each $100 paid in fees. After five years following the initial adoption of the CPA by a city or town, the town can - upon proper petition by citizens - place on the ballot the question as to whether the town should continue to participate in the CPA. Glen Echo would have to be paid off, but if our town votes to opt out, the surcharge diminishes each year, disappearing when the bond is paid off.  It will be a much smaller charge than the modest charge currently in place. The state match began to drop when the economy went south and real estate activity slowed in late 2008.
There are changes in the Community Preservation Act law currently moving with approvals through the legislature that would broaden the funding and uses for CPA funds: The changes would mandate the state to a minimum 75% match; Permit communities to rehabilitate existing parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and other active recreational assets with CPA funds; and add a new optional exemption for the first $100,000 of property value for commercial and industrial properties, mirroring the current optional $100,000 residential exemption. I have had the privilege to walk Glen Echo and it is not "mostly wetlands." It is a stunningly beautiful place with existing trails, flat clear, dry land to re-build on, and a swimmable lake. We are lucky to have this resource for the entire town and not only for a privileged few, for instance, if a housing tract were built on it or a 40B. It will save the town money in the long run. I am attaching a short presentation on Glen Echo used at town meeting."-- Deborah Sovinee, Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 4

"Mark, I haven't written in a while but I feel I must.  A few years ago, I was on your show (I miss your show) as an opponent to the CPA Community Preservation Act TAX.  John Morton and company were using their skills telling how wonderful the CPA was to the town and that if we put in a dollar the State would match the funds by a dollar etc etc.  I said then that they wouldn’t and every year the state would match less and less. Nobody listened.  This week I watched Town Meeting and there he was... Mr. John Morton, Talking about using the CPA to buy The Glen Echo Property.  I must add that the 100 % matched funds that he bragged about are around (if not less) than 35% now and will be less next year! I read that the  majority of our town meeting reps voted to get a loan using the CPA funds to buy Glen Echo. The good fact about the CPA is that if the funds aren't being matched, we can vote it out after a few years.  I think Mr. Morton left out something as he did when he sold the townspeople last time.  Once we use the funds to secure a loan, the CPA can't be voted out.  The voters were fooled last time,  this time it was town meeting.  When the fund matching comes to a halt, it becomes a 100% TAX.   If Glen Echo can be purchased without loans...GREAT!  The Town of Stoughton should NOT be buying what we can't afford anymore.  The fact that most of Glen Echo is wetlands is hysterical, who cares who owns it, it can never be built on and remains open space forever for free!"-- Phil Yaitanes


"Mark,
Frank Crimmins has again shown his nasty side to Town Meeting. And the Selectmen have acted like little children. "no one talk to us", I saw several meetings where John Morton was explaining what was going on with Glen Echo. I think Crimmins is pushing the Selectmen to take over everything including the School Commitee. I do not think the purchase of Glen Echo was was a good idea, we have more pressing items that need to be addressed but it is done, so lets live with it. I hope in the future we get some on  up there to rent boats so we can go fishing on the pond, I rember going there for dances at the hotel. It might be my memory playing tricks, but I think we used to come from Boston by streetcar to Glen Echo. Lets all enjoy Glen Echo and make it an asset to the town.  I hope that the TM and TBOS realize that they work for the town, and if their feelings get hurt, to bad. Mark, I think you know the Email address, so don't put my name on this, I fear retribution. Thank you, you are the only voice of truth in the town."--Name Withheld Upon Request

"Dear Mr. Snyder: A very bad pattern is starting to emerge and it is the Town Manager's and Board of Selectmen's lack of proactive, positive communication and respect for the other VOLUNTEER committees in town. Let me cite just 3 specific examples to highlight my point: First, was their cutting of the School budget without any communication with the School Committee and then they continued by having meetings to cut the School budget just before Town Meeting and to this day no one has explained why. Second, is their ongoing disparaging comments about the Finance Committee and the Chair of the Committee.  Third, last night they tried to insinuate that the Mr. Morton and the entire CPC Committee had acted without any authority and behind close doors to cut a deal that no one reviewed or had any authority to act on and then tried to convince us that they were left out of the loop. Glen Echo has been discussed for many years and for the Town Manager and Chair of the Board of Selectmen to say they know nothing about the deal is concerning because what else do they know nothing about.  Did it ever occur to the Town Manager to pick up the phone and call Mr. Morton to ask what was going on? Did it ever dawn on the Board of Selectmen that all they had to do was put Glen Echo as a scheduled agenda item every 2 weeks so the Town Manager could give an update? Did it ever occur to Mr. Stagnone to call Mr. Morton and check in about Glen Echo? Wake-up gentlemen,, Town Manager Crimmins you are PAID professional and it is your RESPONSIBILITY to reach out to various VOLUNTEER committees and ensure that there is open communication on behalf of the Board of Selectmen. Mr. Stagnone, I will cut you some slack because you are brand new in your 'Chair' postion but learn from your mistakes and STOP trying to publicly humiliate the Chairs of other Committees - it makes you look petty and has no redeeming value."--Sincerely, John Carlson

"Mark, I am amazed at the amount of  borrowing that was approved by Town Meeting, that they felt was more important than the town having an ambulance in operating condition. I hope that some time in the future they don't have to wait while an ambulance comes from Easton or Canton or Avon, five minutes can be the difference in living or dieing. We all have different priorities."--Leo E. Mellyn

"Mark, The Llaso X found on 4/22 has been transferred to MSPCA 350 South Huntington Ave. Boston (617)522-5055 for behavioral evaluation and subsequent adoption. The animals ID intake # is A247432 under the name "Monkey" which should be mentioned when an individual animal is desired for adoption.  I made every possible effort in trying to find this animals original owner unfortunately they never came forward. I hope that he finds a good, caring home with people that understand that there is a moral responsibility that goes with owning a pet.Respectfully."--Michael Gormaley, Animal Control Officer

"Dear Mr. Snyder: I read with great interest your opinion column this week entitled "A Compelling Argument for TASERS." I was particularly dismayed and disappointed by the comments of Scott Greenwood, a civil rights attorney in Ohio, who proports to be a "civil libertarian." I am a civil rights lawyer in California and was co-counsel in Heston v. City of Salinas case (USDC for the Norther District of California - San Jose) - the first ever (and still the only) plaintiff's products liability/wrongful death verdict against TASER, Intl. I am currently litigating numerous other wrongful death cases against TASER, Intl., across the country including Piskura v. City of Oxford, Ohio (USDC for the Southern District of Ohio) which involved the tragic death of a 26-year old graduate of Miami of Ohio who was tased in the chest and died a short time later. What is particularly disturbing about Mr. Greenwood's ill-informed comments is that he fails to address the known riisks associated with use of TASER electronic control devices including shots to the chest in the area of the heart and repeated and prolonged discharges. He seems to imply that the devices are safe because he suffered no ill effects when he recieved a 5-second discharge (probably to the back and harldly replicating real world conditions that police encounter in the field). While my colleagues and I are not anti-TASER per se, we, nonetheless, strongly believe that TASER, Intl, has not been forthcoming regarding the potential risks associated with its devices. In fact, the contrary is true. The training materials produced by TASER, INtl., have for years indicated that its devices pose no cardiac risks. I personally have taken the depositions of countless police officers and in every single case, they have testified that they were completely unaware of any serious health risks associated with use of the device. Indeed, during a recent deposition for a death case in Las Vegas, an officer testified that as a result of being involved in an incident where he deployed his TASER and the subject (a medical doctor) went into cardiac arrest and died, he would never use his TASER again except "if I was getting my ass kicked." TASERs can be useful devices in very llimited circumstances. However, until TASER, Inc. produces legitimate training materials which farily and adequately disclose known risks, they will continue to be placed in the hands of ill-trained and ill-informed police officers. In my view, this is a receipe for disaster and a wrongful death lawsuit waiting to happen. Finally, Mr. Greenwood evidences his ignorance by suggesting that TASERs can reduce injuries to both officers and suspects. Statisitics supporting this argument have long been touted by TASER, Intl. But, consider the source and who funded the research. Mr. Greenwood has obviously been drinking TASER's cool-aid. An independent study by Drs. Lee and Tseng at UCSF showed a marked increase in in-custody deaths after the introduction of a TASER program at various police departments in California. You may have also heard about a study that was announced about a week ago from the same researchers indicating that studies regarding TASER safety are significantly influenced by the research autjhors and their connection to TASER, Intl. I would be happy to e-mail information about this research if you are interested. Ultimately, we believe that police departments and the public-at-large should be fully informed about TASERS and their potential risks before any decision is made to impliment a TASER program. TASER, Intl., does a disservice to both by hiding the truth about its devices and risks associated with their use. Best regards."--Peter M. Williamson, Esq.

Dear Editor:  As an animal trainer, naturalist and animal rescue team leader, I believe in a balance of population control through hunting and trapping and the preservation of the natural beauty that surrounds us.  One of the balances I believe that has worked so well is the split of hunting days versus non hunting days during hunting season.  This split has long allowed hunters to enjoy their activity 6 days a week and the population to enjoy nature without fear of potential conflicts with hunters one day a week, specifically Sundays..  This split has been the law in Massachusetts for 100 years.  Senator Timilty is chair of the Committee that will determine the fate of bill to allow hunting on Sunday.  I hope this bill, H. 2399, does not advance. A survey found that 86% of Massachusetts residents agree with the restriction on hunting on Sundays.  According to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1.7 million Massachusetts residents aged 16 and older took part in bird watching, photography, hiking, and other wildlife activities unrelated to hunting. The same data shows only 1% of Massachusetts residents hunt. A bill to allow hunting on Sundays would cater to a minority of Massachusetts residents, not the majority of the public who highly value the one day of the week that they can enjoy the outdoors during hunting seasons.  In Massachusetts, landowners must post his or her private land if they do not want people to hunt or trap on their land, rather than hunters or trapper being required to receive permission.  If anything, the need for the prohibition on Sunday hunting is as important as it has ever been. With the prevalence of Massachusetts' citizens interested in wildlife-watching, and the number of hunters decreasing so dramatically, it is patently unfair to deny Massachusetts citizens access to areas where they may enjoy wildlife-watching activities one day a week.  It's clear then that only a tiny fraction of our residents want this law to change.   Some argue that the blue law ban on Sunday Hunting should be repealed, just like the bans on shopping and buying alcohol on Sunday have been. However, unlike these two repealed bans, repealing the ban on Sunday hunting will jeopardize the safety of and will take away a highly valued opportunity from a huge number of our residents - specifically, 1.7
million residents that currently enjoy our woods for non-consumptive purposes.  Many of these residents have valid safety concerns, as injuries to non-hunters have happened recently in our neighboring States. Many others just want to enjoy nature without hearing gunshots or worrying about coming upon a wounded animal.  As surveys show Just 1% of our Massachusetts residents hunt, and already this small number of our population have the opportunity to hunt six days a week. Non-hunters, though clearly representing the majority of Massachusetts
residents, are already at a disadvantage with the way the law is now. I would never support a bill on banning hunting or restricting hunting activities as Massachusetts has done a terrific job of balancing the need for population control, the activity of hunting, and the ability for the population at large to enjoy our natural resources.  I urge each of you to please call Senator Timility’s office and ask for him to not support H.B. 2399.  The senators office number is 617 722-1222 or e-mail at James.Timilty@masenate.gov. Respectfully submitted."-- Christopher D’Arpino,
South Shore Disaster Animal Rescue Team



"I would like to say let's support the police with everything necessary to include providing them with a less than lethal option. We asked these brave men and women to go out into the streets and protect us. We call upon them when we are in need and they happily respond to address whatever life crisis may be present. They perform their duties proudly, with extreme professionalism and always place the safety and well beings of others first. Does it not make sense that we should offer them the essential equipment and proper training to ensure they remain unharmed and so they too can return home safely to their families. I commend the SPD for your dedicated service and unwavering commitment and want you to know that my family and I are very grateful. We recognize the difficult job that you all do and we thank you for it. In closing, I encourage my fellow citizens to also stand behind the men and women that we rely upon and support the purchase of this equipment. It's a small investment monetarily with a large return if an officer finds themselves in a situation that can be resolved without the use of deadly force."-- Peter Brown

"Hi Mr. Snyder: Long time reader - first time writer:   I think Mr. Anastos may have missed the mark about public education and why it is important for the entire community.  I respect and fully agree with Mr. Anastos's decision on pulling his child out of Stoughton schools and sending him to private school which better fits his specific needs. However, most of us in Stoughton do not have the income level that Mr. Anastos has, and therefore, our child must stay within the Stoughton school system. Does that mean that for us less fortunate, we should tell our child that he does not deserve a quality education, small classrooms and individual attention?  If Mr. Anastos truly was interested in supporting the schools - maybe he should think about what he pays for his child and then multiply that for all the children in the Stoughton school system who may have similar needs or even more physical and educational challenges that require specialized teaching or smaller classrooms and we have no other place to go. I respect Mr. Anastos for his decision but I think he forgot his role as Selectman which is to think about every individual within the community and to do right by all of us and some of us have no other alternatives and we also want what is best for our children. On another note, this is exactly the reason I respect the Finance Committee, that committee seems to be able to take into account everyone's needs and try to find solutions to serve the entire community rather than one particular group - I may not always agree with their decisions - but at least I can say that they care about the Town, Schools and putting money away."-- Peter Farrell

"Dear Mark, I could not agree with Ms. Boykin more.  Last night's meeting was confusing, distracting, and it seemed most members of Town Meeting did not fully understand that by defeating both motions we did not fund the stabilization account.I am prepared to do exactly what Ms. Boykin suggests, because I think this needs to be done before we continue on.  That is the reason I had motioned to table so that proper explanation of the actions and consequences could be shown to the meeting body.  Perhaps the motion will pass with a lesser amount from PH retained earnings."--Dori Frankel, Precinct  5

"Dear Mark – I am writing in because there seems to be quite of bit of confusion regarding what will happen with the stabilization account now that both motions were defeated last night and its impact on the bond rating. What I learned from last night is that everyone agreed that money needed to be moved to the stabilization account. And we now have to move forward on that premise. Also, that the primary reasons for not moving the public health funds to the stabilization account was because people were afraid that either those funds would be re-directed away from the stabilization account to other programs or that the public health department would be at a loss of available funding to meet the needs of their constituents. The only 2 reasons why the Finance Committee recommended the transfer of the Public Health retained earning funds are the following: 1). Last year’s Town Meeting voted to pursue this special legislation and 2). the suggestion of the Town’s auditor, Moody’s and independent bond counsel who suggested to the Town that this would be a good thing for the town as a whole and not hurt the VNA . That issue is no longer on the table. So how do we move forward now and accomplish what many people agreed to and that was to transfer the free cash and tax levy funds which is $924,593 to the stabilization account. Otherwise, the fears of many Town members may be realized and those funds will be gone and no funds will be transferred to the stabilization account by the end of Town meeting. As Mr. Rorrie mentioned last night, the only way we received such a great interest rate was the fact that we could piggy-back on the State’s process. Otherwise, our rates would be higher and our debt service payments will increase. Given the number of capital items on the horizon, whether it is a Library, a School, repairing Town and School buildings, and that those costs cannot be solely paid by free cash or tax levy. We need to think about further burdening seniors, families and our children. I am hoping that at tomorrow night’s meeting, a motion to suspend the rules and to reconsider Article 16 and that 7 people will stand-up to ask that we –reconsider the vote so that we can move forward. Sincerely,"--Holly Boykin, Chair, Finance Committee

"Mark, as a Fin Com member I am disturbed by what has transpired since our last public hearing on this year's budget.  I will try to list them but I know I will leave some out as I don't always remember everything: 1.  After our public hearings new money was "found".  I wish I could find money. 2.  The Fin Com leadership restored most budgets to requested levels using the new found money. 3.  The selectman again tried to move some money from the school dept to pay for new needs, some long overdue needs, in some of the other municipal depts. 4.  Some well meaning adults have accused some selectman of trying to sabotage the school dept.  I find this hard to believe as everyone is aware that schools have the most direct impact to property values.
5.  Some of the accused have felt the need to defend themselves.  Sometimes tempers have gotten the better of both sides and things have disintegrated. What I would like to see is both ends of Pearl Street stop this self destructive action and look for ways to work together.  It is possible for our elected and appointed officials to all play nice with the limited set of resources that we have.  It's time to put this to an end.  In the August/September timeframe our elected officials should start planning not only for the 2013 budget but actually try to plan beyond that. Maybe in my next letter I will rant on the perception of union negotiation by our elected officials, sometimes you say no and sometimes you say yes. Thanks."-- Bruce Dolinsky

At the Town Meeting of May 9th,  an observation and statement delivered to Town Meeting Representatives was made by Mr. Mark Snyder inferring that there was potentially  some bias wherein all members of the Board of Selectman and the Town Manager do not have children in the Stoughton Public Schools thus not having an  vested interest in the School Department. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will remind all that Member Walsh is a is a thirty year plus retired  teacher in the Stoughton Schools.  Selectman Anastos, prior to moving to Stoughton 24 years ago, was an elected member of the Avon School Committee. The Town Manager, Mr. Crimmins also served as a Selectman and was and is a supporter of the Schools by virtue of his office. Their commitment to education is well substantiated. With reference as to how  it relates to me I humbly submit the following.  I am a product of the Stoughton Schools.  While a student here, my father was a member of the Stoughton School Committee serving for twelve years. School issues were topics around the table at our house at that time.  I grew to appreciate the Schools through the eyes of a School Committee Member,  the issues of the times that Committee faced, along with being a student. My career took me to  Hanover New Hampshire. While there I had three children who attended the Hanover Public Schools.   I was active in many school related activities as most parents do. Upon my return to Stoughton due to employment opportunities, I ran for and was elected to the Stoughton School committee to fill an unexpired term and re-elected upon completion of that term. The suggestion that I have no interest or support of the School Department is unfounded and incorrect.  It is my belief that not having children in the schools is not an impediment to the qualifications of being a Selectman or a Town Manager whose interest must be for the Town as a whole which includes the Stoughton Public Schools. I recognize and appreciate  Supt. Rizzi's statement and focus where by she believes that the Stoughton Schools should be a 'World Class Department'. The Schools are the crowning jewels of our Town and are part of the driving force that makes Stoughton the community we can all be proud of.   I believed it when on the School Committee and I hold the same belief today."--John D. Anderson, Vice Chairman  Stoughton Board of Selectman

 (Editor's Note: My statement at town meeting was "I'd like to see a motion to cut the schools made by someone who has children in the schools." In that way, they're children would pay the consequences of their reckless cuts. Ms. Walsh voted against their motion, as did John Anzivino. Both have got applause from this writer for their actions. I never said that people without children in our system don't support the schools. Most people are intelligent enough to know that a failing school causes property values to drop like rocks. I don't call into question anyone's credentials, and all this is just another smokescreen. Anderson's last letter (on Patch) complained that they couldn't meet about increased revenue because they got the information so late. Then, we find out they got a memo on February 9 from the town accountant, two months before they claim to have heard about it. FACT: Anderson, Anastos and Stagnone voted to cut the school budget by $923,000. FACT: The Town Manager cut TWO MILLION dollars from the school committee's proposed budget. End of story. It's not personal for me. I just support this town, in all it's glory. It IS personal to THEM, as anyone might have heard last night on the town meeting floor.I'm just talking facts--Mark)

 

 

"I would like to invite all students, faculty, administration and parents for a presentation about our recent DECA field trip.  I have requested use of the media center Wednesday May 11th at 6:30 pm to share our experiences with everyone who was so helpful during our International Career Development Conference in Orlando.  I know it may seem that the students are out of school lots of days during the year but, I would like to showcase what the trip was like and what is gained by this wonderful program known as DECA.  Each student will present what they did and what they learned during this conference.  There will also be a slide show of pictures from the trip.  I hope to get a large crowd for this meeting to showcase this program and what it can do for the students of Stoughton High School.  Thanks and I hope to see you there."--Mr. Eddie Rodrigues, Business/Information Technology Department, Stoughton High School

"Hi Mark: As you know I brought this issue to your attention quite awhile ago.  With the town abuzz with more cuts to the school budget, can someone please get the answer to the question, Why didn't the school department get price quotes for special education transportation?  The school department signed a contract with one vendor for a savings of $100,000.  I know for a fact, at least one other vendor would have saved the town a minimum of $50k more.  If a price quote had gone to other vendors, perhaps Stoughton could have saved even more.  When we are looking at cutting a million dollars from the budget 50 to 100 thousand cut from transportation is a significant amount. Many people in town know about this issue.  Why can't we get an answer?"--Leslie Cain Tamarkin, parent of four children in the Stoughton schools

"Hi Mr. Snyder: My wife came home furious tonight after hearing from friends that the Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager have scheduled a 'non-televised' meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday night at the the High School to discuss next year's budget and to vote more changes that they will present to Town Meeting Members an hour later. As an aside,  I can understand why the Selectman do not want to have that meeting televised - after how Selectman Anastos berated the Chair of the Finance Committee - my wife leaned over to me and said it is quite clear that he has an issue with woman and that it shows his inability to work with women. We both agreed that he was lucky that my wife Diane was not the one being yelled at because she would have laid into him more than the Chair did and I would have stepped in and told him to be more respectful and show some class.  I volunteer for many groups and this is a slap in the face to the volunteers who put hours into the budget and review of articles to make changes like this - once again this has the taste of a back room deal to be done without any public comment and only an hour before the meeting. Mr. Snyder - can you tell me what didn't the Selectmen get from their original budget request that would warrant all of this now - at least this way I can tell my wife to calm down and that they have a legitimate reason.  Otherwise, I will have to agree with her that the Selectmen's meeting the other night was a staged TV show and the vote to go with the Finance Committee budget was a hoax.  If the Selectmen are so devious to continue down this path, I am sure that other people at Town Meeting will put them in their place that this is not appropriate nor what the Town needs to move us forward.  I also would have hoped that Mr. Crimmins who we were all told would bring us together would have informed the Selectmen that this was not in their best interest to do this way or at this time. I guess Mr. Crimmins really is not interested in bridging the gap between the various factions in Town."-- Sincerely, Don Sager

"Dear Mark: On behalf of the Stoughton Historical Commission, I would like to ask for your help in clarifying a point/quote made in your article 'Glen Echo Deal Falls Through', dated April 25th on Snyder's Stoughton, Stoughton Patch, and Wicked Local. Your last paragraph in the article quotes Selectman Steve Anastos, who said, 'I'm not surprised. We expected the appraisal to be lower than two million dollars. We'll have to wait to see what the next step will be. But, I hope town meeting will look favorably to use CPA money for necessary repairs to important municipal buildings that the historical commission feels deserving of CPA money, like Town Hall.'   The Stoughton Historical Commission would like to let your readers, and the Town of Stoughton, know that the Commission did deem the Stoughton Town Hall to be an historic building, it did not discuss, nor does it endorse, diverting CPC funds from the Glen Echo purchase to fix Town Hall. As well, the classification of Town Hall as an historic building took place AFTER the CPC spending determinations were completed. T he Commission would also like it known that in a letter to the Community Preservation Committee, dated December 10, 2010, we identified Glen Echo as our #1 priority. Thank you so much for allowing us to clarify Selectman Anastos' comments in your article."--- 

Sandy Spector, Chair; James Barron, David Lambert, Heather McGinley, Dwight MacKerron

"Dear Mark: I have attached a copy of what appears to be the capital improvement plan contained in the Town Manager’s Budget Message posted January 3, 2011.   This does not appear to be the document required to be produced under the Town Charter.  The  Town Charter requires (a minimum) 3-year plan, so a capital plan for the town should include projected needs for all departments for 2012 through 2015, at least.  Only the Recreation Department entries meet this requirement.  Notably, the capital plan for the Council on Aging ends in 2011, the Library’s capital plan is dated November 20, 2006, and there is no capital plan included for large departments such as the Police, Public Works, and School Departments.  Foreseeable capital items on this year’s Town Meeting warrant do not appear anywhere in this budget report, which they clearly should if those pages are supposed to be the capital plan.  At a minimum, we should be able to look ahead at by at least one year for the capital items that are needed or desired for the next. Developing and updating a comprehensive capital plan is not easy.  The sooner capital planning becomes part of a transparent budget process, and part of an overall master plan for the Town, the better off we will be.  Thank you."--Bob O’Regan, To wn Meeting Representative, Precinct 1

  "Hi Mark, Please let Mr. O'Regan know that Town Manager Crimmins produced a capital plan in his comprehensive budget report that  the BOS adopted and was posted on the Town of Stoughton website on January 3, 2011 under the Town Manager reports category. This plan is neither perfect nor complete but it is the first Capital Plan produced by the Office of Town Manager and submitted by the BOS in many years. Please feel free to use it as a starting point as we collectively move the Town of Stoughton forward.
Also, I would like to commend TJ Recupero for his thoughtful presentation of ideas. Hopefully, his dissertation can become part of an expansive and productive discussion regarding the future of Stoughton."-- Respectfully, Stephen G. Anastos Sr., Stoughton Board of Selectmen

"Dear Mark: This year’s Town Meeting warrant includes 95 articles, some proposing millions of dollars for capital expenditures in very tight fiscal times.  For years. Town Meeting has requested that the Annual Report include the capital plan that is required by the Town Charter, even to the point of unanimously passing a resolution a few years ago.  Without the benefit of a capital plan, which should include prioritization of capital projects as part of an overall plan for the future of the Town, capital expenditures seem to be made in an unfocused, haphazard way.  A legislative body like Town Meeting is ill-equipped to fish through warrant articles to set priorities, or to made decisions on capital items this year when Town Meeting is left in the dark about upcoming capital needs and their priority.  Many capital items in this year’s warrant are worthwhile projects, but we do not have the money to pay for them all.  The Town residents and Town Meeting do not have guidance in the Annual Report on how any of them fit into any sort of plan.   There is a capital planning committee that has been at work for two years, which is needed and my comments are not addressed toward their work.  In truth, the capital plan should already exist, so the capital planning committee’s current work could result in revisions to make a better plan. My point is that we should not lurch from year to year ignoring the capital plan requirements of the Town Charter.   There may be no other choice but for Town Meeting to insist that the other branches of town government comply with the Charter in the only way Town Meeting can act – decline to consider a capital expense request that is not set out in the capital plan.  There should be room to consider emergencies and even for Town Meeting to be able to consider worthwhile requests that come up outside the capital plan – but as the exceptions, not the rule.  Petitioned warrant articles should not be affected by any rule Town Meeting adopts in this regard. I have attached a proposed rule that will be offered at tonight’s organizational Town Meeting.  If any Town Meeting representatives have ideas on how to improve on it, I would  welcome the comments."--Bob O’Regan, Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 1 

"Hi Mark. Hope everything is well.    Just a personal note about something I read in one of your blog items that caught my eye.   It's something I've heard repeated many times, and each time I read or hear it, I react like that Abbot & Costello's "Niagara Falls" skit.  Slowly I turned... and so forth.  You wrote: 'Getting vacant land back on the tax rolls at first seemed like a good idea to this writer. But--and it's a big but--it also depends on what is built on these parcels. Housing is usually a losing proposition for the town. The cost for municipal and school services normally outweighs the income from real estate taxes.'  I would challenge anyone to a friendly debate on that issue.   In truth, take all your municipal services (water, sewer, trash, plowing, etc.) and new homes provide a net gain to the Town budget.   Real estate taxes are not the only financial benefit from new development.   Chapter 90 funds, for example, are distributed on a per mile basis, and they increase with the construction of new town roads.   Water and sewer costs system-wide decrease, because of how the fee is calculated.  When more users are added, the price is spread over a larger group.  Also, billed under an enterprise fund mechanisms, they could be, at worst, break-even accounts.  Even where they run deficits, that cost is, I believe, excluded from our Proposition 2 levy limit.  Although it isn't operated as an enterprise account, last time I looked, trash collection was a net income generator.  It brings revenue into the budgeting equation.  We also don't consider that new developments pay inflow/infiltration fees that allow the Town to inspect its sewer lines for leakage and keep the Town's bill from MWRA in check.  New homes mean all sorts of cool fees.  Sewer development fees; engineering fees; Inflow & Infiltration fees; inspection fees; building permit fees, all of which, combined for a modest sized subdivision, could easily exceed $100,000.  And, all of which provide a direct off-set for budgeted amounts for municipal employees.   Beyond which, in many towns (and sometimes in Stoughton) developers pay a private engineer to review or inspect a project, and that's all off-budget. Then, of course, there are tax revenues.  Proposition 2 1/2  (and I can't believe we STILL call it Prop 2 1/2) has two components -  a levy ceiling and a levy cap.   The levy ceiling is based on the value of all taxable property in Stoughton.  So, if, in theory, no new taxable property is added and if property values didn't increase;  OR, worse still, if no new taxable property enters the system and deflation occurs, the levy ceiling either remains the same or declines.  Good for the tax payer; bad for the budget.    Adding new taxable property into the system always expands the levy ceiling.   On the other side of Proposition 2 1/2, the levy cap only allows us to increase property taxes 2.5 percent each year.  However, excluded from this calculation is 'new growth', which gets added into the system for purposes of the levy ceiling, but is excluded from the calculation for purposes of the levy cap.   It's a one-time double-hit on the plus-side of the Town's tax revenue balance sheet. I'm talking exclusively about residential development, but the caveat in this whole discussion is that you can't rely solely on residential development to satisfy your budget.  Not with the limits of Proposition 2 1/2.  Commercial development gets all of the wonderful benefits that residential development gets, but with the added benefit of generally not adding much to the expense side of the ledger.   Which is why towns need a proper mix of residential and commercial real estate.  By way of example, one of Stoughton's abutting towns has a fairly small commercial real estate inventory.  Not surprisingly, you see several Prop 2 1/2 over-ride questions on the ballot every year.   Conversely, another abbutter to Stoughton has a larger commercial real estate inventory, as well as a healthy amount of residential development, and that town's budget remains fairly well balanced.   Stoughon, by the way, has done pretty well.  Although, it's a continuing battle.   I saved the best for last, of course.  This is the one that people always hang their argument on:  schools.   As the argument goes. and I've heard this many times in towns not named Stoughton:  for every new house we build, we lose money because the cost of educating each child in the Stoughton school system is $11,000, and we only collect $5,000 in taxes per home.   I heard this very statement on the floor of Town meeting many years back, when it was argued that it would be cheaper for the Town to buy a large parcel of land rather than allow 20 homes to be built.   But this is wrong.  And here's the reason why: The central issue isn't cost-per-pupil, because that's a back-end calculation. We reach that number by dividing the total school budget by the total school enrollment and I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.  But the true issue is: what does each new student add in new expenses into the system. Stoughton has eight schools, K-12.  The student population doesn't remain constant; it fluctuates.  We don't add $11,000 when it fluctuates up, and we don't subtract $11,000 when it fluctuates down.    That $11,000 has many components, some are fixed costs and others are relatively fixed. The cost of opening those schools each morning for an entire school year is a fixed cost.  Which is to say, it costs us the same regardless of the number of students added into, or subtracted out of, the school system.    Capital improvements and maintenance, likewise, bare little relationship to the  student population.  Barring any sizable changes, of course.   Administration, much the same.   I am sure that there is some number of new students added into the system that would prompt a need for more administrative support, but it's such a small portion of the total budget, I would suggest that it's negligible. The real issue is teacher salaries.   And, I want to make clear that this isn't about school budgeting or teachers; it's about residential development.   Teacher salaries are what they are, and near as I can tell from all that I've read, they're perfectly in line with standard municipal budgeting.  But teacher salaries and benefits do represent the lion's share of the school budget.   So, if there's an increase in education costs related to residential development, it would necessarily be tied to the cost of teachers.   Stoughton's student/teacher ratio is somewhere around 14/1, just about dead-on to the state average.    There is some point where we would add so many new students into the system that we need new teachers just to maintain our ratio.   It would impact K-6 first.   If we add 20 new houses into a neighborhood, we could conceivably flood enough elementary students into one of the six elementary schools where we would need another class and another teacher.     Not likely, but conceivable.   And that's the bulk of the cost of a new residential development.  If we need one new teacher, and if the added cost to the school budget is around $60,000 (for example) do the real estate taxes for 25 new homes cover the added cost?    They certainly do.  And then some.   Assume $5,000 per home in taxes for 25 new homes yields $75,000 in taxes  [tax rate ($13.57) x home value ($400,000) = tax yield ($5,428)].  PLUS, the levy ceiling expands, increasing the total tax base.  PLUS, the one-time 'new growth' exemption allows us to tax beyond the levy cap.  PLUS, in theory, in a vibrant and well populated community, business services are added to meet the needs of the population.    Here's the other important point for 2011, and then I promise I'll wrap this up:  I haven't checked on Stoughton's enrollment trends, but I know that state-wide, now that the echo-boomers are out of the school system, enrollment statewide is on the decline.   The recent census told us that Stoughton's population is also on the decline.   If Stoughton High had 500 students in 2010 and 25 new houses are built in 2011, adding 22 new students into the K-12 system (the 2000 census told us that we average .88 school-age kids per home), demographic trends suggest that there shouldn't be any appreciable increase in student enrollment.  If any at all.   The total population is going down.  Corresponding to that, the student/teacher ratio is, at worst, holding steady.   So, barring any  large new influx of  students, the point that new residential development is a net loss for the town is largely unsupportable. More than 60% of the Town's housing stock was built prior to 1970.   Because our local economy is so indelibly linked to real estate values (as opposed to, say, sales tax), it is critical that we have taxable real estate stock that is constantly improving and, where possible, expanding.  That's not happening.  In truth, we do have a problem with residential development in Stoughton.  And perhaps this is an issue for another day and another email.  The problem isn't in the new homes we've added.  The problem is in the number of new rental units we have added in our sprint to reach our Chapter 40B quota.   Go to the Assessor's webpage and run a search of the number of new single-family homes built in the last four years.   I'll bet you could count them on two hands (I don't know the answer).   Over the last several years, Stoughton has added hundreds of rental units.  Which isn't bad unto itself.  However, if we are looking to keep a community identity, where people are vested in the community with an ownership interest, and where they have a personal financial interest in constantly improving their real estate value, we should not have rushed to stack new renters. This is my final point, I promise.   The sentence of yours that I originally disputed several paragraphs above concerned the financial impact of residential development.  But, in fairness to you, that one sentence was tucked deep inside a longer article discussing the Town's purchase of open space lands, and whether keeping certain Town-owned real estate had financial benefit.   I want to make this one last very heart-felt point:  the Town should acquire land for open space, and I am very much in favor of doing that.   It should because it makes the Town more livable.  It adds diversity to the Town's real estate stock.  It should because there is real value in aesthetics and natural preservation.   If that's the reason, then say that.  My grandfather came from Dorchester to Stoughton to swim in Glen Echo decades and decades ago, because it was a beautiful and pristine oasis in this area of the Commonwealth.  That's one of the several reasons my family eventually settled here, I'm sure.  Preserving that land  is a good thing, and I have to believe that's why the Open Space Committee identified it for purchase, and not some speciious municipal budgeting reason .   If I'm right, and if that's the reason, then I'm fully on board.  That's all.   As you can see, I had a few thoughts.  You don't have to agree with any of them and we'll still be friends.   I hope you're well."-- T.J Recupero.

"I would like to respond to a statement made by Stephen Bates regarding Mark's decision to discontinue his television show.  Mr. Bates said "Unfortunately I honestly believe that this is just another case of egos getting out of control."  As Mark's director for over four years, I can say with certainty that this is far from the truth, at least not in Mark's case.   May I remind Mr. Bates that we recorded "Snyder's Stoughton" at the Comcast studio in Easton for many years, and although at times there were glitches, there were absolutely NO difficulties with people getting along or with anyone on Mark's crew needing assistance and having assistance denied.  This was not the case at SMAC!  Mark's parting words on his last taped show very clearly explained what was going on there. There's no need to rehash.   Everything stated in Mark's column this week is accurate and would be substantiated by his crew if we were asked.  If anybody's ego was getting in the way of Mark and our crew's ability to continue to produce Stoughton's best and most-watched local access cable television show, believe me, it was NOT Mark's!  Sadly, he made the right decision and his crew stands by him 100%."--Cindy Pazyra, Snyder's Stoughton TV Show Director

"Hi Mark: Seeing that I supervised the build out of the studio and also on the board of directors I thought it was important that I respond to the previous post from Leo R. Mellyn.  I personally do not know Mr. Mellyn and I feel that this is just another letter from someone that does not know all the facts in the case.  Hopefully this will shed some light on his questions that he had asked.  The project did go out to bid and was advertised in the Stoughton pennysaver to all General Contractors as well as independent trades to submit a price.  We did provide a set of plans to 3 local General Contractors to bid the entire project that had responded to that advertisement.  The LOWEST bid came back at approximately $ 335,000.00 for the complete project.  At that time the board of directors realized we could not afford to have it done with a general contractor.  I own a local General contracting company in town so I offered my services for FREE to oversee the project and subcontract each trade individually.  ALL of the board members including the 2 employees VOLUNTEERED for FREE to complete the demolition and many other portions of the project.  Realizing that Stoughton has many talented contractors in it we were able to use mostly Stoughton companies and keep the money in town.  I thank you for pointing out the wonderful board room and kitchen that you mentioned in your letter.  The board room  walls have a "leathered" finish and was DONATED. The estimated cost for that type of work would be over One Thousand dollars…and we got it for free.  The value of the kitchen cabinets with all that detail including 3 piece crown molding are Three Thousand Dollars…We got them for One Thousand Dollars…The beautiful granite counter tops have a value of Twenty Five Hundred Dollars including the under mount sink and faucet….We got them for FREE..that is right….Another Stoughton company donated them….The hung ceiling company was also from Stoughton and donated all of the upgraded cost associated with the recessed tiles.  The engineer from Comcast told me that he has been to hundreds of studios in Massachusetts and he said this is the finest one he has been in.   The final cost of this project came in around $ 191,000.00  All of the board members spent hundreds of hours over a 3 month period at the studio so we could SAVE $ 144,000.00.   Unfortunately I honestly believe that this is just another case of egos getting out of control.  There are other shows that have filmed at the new studio and we do not have any other complaints with them.  I am sure that this will all get resolved and hope that the Snyder Show will resume.   I understand that you are frustrated , and with most new ventures comes frustration.  I would end with, if anyone has any questions regarding the construction to please contact me directly, my numbers are listed below."--Stephen F. Bates, Bates Remodeling, LLC, P.O Box 706, Stoughton Massachusetts 02072, (O) 781-341-2414, (F) 781-341-2002, (C) 781-760-5520

 "Mark, there has to be a way to get you back on the air, even if it means going back to Easton. We need your show, to high lite local people, restaurants, town boards, what's going on in town, your show is to valuble to lose. With regard to SMAC, I went to the open house they had, I was struck by how elegant the space is, the conference room is equal to what my corporation had, even a private kitchen. In my opinion considering what this space was meant for, far to much money was spent on building the studio.  For the amount of shows we get in town the pay rates are way out of line. Was this building project put out to bid? What company did the construction? Mr. Stagnone must resign, must resign from the board, as the members are appointed by the selectmen I doubt you will ever be on the board. If you can't work it out, go back to Easton, we can't lose you."--Leo R. Mellyn

"Mark: I am so disappointed to know that you will no longer be doing your show. I  congratulate you on standing on your convictions with regard to SMAC.  As a viewer, I have been so upset with the terrible way that productions are coming across.  Looking at an empty building during construction with no narration to it.  What are we paying Innis and the other guy for?  I don't see any need of that foolishness continuing.  Also, it is time for John Stagnone to step down as President.  It is a conflict of interest and has been for the last year.  Mark, someone needs to step into that mess and straighten it out. The programming is a real joke.  Have you ever sat and looked at the schedule on TV? You can't read it.  They sure don't have a clue about graphics. Had to write and tell you that you will be missed and my hope is that you somehow get into the management of SMAC and pull it all together."--Dave Milley

"Mark,  I was saddened to read that on April 13th you recorded your last TV show at the SMAC studio.  To the person, everyone knows how much you have given of yourself to enlighten the public on every political and social issue.  Although your TV program was only one of the many ways you kept us informed, it was one of the most enjoyable.  From giving every candidate a forum to voice their vision for our town, to the many new restaurants and their owners who showcased their food on your program, you never failed to deliver.  Your program will be greatly missed.  My husband, Dennis and I want to thank you for all you have done and continue to do for all the residents in Stoughton."-- Sincerely, Lorraine J. McCarthy

"Mark, sorry to hear about your show. Sounds like some people at the local cable access company are not performing in a manner commensurate with their salaries. Where is the SMAC board of directors in this matter? Are they doing their jobs? As you know, I am one of the many silent residents who use your show, your column, as well as the others, to keep abreast of the happenings around town. Hope things work out and you get back on the air soon."--Name Withheld Upon Request

 
"Hi Mark, Sorry to hear you are leaving the TV station and we will not be able to watch your programs anymore. All your shows were very interesting and entertaining to the Stoughton residents. Your weekly TV programs will be missed by all of us. I hope you can resolve this issue with the station and come back on.  Take care and good luck, a job well done."-- Hank Herbowy 

"I was at the Town Hall both yesterday and today and couldn't help but notice that there is a new sign in the front of the building. The sign reads, EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH.
I found the sign to be quite silly. I also wonder how many government offices offer this type of incentive program. It seems out of place, like something that I see at a bank, super market or big box store. Which then led me to question of the validity of such a program in our local goventment. ~How are people selected? ~What are some of the other “perks” associated with WINNING the Employee of the Month title? ~Who is getting paid to complete forms and sift through them each month? ~Who paid for the sign? ~Why is the space empty? Am I completely off base to think it is absolutely ridiculous that my tax dollars are being spent this way, especially during budget cuts?"--Heidi Tucker, Stoughton resident, tax payer & regular voter

"Hi Mark: We are on the eve of an extremely important election and I cannot help but feel I need to reach out to you and remind the voters why I am the best candidate to serve on the Stoughton School Committee. I bring decades of proven service to both our children and the Town and have always maintained that our children's futures and their best interests begin when they are toddlers.  My vast experience and the ability to serve coupled with a results oriented personality makes me the most viable candidate.  I have personally witnessed how best to represent our children and community.  My many satisfying years of Town involvement have two points of keen interest:  First, it best prepares me for this challenge, and Second, I have an understanding and appreciation that difficult decisions are often required but there are always ways to accomplish and achieve success. I am an independent voice unaffiliated with other political groups in Town, therefore my viewpoints and stance is derived from you, the PEOPLE on behalf of our children that I represent.  I will always remember that there needs to be a chain of command starting with the voter, to the School Committee, to the Superintendent's Office, to the teachers and support staff.  Challenging times await us and issues need addressing.  Therefore I am asking for your vote tomorrow, April 5th 2011."--George Dolinsky, School Committee Candidate.

"Mark, when the people of Stoughton first elected me to the School Committee, I came with an extensive academic background, and vast experience as a manager, scientist, and educator. Being a good School Committee member requires mastering yet another steep learning curve. Over the past three years, I have worked hard and gained a deep understanding of how public school systems work. I researched every important issue thoroughly before voting, brought important issues to committee deliberation, and never hesitated voting my conscience. I have always advocated for the best interest of the school system and our Town. I am truly proud of my services as a Stoughton School Committee member for the past three years. I believe that our schools’ primary goal is to increase achievement for all students, so that every student can reach her/his fullest potential. Since our revenues are limited, especially this year, we must focus on improving our system’s efficiency so that there are more resources available to increase student achievement. In order to do that, we must eliminate waste, share services with other Town departments, seek more opportunities to regionalize, and make collective bargaining more effective and equitable. We must enable our teachers to give Stoughton children a world-class 21st century education. We must also reduce fees parents pay, and resist fee increases. Furthermore, as the board is charged with overseeing the school system, we must work to have a more accountable and transparent School Administration, and hold the Superintendent accountable for her decisions. I have enjoyed working with my fellow committee members tremendously, and I look forward to continuing my work towards achieving excellence in all Stoughton Schools. I will continue to improve accountability, transparency, efficiency, safety and security in the district. I have lived in Stoughton for 29 years. I have a third grader in Stoughton Public Schools and our younger son will start kindergarten this fall. As a parent and a homeowner, I have a vested interest in improving our school system. Therefore, I am volunteering again to continue my service to Stoughton as a School Committee member. I thank Stoughton voters for the honor of serving as a school committee member for the past three years and I hope that they will give me one of their votes on April 5th."-- Dr. Erdem A. Ural, School Committee Candidate for re-election

"Hey Mark: How come a candidate for school committee was allowed to shove her her campaigne literature into parents cars as they were dropping of thier children for school at the Gibbons?
 Is this because she is the prefered canidate of the school committee and the principal of the school? While technically not illegal it does raise some serious questions. It just is not right and should give people pause for thought when they enter the polling station tommorrow."--Denise Wallace

"Dear Mark, I would like to remind everyone to vote this Tuesday, April 5. Do not think your vote does not make a difference. It does, especially in small, local elections like this one.
In April 2010, I was appointed to the School Committee and in just 11 months I have already: -Become Chair of the Feasibility Committee for School Buildings looking at repair vs.replacement for the buildings identified in the Facilities Master Plan. -Organized the first of many field trips to other schools to learn about their building programs. -Served on the Race to the Top committee looking at how best to use the education funds allotted to us by the state. -Helped to implement a long-term contract for the superintendent, securing long-term leadership for the schools.
-Supported the MMSI grant that created additional AP and Honors courses at the High School. -Reached out to parents through PTO’s urging their greater participation in town government.
I have run a positive campaign based on my ideas, suggestions from parents and educators, and my passion for public education in Stoughton. Every resident in Stoughton benefits from a strong and vibrant public school system. I hope that you will consider me for one of your two votes for School Committee on Tuesday."-Sincerely, Deborah Sovinee, Candidate for School Committee

"Hi Mark & the People of Stoughton: On March 28th I was at the taping of the Dick Murphy Show School Committee debate. The Show started with Deb Sovinee calling me a liar. That statement cannot be further from the truth and was completely uncalled for and based on unfounded conclusions. Let me provide some of the background to Deb’s accusation. At the Snyder Show debate, Jeffrey Pickett asked a question that went something like; there are two open seats which of the other candidates sitting here would you most want to work with….While my opponents gave a politically correct type of answer, I answered the question truthfully. As part of my reason for selecting one over the other I stated, 'I have an issue with a School Committee Member missing the vote on the School Budget.' Deb gave her reasons for missing the vote which included a business meeting, breaking speed limits, and just missing the vote. Furthermore, at the League of Women Voters debate, Deb opened her closing by saying that she has not missed a School Committee meeting. I guess at this point I was shaking my head. I was doing that because I believe that statement was misleading and I said so at the opening of my closing statement. While true she made every meeting, she missed the vote on the school budget (a budget which is 2/3 of the total town’s budget), which is one of the most important jobs a member of the School Committee has, not only to the children but also to the voters of Stoughton. Deb brought the minutes to the Dick Murphy debate, which proved she had made every meeting but it also showed that she wasn’t present for the School Committee vote on the budget. She claimed that I made a decision not based on the facts. She could not be more incorrect. She missed the vote on the budget, a plain and simple fact which was supported by the very minutes she provided. I spoke to Tom Colburn, Chair of the School Committee, who told me on more than one occasion, (I also called him after the Dick Murphy Show and he confirmed what he previously told me), that Deb had requested to be late to the meeting so she could attend a meeting on the Glen Echo issue that was important to her. Tom elected not to delay the vote as this is one of the most important jobs of the School Committee. But why she missed the vote, a business meeting or a Glen Echo meeting is not all that important to me, she missed the school’s budget vote. I answered the tough question Mr Pickett asked, not by sidestepping the issued put in front of me, I made a decision to select another candidate to work with on the School Committee. In these debates, including the Murphy debate, I did not ever call Deb a liar. As I said, I did not have an issue with her missing a meeting; I had an issue with her missing the budget vote. Additionally, the opening of her closing remarks at the League of Women Voters debate was misleading, while she certainly has been at every meeting, she fail to point out that she missed the budget vote and the discussion on the budget just before the vote was taken. The shaking of one’s head is not calling someone I liar, so I do not believe Deb’s attack was warranted. But Deb was not done attacking at this debate; she then threw a jab at STOYAC, claiming that they were not paying their fair share for utilizing the School’s gyms. STOYAC, however, paid over 40K for the use of the facilities. Once again, it appears Deb is misleading the voters of Stoughton. Are these desperate attempts to redirect the voters from the fact that Deb missed the School Budget vote, a primary responsibility of the School Committee? These actions are just some of the poor decisions and irrational behavior Deb has demonstrated in her 10 months on the School Committee. This time the voters of Stoughton will decide our fate on April 5 th, I only hope they consider me when casting their ballot. Very truly yours." -- Jeffrey A Benson, Candidate for School Committee

"Mark, we live in a great nation. we give millions if not billions  of dollars to countries all over the world. We give money to Iraq, Pakistan, Afganistan, Eygypt, Isreal,Lybia, Brazil, Columbia, Sudan, God knows who else. Most of them don't like us at all ,would throw us a rock if we were drowning. Then today I read in the paper, that we seniors living on Social Security will go into our 3rd year with out a cost of living  adjustmet, because the increase in Medicare cost will negate any increase we get in a cost of living.  What a great Nation we live in ,when the lives of people in foriegn nations are more important than our own American Citizens. Lets meet the needs of our people before we try to take care of the world. The most important thing President Obama was elected for was to protect the Citizens of the United States of America, this is first and foremost, but it doesn't seem to be working that way."--Leo E. Mellyn

"Mark, I want to make one correction of John Morton's remarks regarding the groups which have given written support for the purchase of the Glen Echo property by the Town, using money from the CPA. It was the Historical Commission which sent a letter naming the purchase of Glen Echo being its top priority, not the Historical Society, which has taken no offical position as of this time. The Historical Commission is a Town-appointed board, the Historical Society is a separate organization, founded in 1895, "preserving the worthwhile past" in the Town-owned, Lucius Clapp Memorial, the former Public Library. Mr Morton traces the history of the Glen Echo Property back to the days of the trolley car, but its recorded history goes back to 1657, when the Dorchester town meeting created the 6,000 acre Ponkapoag Plantation, to be set aside for the exclusive use of Indians with an Indian Meeting House at York Pond, (now Glen Echo) and an Indian cemetery at Indian Lane (in the present Canton.) In 1895, Elisha Monk purchased the Glen Echo property from its last Indian owners and (along with the Stoughton Historical Society) erected a stone marker at the southeast corner of the original Ponkapoag Plantation, a marker, which still stands today in the woods, southwest of where the paper road, Glen Echo Street crosses Glen Echo Boulevard. More than half of the land to be acquired is within the bounds of the old Ponkapoag Plantation. Current lot lines revealed on the Town Of Stoughton's excellent GIS maps at http://gis.stoughton-ma.gov/GISPropertyViewer/Map.aspx clearly show (if you know where to look) the corner of the old Ponkapoag Plantation. The Historical Commission is in the process of updating the Town's Historical resources on a GIS map, which one day will be on line, and will show more than one hundred buildings and sites of historical interest, including the marker mentioned above. A number of the arrowheads and other stone artifacts in the Historical Society's collection are labeled as having been acquired near York Pond/Glen Echo. Obviously, the area is a significant historical resource. I have barely scratched the surface of relating the two and half century history of the Ponkapoag Plantation. For more information on Ponkapoag Plantation, including its location on the Map of the 12 Divisions, visit the Stoughton Historical Society."--Dwight MacKerron, President of the Stoughton Historical Society, Member of the Historical Commission and its representative on the Community Preservation Committee 

"Mark, parents have contacted me with questions about the misinformation that has circulated regarding the Stoughton Education Foundation and Beaton Scholarship Fund.
Here are the facts: The Stoughton Education Foundation has NO PAID EMPLOYEES. No one receives any compensation for their work on the foundation. It was founded two years ago by former Superintendent of Schools Anthony Sarno, current Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, and School Committee Chair, Tom Colburn. Its purpose is to mimic the model used by some private schools to provide funds for things needed outside of the regular operating budget such as after-school offerings, parental enrichment, technology equipment and support. The initial pool of money,
$9,000, was generously donated at Tony Sarno’s retirement party when he asked that donations be made to this fund in lieu of retirement gifts for him. The second fundraiser was the travelogue party for the teachers who went to Australia with Oprah. Three hundred dollars went to the Stoughton Education Foundation. They are still in the process of raising money. This extraordinarily generous initiative deserves everyone’s support. It benefits our schools and children and by extension the entire town. The Stoughton Education Foundation and Dr. Beaton Scholarship Fund are completely unrelated. The Beaton Fund was founded on a $1,000,000 donation and is administered by an independent trust. With input from the guidance department at the high school, it
provides scholarship money to SHS seniors based on need and accomplishment. The amount varies from year to year based on the economy since the principle must stay at $1,000,000.
Finally, Anthony Sarno provides as-needed consultation to the school system, for which he is paid at the relatively low hourly rate of $125.00/ Hr. - based on his long successful
tenure here. This is standard practice to have a mentor for superintendents. The mandatory mentoring Mr. Sarno offers is something we are lucky as a community to have and contributes to the smoothly running continuity of the school system. The cost of this is paid for by a federal Title 2a grant - not out of the operating budget - and is part of what is required to fulfill professional development obligations to support our superintendent. We are lucky to have these funds and initiatives in our school system."-- Deborah Sovinee, Stoughton School Committee

"Dear Neighbor, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation have released a Draft Environmental Impact Report, wherein MassDOT identifies the so-called Stoughton Rail Alternative as its preferred route for providing commuter rail service to Southeastern Massachusetts. Construction of this rail link would have a significant impact on towns along the route, including Canton, Stoughton and Easton. The Patrick Administration estimates that the project will stimulate some $500 million in annual economic growth and create 3,500 long-term jobs by 2030. They have created a project website, www.mass.gov/southcoastrail.com.   I am reserving significant comments until we have an opportunity to review the 2,500 page document and so that I can hear from the affected residents and elected officials in my district. I did speak with Governor Patrick and members of his administration today, however, and I made it quite clear that Representatives Kafka, Galvin and I will do all that we can to ensure that if and when this project goes forward, the quality of life for the residents of Stoughton is not unduly impacted. In addition to quality of life concerns, I will be reviewing the environmental impact of this proposal, including along the Hockomock Swamp   Finally, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, as well as a member of the committees on Ways and Means and Transportation, I have very serious concerns about our ability to pay for this estimated $1.5 billion project. With a per capita debt that is among the highest in the nation, we simply can’t take on another public works project of this magnitude without a clear funding mechanism in place. Such financing does not currently exist. I will continue to keep you apprised of developments on the South Coast Rail Project and advise you of upcoming public meetings. I invite you to submit your comments to me, which we will forward to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and to MassDOT."--Brian Joyce (State Senator D-Milton)

 

"Hi Mark, I just read
on your school news page 

 

about the garden project that Teacher Shannon Ventresca is starting. Awesome ! I thought it needed to be seen by more people.   I just want to congratulate her for taking the initiative and being caring and creative. To notice the void of true inclusion in our schools and then then come up with something that she can do.  Let's help. These are the kind of things that our teachers are doing . Thank you!"-- Pat MacNeil

"Mark, I would like your readers to know that the broadcast quality of both Snyder's Stoughton and Community Forum this week was not up to our expectations, nor was it what we anticipate SMAC TV can do in the future.  Obviously, with the new studio equipment, it may take some more practice for the administration to produce the quality we are used to seeing.  Both shows this week were on important topics.  Snyder's Stoughton produced a debate between the four School Committee candidates, and Community Forum produced an interview with Pat Basler, our Stoughton Library Director. Thanks to the viewers for continuing to watch and learn.  We anticipate SMAC be able to solve the problem with the lighting for next week."--Dori Frankel, Host of Community Forum

 
"This week it was announced on a local talk show that a Memorial Square Dedication was approved by my office.  This was abjectly false.  Only the Board of Selectmen can approve a Memorial Square Dedication.  The application in question is still being vetted."--Mike Pazyra, Veterans' Office

"Hi my name is Eddie Rodrigues over at Stoughton High School.  I am sending you this email to ask if you could help my DECA program with some fundraising.  We have 7 students who will be traveling to Orlando April 29th until May 4th.  This is a great opportunity for these kids who will be competing against kids from other states and countries in business competition.  These kids have made it through district and state competition to make it this far and now we need money to get us there.  By the way to make it out of states you have to place in top 4.  I would hate for this opportunity to be wasted because we don't have the money.  At this conference our kids could receive scholarship and internship opportunities on the spot.  We will be "canning" outside of Roche Bros Sat and Sun 10 to 4 this weekend.  Any little bit helps and if people wish to donate any money they can send cash or money order to my attention at Stoughton High School 232 Pearl St. Stoughton, Ma 02072.  Thanks for your help." Mr. Eddie Rodrigues, Business/Information Technology Department, Stoughton High School (e_rodrigues@stoughtonschools.org)

"Dear Mark: Thank you for including the press release regarding the proposed purchase of the Glen Echo property on your valuable web site. The more that people know about the property, its history, its value and its potential uses the more enthusiasm there is for its preservation. The property includes about 97 acres with thousands of feet of undeveloped waterfront on the Glen Echo Pond. The pond is located at the end of Glen Echo Boulevard in North Stoughton. A few years ago, a former Board of Selectmen authorized the Trust for Public Land to negotiate on behalf of the Town to try to conclude a purchase and sale arrangement that could be presented to Town meeting for consideration. Acting on that authority, the TPL has expended enormous time and resources to put together a Purchase and Sale Agreement that will be presented to the upcoming Annual Town Meeting for consideration. The TPL has absorbed all of the costs associated with the negotiation of the P & S Agreement - thereby saving the Town considerable expense. The Glen Echo property is listed in the Stoughton Open Space plan as the number one priority for preservation. That Open Space Plan was approved by the unanimous vote of a former Board of Selectmen and by Town Meeting. The process of negotiating a purchase and sale agreement for the property has taken more than eight years. The negotiations with the owner were interrupted for more than a year when the Algonquin Gas Company became involved in a three way negotiation with the Town, and the Land Owner for the acquisition of a gas pipe line easement over the property. I was on the committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen to negotiate that arrangement on behalf of the Town. The arrangement which was finally reached would have conveyed to Algonquin a gas line easement on the property and transferred the ownership of the site - subject to the easement - to the Town for no cost. Those of us on the negotiating committee thought that we had reached a "win-win" outcome. Unfortunately, the recession came crashing down on all of us, and the demand for gas and electricity substantially diminished. I understand that plans for a gas fired electrical generating station were shelved and therefore the need for the expanded gas line disappeared. Algonquin therefore scrapped the project and swallowed a multimillion dollar investment in licensing, permitting and un-executed land acquisition purchase options. The good news is, that if Algonquin ever decides to reactivate the project at some time in the future, and if at that time the town owns the Glen Echo property, all of the negotiations and all of the mitigation dollars will go directly to the Town - rather than to a third party. I would expect that the land value will only increase from its present lows, so the Town would then be in a position to more than recover its purchase price should the situation move in that direction at some time in the future. There are some in town who argue that the property should be developed for "High End homes." One member of the Board of Selectmen recently said to me (by phone) and to another member of the open space committee (in a separate phone conversation) that the property should be developed into executive estates to "Attract a better class of people to Town." I was quite upset with this remark for several reasons: First, I have no problem with the "class of people" that are already in town. Our Town is richly diverse and include hundreds of citizens who are deeply involved with town governance and very much concerned about the quality of life and the future of the community. We have excellent schools, and our town services are well managed. Second, study after study across the nation have concluded that residential developmentcosts cities and towns more than it yields in property tax revenues. A study in our town several years ago concluded that every residential structure in Stoughton costs the Town more than $3,000 per year above the amount that the property generates in taxes - and that number increases every year with inflation. More recently, an informal survey of taxes and costs involving one of the "High End" developments in Stoughton indicated that the very expensive homes in the neighborhood cost the town about $60,000 more per year - in the aggregate - than they generated in taxes. The short of the story is that it costs less to purchase and protect residentially zoned property than it costs to support the houses that might be developed on the property. Third, there is overwhelming support for the acquisition of the Glen Echo property among our citizens. The reasons are compelling.

*The Property has historical value dating back to the time when trolleys brought vacationers from Boston to vacation at the Glen Echo resort, and thousands of folks enjoyed swimming and boating on the pristine waters of the lake. The lake remains pristine and the old beach is still in place. With a small amount of clean-up it can be restored to its former grandeur. The acquisition will preserve some vital green space in a portion of Town that has seen enormous development over the past decade.

*The property still has an extensive network of hiking trails that follow the shore line of the lake and extend into the more remote uplands. There will be little or no cost associated with the development of recreational hiking trails on the site. The property already includes a road-way into the former hotel and beach area as well as a cleared area abutting the beach that was used - and can be used - for parking and active recreational uses. In fact, six acres of the land abutting the beach will be set aside for active recreational uses consistent with the uses that were allowed in the property's heyday as a prominent vacation destination.

*The availability of Ames Pond as a swimming area is threatened by diminishing water levels and the proliferation of invasive plans. The Glen Echo property will assure that the swimming and other recreational opportunities remain available to all of us, should Ames Pond continue to deteriorate.

The acquisition of the Glen Echo property - if approved by town meeting - will be financed with a bond to be repaid from Community Preservation Act funds and therefore will not affect the tax rate nor will it compete with other projects from the General funds of the Town. The CPArequires that a portion of CPA funds be used for the conservation and preservation of open space and recreational resources. What better use of this portion of these funds than the acquisition of Glen Echo? The overwhelming feedback that the Community Preservation Committee received when it evaluated the Glen Echo proposal was that it is essential to acquire and protect that property. Written support for the acquisition was received by the CPC from the historical Society, the Conservation Commission, the Recreation Department, the Open Space Committee and from two members of the Board of Selectmen. No other project before the CPC received this overwhelming level of support. Given that some of the money in the CPA fund must be spent on conservation related matters, there was little doubt in the mind of the CPC that the Glen Echo acquisition was the place to put the money. The CPA fund is being replenished at the rate of more than $700,000 per year. The fund currently holds about $2.0 million in cash. The acquisition of the Glen Echo property will require that the committee set aside a portion of that amount to cover the bond amortization expense. The exact amount of the reserve cannot be determined at this time because it depends on the interest rate that the bonds bear. It is clear, however, that the bond amortization expense will be a relatively small portion of the funds in the CPA account, leaving substantial amounts to cover other vital projects. Any cost associated with the recreational development of the property after it is required can be financed in whole or in part by CPC funds - to the extend recommended by the CPC Committee and approved by Town meeting. The CPA specifically allows the use of CPA funds to improve conservation and recreational land acquired with CPA funds. The Purchase and Sale Agreement has been structured in a way that allows the TPL - on behalf of the Town - to apply for a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $500,000. The TPL successfully applied for a similar grant when the Town acquired the Libby Property on West Street. Should this grant be received, the cost of the acquisition will be reduced to 75% of the agreed price. Taking both the matching grant - if received - and the state match of CPA funds, the net cost to the town will be less than 50% of the acquisition cost. In short, the Glen Echo property is part of the heritage of the Town of Stoughton. The property should not be locked up behind rows of fences and "NO TRESPASSING" signs posed by some alleged "better class of people." This magnificent resource should be available to all of the citizens of town. My thanks to you for the service you do for the Town in maintaining this web site."-- Sincerely John Morton, Chairman, Community Preservation Committee

"Mark, The Veterans' Office received a call from Carol O'Connell who is a troop leader for Brownie Troop 80517.  Along with troop leader Melissa Nelson they have dozens of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies they want to send to our troops overseas. We sent out a number of "Care Packages" over the holidays, but I can't be sure that all of the addresses are current.  So, I'd like to ask that anyone who has a Sailor, Soldier, Airman/woman or Marine serving our Country to please email their name and address.  Doesn't matter where they are serving; the Veterans' Office along with Brownie Troop 80517 will be sure to get some delicious Girl Scout Cookies and other good stuff out to them. Please email to vetagent@stoughton-ma.gov."--Mike Pazyra, Veterans' Office

"Mark, just read on a Stoughton blog about the Dr. Beaton Scholarship Fund, I know that 99% of the stuff there is foolish, but this looks like something of interest.  Is it true that the School Commitee is paying a consultant $250.00 an hour to administer the fund? See if you can find out what this is about, $250.00 an hour, if true seems a little steep, according to Topix there was motion to change it to $125.00/ hr. and this caused a fire storm. See what you can find out."--Leo E. Mellyn

""Mark, I would like to thank you for the publicity you gave to the 5th annual Guns N Hoses Hockey game this year.  It was another fantastic turnout, which is a testament to the people of Stoughton who support us all year long.  I would like send sincere congratulations to the Stoughton Fire Department for a job well done.  They played their hearts out and earned the win against us.  Our team put up a great fight, but we were outmatched against the FD tonight.  A lot goes into this game and people like Laura Sheehan and Buddy O’Neil put in many thankless hours to make this game happen.  The police station will feel a little empty without that trophy in our lobby, but for this year it is the Fire Departments to enjoy."--John Bonney

"Hi Mark:  I am the parent of two children in the Stoughton school system.  I have one child at the OMS and one at the Dawe School.  I am a very active parent.  I've been heavily involved with the Dawe PTO for many years .  So, needless to say, I've done a lot of volunteering over the past several years. I just want to say how disgusted I am with the letter written by Susan Cogliano, the STA President, that was published in today's Stoughton Journal and on your web site.  I did hear of the letter, but today is the first time I had the opportunity to actually read it.  I understand that the teachers are frustrated but, clearly, they are going after the WRONG people to try to move their contracts along.  Whenever I read that they are telling teachers not to volunteer for things like the SCHOOL FAIRS I lost it.  I know you are a former Dawe parent and I'm willing to bet that you were involved with the Dawe School Fair during your years there.  In that one day alone,  approximately $10,000 (that's 1/3 of all monies raised during the entire school year) is raised for the school.  We rely HEAVILY on teacher volunteerism to make our fair successful.  Do they realize that if we don't have enough volunteers we may not be able to have the fair?  Do they realize how much this would hurt the kids at the school because there won't be enough funds for the programs and activities that we have so proudly been able to offer to them in the past?  Not to mention the generous stipends that we kindly give to each teacher every year to defray some of their classroom costs and the WEEK of teacher appreciation meals, gifts and activities that take place the first week of May.  Can't say I'll be rushing up to the school to volunteer that week!! Let me tell you, I don't think that I could even attempt to add up the countless number of hours that I have spent volunteering for the PTO.  I am just ONE of the MANY who put their hearts and souls into volunteering.  And, yes, volunteering means we don't get paid one red cent for any of it.  And we never complain because we love our kids and would go to the ends of the earth to make sure they get as many extras as possible during their school years.  And we do it all without a contract. Imagine??
I can't say I even feel badly about the teachers not getting their step raises. Did I read correctly that according to Susan Cogliano 'teachers are typically hired at relatively low salary levels' and 'teachers understood they were going to receive their step raises when they were hired'?  I read the list you published a couple of years ago and almost died when I saw what some of their salaries were!   I work in the private sector (maybe I should call this "reality") and have not gotten a raise in FOUR years. When I was hired, I, too,  thought I was going to receive my raise every year.  Funny how one assumes that, huh??  The way the economy has been, I am just grateful to have my job.  My health insurance has declined over the past few years.  Rising health insurance premiums have forced my company to offer a lesser Blue Cross Blue Shield plan with deductibles and higher co-pays.  Again, I'm glad to have the insurance just like I'm glad to have my job.  Why does it seem that these teachers are out of touch with reality?  I read somewhere that someone was complaining about how their co-payments used to be $5 and are now proposing $15.  MINE ARE $30.  Better than paying out of pocket for the office visit!!   I wish I got the gold BCBS plan along with summers off, school vacations off and every holiday known to man off.  Not to mention that their day ends at 3:00 on Mondays and Fridays and at 3:30 on the other days.  That would have saved me THOUSANDS in after school/summer vacation care over the past 10 years. I am just one parent, but, I have met many people over the past several years and I know that what I'm feeling is felt by many parents across the board.  Don't get me wrong, I have loved each and every one of my kids' teachers but they need to know that it's time to join the rest of us who live in "reality".  We haven't gotten raises, our health insurances have declined and, yes, lots of us are on salary and work a lot of extra hours, sometimes without pay, to get our jobs done.  We must all come to terms that times they are a changin'. Thanks for listening to me!" (Name Withheld Upon Request)

"Hi Mr. Snyder - I am glad that Sue Cogliano, STA President has finally spoken but I was not too thrilled with some of the comments that she made. According to Ms. Cogliano, the fact that these were "volunteer" positions meant that this was not a work action and the  teachers could stop them at any point in time. However, the fact is that their abrupt departure did jeopardize the hard work of all of the students in those clubs and that simply is not true.  Every student who voluntarily joined those clubs and did the extra work is being hurt by the STA action.  Someone also needs to tell the STA, that the fact is in today's work environment, most of us perform more duties that are not part of our job description voluntarily and none of us get extra pay or even a high-five so I do not understand why Sue Cogliano thinks that the teachers deserve more than what most workers get today. Also, it is my understanding that since there is no contract because it expired on June 30th, 2010, the teachers are not automatically supposed to get the steps and the State Courts have voted on this issue.  If they want them, stop taking action that hurts the students and negotiate a fair contract which represents that Stoughton does not have the funds to pay raises. When funds were available, the teachers got great raises, now that no money is available, I ask that they do the honorable thing and take no raises."--Sincerely, Alicia Cohen 


"Mark: Here is a quote from the Stoughton Journal story on the new HR Director: 'This position could definitely save the town money,' McNamara said. 'But the focus is on improving employee morale here in town, and helping our people to work smarter instead of harder.' I distinctly remember sitting at Town Meeting and listening to the Town Manager say over and over again that the hiring of a HR Director was going to save the town money.  In addition, I have listened over and over again to members of the Board of Selectmen say the same thing. I would like to know why it is that in the FIRST interview with a member of the local press, the new HR Director references the town possibly saving money but states that his main focus will be on employee morale! Is that the job of a HR Resources Director? Do we need to be paying this person $80,000.00/year to boost morale? Further, I'd like to know how he's going to get people to work 'smarter.' What's his plan for that? I suppose that from now on, the Town Manager, in his reports to the Board of Selectmen, will no longer be endlessly repeating that so-and-so is 'very busy, working hard and doing a great job.'  From now on he will say that they are 'very busy, working smartly and doing a great job.'  What a joke."--Angry Female Resident, who requests her name be withheld.

"Hi Mark: I'm not sure if this is something you would be willing to help with, but for the second year in a row, I will be joining a group of Stoughton residents to ride in this year's Pan Massachusetts Challenge to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  If this is something you could help us get the word out about, I would greatly appreciate it.  My PMC bio page can be viewed at www.pmc.org/profile/mm0473 and you can learn more about our team on facebook by joining the Team VICE fan page. I greatly appreciate your consideration."--Mike Mauriello

"Mark, Congratulations to the officers that revived the person who had a heart attack with the AED.  I'm sure Al Lipkind is smiling."--Dick Levine

"Mark, Please publish this for all the folks in town to see. I think under the circumstances our public works department is doing a good job trying to remove all the snow. Let’s give them a big hand, too many people are upset with them when they are only trying to do their job. Just saying"--John Sawyer

"Hi Mark: I am writing in regard to the message about special education clubs. While I sympathize with writer and her child and can relate to the situation I would like to point out that this kind of special needs programing should be part of the comprehensive services for special needs in the school day.  Does Stoughton provide this programming ? The social skill development should not be left to a club. It should be part of regular programing just like math or speech and language. If social skill development is part of the IEP and the club is the means to provide that service then it is required that Stoughton find away to provide that service if it is no longer available.  Is the use of this club the main way special needs children learn 'social skills to function in the world' ? Is it the only club that they were involved in ? These are some of the questions that need to be asked ? Special needs students need to participate in the 'life of the school.'    I do not understand what is going on with the teachers either. I do know that the no confidence vote and the teachers current action should have all townspeople, not just parents, concerned.  I did not see the school committee really ask  good questions and get beyond defending themselves and the superintendent. The bottom line is that many teachers voted for it. To me the fact that any number of teachers feel this way should give us all pause.  To concentrate on the percentage belies the point that something is not right.  To get any teachers to vote this way is unbelievable. The teachers want to teach and want to do what is best for their students.  Until the right questions are asked and the simple blame game sound bites stop, we won't get any answers."       I'll join the crowd and ask that my name be withheld.

Hi Mark,
Thank you for helping to get the word out about the food drive. I am hoping you will make my Thursday food collection a weekly reminder in The Patch and/or The Journal. My husband looks forward to coming home from work on Fridays and reading the Journal. These winter months are the toughest for folks on a limited income. Choosing between buying food and heating your home is a terrible and very real dilemma for so many.  On the plus side, a cashier at Page’s recognized me and gave me a check last weekend and I received a call from a woman on Chase Run who has a bag of food for me. Although these are positive signs, week’s when there is no coverage anywhere I get very few calls and one week I didn’t get any.  My hope is that folks will begin to think ‘Thursday is Food Pantry Day”. I believe given time and assistance from the local media we can establish that pattern. Kudos also to my friends and colleagues at C/21 C & S Properties who collected food last weekend at Shaw’s and Stop and Shop.  Windsor Tire also donates a portion of every oil change to The Food pantries. This is progress but I hope this becomes a community effort. My hope is that eventually Stoughton folks will only need an occasional reminder to keep a weekly supply of donations coming. Feel free to use my Facebook photo (or not) although this is not about me. This is a very real need and I hope to eliminate hunger in Stoughton or at least put a huge dent in it. I pick up non perishable food items or other household supplies, detergent, toothpaste etc.) every Thursday anywhere in Stoughton. Feel free to use all or part of this email although you would do a much better job. I loved your article on “Snow More”! Thursday is Food Pantry Day.” Call Peg Carbone Direct @ 508.889 1385 or email Peg.carbone@comcast.net.

"Hi Mark:  Who can investigate the Sam's Getty Station, Stoughton ? His prices are the highest of any station in the area.  He raises prices too much & too often.  Friday  it was $3.199 per regular and then Saturday AM he had $3.239 posted. He also has cars o sale on the property.  This is a neighborhood business ??  What is the latest news regarding the Woodbridge condo/apartment issue ? Two buildings on the property that is seen from the street look like they are ready to collapse.  Thank you."-- Ellie (last name withheld by request)

"Hi Mark, I too would love to support the teachers but am completely in the dark as to what is going on. What I wanted to add to your article is this... Not only is it the Academic clubs and such that are affected but also Special Education clubs. My son has Special Needs and is a member of the 'Buddies Club.'  This club takes SpEd kids from ODMS & SHS and pairs them up with Regular Ed kids.  I am in awe of the turn of Regular Ed kids who come and help the SpEd kids learn social skills that they will need to function in the world.  Because this club meets at SHS, it has been cancelled until further notice. I have always backed teachers then I was in need of SpEd.  Stoughton has done right by my child and made me proud to stand for the teachers.
Please ask the president of the STA one question for me.  'How do I explain this to my child?' I too like you want to understand."-- For my child, please with hold my name

"Hi Mark: By the time the selectmen came around to voting on the school budget last night (sending it to FinCom), I noticed I wasn’t the only one confused.  When Selectman Walsh asked for a motion to send the budget to FinCom, all 3 members asked “which budget? The one we received tonight, the one we received last Friday, or the one we received before that?” At this point, I’m not sure what they agreed to send to FinCom.  The gentleman who spoke (I believe he was from the school committee) told me they agreed to a budget with a $2 million cut for the schools.  The piece of paper that was handed out at the start of the meeting contained some points about the budget and the town. Two of the points were:   School spending this year (FY2011) is $35,400,000 and projected (FY2012) is $35,200,000.   All other departments (police, fire, DPW, library, veterans, etc) this year (FY2011) is $16,500,000 and projected (FY2012) is $16,700,000. I may need to go back to 3rd grade math, but to me that comes out to $51,900,000.  The budget they agreed to send on (if I heard correctly) was $68million.  What is the other $16.1M for?  Where is the $2M cut in the school that people are talking about?  Where can we get a copy of the school budget proposal (the link on your web site is dead)?  Is the meeting next week open to the public?"--Kevin Monahan

"Hi Mark: Not sure if you heard about the 2 fathers fighting inside the South School yesterday morning (1/25) at drop off.  The 2 men had an altercation due to one parking in a handicap spot and was not handicap.  The altercation escalated into quite vulgar words and then into an outright fist fight.  It was very traumatic for these young kids to see this.  Luckily, someone called the Police and they stopped the fight.  Many teachers tried to stop it to no avail.  The students were horrified to watch this going on. My biggest concern is that the School never said a word about this to the students or families and just pretended it didn't happen.  Don't you think a note should have went home with students?  My daughter was afraid to go to school today and students need to be reassured these jerks that acted like idiots, is an isolated event. This is just not acceptable! Thank you."-- A Concerned Parent of the South School (Name was Withheld Upon Request)

"Dear Mark: We woke up yesterday to news that the Governor is not cutting state funding for education, and his reasons include the obligations of us all to educate our children well and the importance of good public schools to our economy.  This is the policy discussion we need to have in Stoughton, not a diversion over which board has ultimate authority to propose the school budget – the Town Charter settles that point pretty clearly.  In light of postings over the past week, in an effort to reduce some of the conflict that has developed about who gets to propose the School Department budget and whether the Superintendent of Schools is accountable to the Town Manager just like any department head, as one selectman incorrectly commented, concerned citizens can read parts of the Town Charter about responsibility for the school budget and diffuse the conflict with knowledge on how the system is supposed to work.  As a community, we seem to be addicted to unproductive conflict.  The cure is more citizen participation at all levels, so a quick look at the Town Charter might be a good start:     For the Board of Selectmen, under Article 3-3 B, the Selectmen shall:  “Be responsible for the preparation of the annual Town government budget and, except for schools, submission of that budget on or before the third Tuesday in January to the town meeting Committee on Finance and Taxation for approval by Town Meeting Representatives. The Selectmen shall make an annual report, which shall be published as part of the annual Town Report, setting forth the matters considered by them during the fiscal year preceding that in which the report is published and making such recommendations as appear to be necessary or appropriate respecting the finances of the Town and the measures to be taken with reference thereto. The selectmen shall place in the annual report a statement of the past year's accomplishments of each department. For the School Committee, under Article 5·2. “The School Committee shall have all of the powers and duties school committees may have under the constitution and General Laws of the Commonwealth which are not specifically assigned to some other office by this Charter, and shall submit the school department budget to the Town Manager on or before the thirty-first day of December for inclusion in the annual town government budget.” Of course, we should consider the recommendations by the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen carefully, but the public power struggle over who controls the school budget and whether the Town Manager may require the Superintendent of Schools to submit a budget at any level is an unnecessary distraction from the important policy questions that the budget crunch triggers.   We should not be satisfied that the Board of Selectmen and School Committee, or at least representatives from each of them, have been unable to engage one another on this important issue.  The initiative needs to come both boards, and from the rest of us."--Bob O’Regan, Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 1

"Dear Mark, I would like you to publish this thank you for me.  After work, during the big storm, I thought I might be able to get through the mountain of snow left after the street had been plowed during the day, so I gunned it.  Bad choice.  I was stuck in my Focus.  I had been ill for nearly a month, had just finished cleaning off and digging out my car at work, so I think you can understand my reluctance to dig again because I didn't know if I could take it.  But, I got out of the car (I don't know how because half of door was buried in snow) and started to dig, falling down, coughing and ready to give it up go in the house and call the person who services my driveway.  I dark maroon pick up truck went by and then backed up.  It contained a young man and a woman.  The young man shoveled and pushed with me at the wheel.  He was successful.  The young woman was concerned and wanted to help me into the house.  I do not know who these kind people were, but I greatly thank them for their help and concern.  I hope they get this thank you."-- Roberta A. Camacho

 
"Mark: It is not my style to respond to situations by way of letter or editorial however I realize after Tuesdays Board of Selectman Meeting, this will be the best platform for me to issue  a response.  I want it to be perfectly understood that this is not a rebuttal but a method for me to offer my thoughts as a Selectman that I was unable to present Tuesday night. After a  disappointing and misleading statement voiced by both Superintendent Rizzi and Member Sovinee at the beginning of the meeting the agenda moved forward to our regularly  scheduled agenda.  Upon completion of the agenda the Board  agreed to review the School Budget adjustment. In the absence of School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn, Vice Chairman Alan Mills was recognized to address the Board of Selectman representing the Superintendent of Schools and the Stoughton School Committee. During his statement  he chastised the Vice Chair of the Board of Selectman Cynthia Walsh who is a 30 year veteran and retired  teacher of the Stoughton School System,the Town Manager and me also a former member of the School Committee.  I had served with Mr. Mills on the Stoughton School Committee and I witnessed a side of Alan that I had never seen previously.  After his dissertation I had attempted to ask some questions and make a statement but was unable  due to his repeated vocal tirade interupting and challenging anything I said. Rather than request of the Vice Chair of the Board of Selectman to make a ruling against his  action and realizing it would be fruitless to enter into a verbal argument, I remained silent.  This was done by me as an act of kindness and consideration and not of weakness. It was my considered opinion not to inflame his tirade.  Let me now offer some of my thoughts that I could not render at the meeting. We live in a challenging time,  Federal debt is 14 Trillion dollars and climbing,  State Budget has not been finalized and we expect State Aid to be down by $1 million.  Revenues to the town are anticipated to be less.  No one, Board of Selectmen, School Committee, or Finance Committee  are oblivious to these facts as we all share the same information.  One only needs to drive by gas stations which post over $3.00 per gallon on their signs.  This increased cost affect homeowner budgets as well.  When we purchase gasoline, our household budgets are affected.  In each family only a certain amount of funds are available. Thus it is with the Town of Stoughton with increased costs and reduced revenue. The issue at hand is funding.  It is not targeting the Schools, it is a question as to how much money is available for all Town departments which include the School Dept and how we maintain services for all 27,000 residents of the town both young and elderly. At a recent Selectman Association meeting I attended a presentation offered by Town Manager Jim Malloy of Westborough that was intended to assist Selectmen in budgeting. The title was Performing Budget Triage , Strategies for FY11 and Beyond.  I found it satisfying to know that Town Manager Crimmins,  on his own, was already  employing many  of the best practices presented.  One of the most significant is the creation, as recommended,  of developing a finance team consisting of the Assessor, Treasurer/Collector and Town Auditor for the purpose of preparing the actual  balanced budget and on-going and continual review.  Further it was stated in the presentation that the Town Manager's role to is understand everyone's role by working with all department heads including the School Department  and develop a balanced budget based on the community's priorities.  These meeting have been  on going for months  with all groups on alternating Thursday mornings. As part of a dept. head meeting it was requested of each department to reduce their budget by 5%  All but the School Dept. complied and as stated by Supt. Rizzi the School Department returned with a budget incorporating  a 4.56 % increase.  One wonders how with the constraints of Prop 2 1/2,  this can be accomplished. So to accomplish the task at hand, we need to find additional sources of revenue. Suggestions would  include  decreasing  health insurance costs through collective bargaining with the school and municipal unions.  Seek all  available grants.  Reduce our borrowing so debt payments go down and seek new and meaningful development that will increase our tax base. Mr. Mills kept repeating that the budget process has not changed in 40 years and should not be altered.  One final thought from the afore mentioned Triage and I quote, financial crisis provides an opportunity to innovate and make positive changes that may be more difficult to implement during better economic times.  40 years of past practices is not a best practice!!!!!"--John D, Anderson  Stoughton  Board of Selectman (Past Member Stoughton School Committee)

"hi  I am shirley maltzman    we met several times here and there for different things.................now I want you to know about our little club(about 14-15 knitters}   we have made hats for the soldiers to wear under their helmuts...............red and white scarves for the special olympics(lots and lots}   afgans for the homeless children  which they get to keep when they leave   (absolutely beautiful}  mittens  mittens and more mittens for the children   and  now bertucci rest found about us so we have been invited to lunch their treat we shall be treated like queens(sorry, no men. but they are welcome}   should call ruth lappen in stoughton and she will speak to you and maybe she would be willing to come and talk to you...........Mark  I am jordans' grandmother and we have met////I also placed a little article in the penny saver as it will be 3 years and jordan will be 22  I have been very sad since then but I keep trucking    iff you get a chance read it on the 19th of jan issue.you are a good guy   oh just a note...............besides  walgreeens has given us prizes as well as bertuccis' invite and cvs has given us lots of prizes for our weekly drawing..............also olive garden have done the same.............we donate all our time and yarn on our own........sometimes people give us some.........we are a loving and giving group...............just thought I would give you some new  nfo........................shirley e maltzman representing the knollsbrook knitters in stoughton     ps  I also kn ow  shirley farber bob the wonderful selectman  wish he still was."

"Hi Mark, Thanks for posting prior item (re: legal opinion).  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 about 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

"Mark: I see that Jerry Cibley recently wrote to you describing you as his 'media friend' and requested of you, 'let me know your thoughts'. In those constructive regards, I would like to perhaps be a bit more complete as to my understanding of the surrounding facts and hopefully bring your readers to a more comprehensive point in understanding also for the purpose of protecting and hopefully preventing accidents and saving lives. Jordan Cibley died on May 13, 2007 a result of crashing the car he was driving into a tree at a time he was not wearing a seat belt and his blood levels contained a substance contained in a commonly prescribed medication at an elevated level for an 18 year old child. It is an unconfirmed and unsubstantiated theory of his father, Jerold Cibley, that Jordan died a result of the use of a cell phone while talking to his dad. His dad was not in the car with him at the time of the accident so he really does not know. It was a fact that the police reported that upon their arrival at the accident scene, the seat belt was not activated and the subsequent blood tests are what they are.I fully appreciate the dangers of distracted driving but to be complete and to the extent that Jordan's accident perhaps may have more purpose, I wish to remind parents and drivers that 1. do not telephone or text your child when you are fully aware they are operating a motor vehicle and could be distracted, 2. it is the law to always wear a seat belt when in a moving automobile, 3. be aware and respectful of notices and warnings on prescribed drugs and medications, 4. do not operate a motor vehicle while taking drugs or medications that could impair judgment and 5. and perhaps most importantly, not every child at the chronological age of 18 is necessarily matured to the point of being a responsible driver.I am Jordan's step father and I am married to Jordan's biological mother, Donna."--Kenneth L. Kaplan

"Hi Mark: I caught your posting about the School Department budget and references to the town charter, so I wanted to put together some information for those who may not be familiar with the town charter.  Folks should bear in mind that, as budgets have tightened over recent years, the School Department and School Committee have consistently come before Town Meeting having prepared a budget like the one adopted in December (an aspirational budget), but they have also given Town Meeting lists of how programs and positions would be affected at various funding levels.  This has been very helpful and a good, cooperative process.  Based on comments I heard by the Superintendent of Schools at a public meeting last week, it is my understanding that the School Committee’s budget as voted in December was a start along this path. It would appear that this message has not been heard in Town Hall, but the forthcoming meeting among with school, municipal and FinCom officials should solve that problem. Under Article 5, section 2 of the Town Charter, the responsibility of the School Committee is to “submit the school department budget to the Town Manager on or before the thirty-first day of December for inclusion in the annual town government budget.”  The Town Charter does not give authority to amend or alter the budget as submitted by the School Committee to any other town officials --  except for the vote of Town Meeting.  Under Article 7 of the Charter, the Finance Committee is required to prepare a budget report in a format that allows space for their own and the Selectmen’s recommendations.  We should expect that this how recommendations for the School Department budget should be presented from either FinCom or the Selectmen, according to how they vote, so that they reach Town Meeting properly under Articles 4, 5 and 7 of the Town Charter.  Such recommendations would no doubt be helpful.  But it would be unfortunate if the actual budget requests for the School Department are not presented in the Warrant exactly as voted by the School Committee. It is very important to bear in mind that, after basic public safety, there is no more important piece of town government to the short- and long-term health of Stoughton than the public school system.  One needs only to compare Stoughton against communities with more and less healthy school systems to see how excellent schools affect the quality of life for our children, public safety, overall quality of life in the town, business location and expansion, and assets for retirement derived from higher property values in towns with  better schools.   We have seen cooperation between the School Department and Town Hall in balancing respective needs as well.  One clear example is the town planner position, which had support from the School Committee although the position is on the municipal side of the budget.  During the discussion on the floor of Town Meeting, the School Committee was asked if it supported the position even though the cost would need to be paid, in part, with a reduction of funds for the school budget.  Their response was the town planner is key to the future economic development of the Town, and that means the schools.  None of this sort of adjustment was reflected either in the budget submitted by the then-town manager or the School Committee.  These are concepts I hope we keep in mind. Thank you."--Bob O’Regan, Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 1

"Hey Mark, Wanted to wish you a Happy and Health New Year. I also wanted take a moment to reflect and express my gratitude to the Board of Selectman. I feel this current board and some may disagree are doing a great job. These are the individuals who set the vision for what they want the Town of Stoughton to become now, and in the future. They have some major issues to deal with in this upcoming year. Southcoast Community rail, budget constraints, union contract, there are too many to list. Let me make this abundantly clear I don’t agree with every decision they make and when I can I let them know that whether that’s by a vote or a simple conversation. But I think each issue is discussed and when they make a decision they make it for the Town of Stoughton, rather than a select group of individuals. Let me remind the residents that their job is a volunteer position. They don’t get paid for the countless hours they put in, and some may even work more hours at their Selectman position then their full time jobs. They sacrifice family, friends, and money for the benefit of the Town, I just think this gets lost in the shuffle when we start to get into the individual issues. As we begin this new year I would recommend to all the residents to get involved, let your voice be heard. Volunteer on a board, help out at the schools, or contribute to a cause for the Town when you can. As always if you feel the towns not going in the direction you want get out and vote, or to quote you Mark, if you don’t vote I don’t want to hear you complain, get involved it’s your town. To all the resident of Stoughton may this be the best year yet! And to the Selectman thanks for all of your hard work." --Name Withheld Upon Request

"We all know what the "B" stands for! The first half of the word is  bull____. Anyone with a scintilla of Common Sense should be equipped mentally to fill out the last four letters! Just how much leeway  should the law endow to these out-of-state developers to dump on towns like Stoughton? Why not just take that final step and raffle off the town to the highest bidder!
The Westbridge 40B development is a case in point. The name itself  seems innocuous and so very, very British. That's probably why a scam promotion by a Florida builder chose the same name for its successor corporation after declaring bankruptcy and walking away with millions in deposits by prospective homeowners. What protection does the public 
have against unbridled greed and thievery? Apparently very little. And the politicians who sidle up to this chicanery just as long as it's not in their back yard...and they know who they are.
Back in the early 1980's Stoughton selected five individuals to serve as Directors of the Stoughton Industrial Development Financing Agency.  I was one of them. These five Directors remained involved throughout the life of the program. They never harmed the citizenry of Stoughton; they managed to enhance their daily lives. It has reached a point where people generally have given up hope of being heard because many of those in charge just aren't listening."-- R. Warren Ross

"Hi Mark- As requested, here is the draft audit report that was presented the other night at the Finance Committee mtg.  There are a couple of additions/changes that will be included in the final report that we are hoping to have next week.  At that point, we will be posting the entire report and the appendices on our page of the Town's website.
We are hoping that the Selectmen and School Committee will use the report to strengthen their own organization and the town as a whole.  The report also helps create a common dialog on projects that they can work on together in the future and if they need any of our support come to us for discussion - but we are hoping that the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee take the lead.. As requested by Steve Anastos, the Finance Committee will be putting together a list of recommendations to give to the Board of Selectmen.
Thank you."--Holly Boykin, Chair, Finance Committee  

"Mark, I take back my previous letter regarding the finance comm. I just watchd the finance comm. meeting regarding their audit of the town. With a background of over 40 years of accounting in both private and publc accounting, I can not believe what I am hearing about the town finances. Not keeping payroll records, unbelievable. I will say thank you to Holly for the audit. Looking forward to see the report on line."--Leo E. Mellyn

"Hi Mark, I am hearing that the there is a motion before the selectmen to stop all town services (i.e. snow plowing, trash pickup etc.) on unaccepted town roads in town. Is there any truth to this? I would have to think that there would be serious health and safety issues that would expose the town to legal action by many residents.What the town seems to forget is that many of these roads were never meant to be private/unaccepted. They ended up that way because the town let scumbag developers do what they wanted with little or no oversight. We live in Ledgebrook Estates and are now on our second developer (and I use that term lightly). The town agreed to not release any lots to the developer until the roads and infrastructure were completed, but then released lot after lot in backroom deals (never informing the residents) until there is nothing left to hold AND our roads and pump station are unaccepted. There are people who live in our neighborhood who have lived here for almost 20 years like this. All the while the town is sitting on bonds that could be pulled to complete the roads and get them accepted. I would be interested in finding out what the truth is.Thanks."--Brian McGivern

(Brian---Selectmen have assured me that they will NOT stop offering services that are currently offered to taxpayers on private ways. If they were going to do such a thing, private hearings would need to be held. And, if money were involved, Town Meeting would also have to vote on it.---Mark)

"Hi Mark, Remember not too long ago the Town of Stoughton cracked down on all of us who did not license our dogs?  The Stoughton Journal wrote a whole article about it and you mentioned it in your column.  Well, I decided that for 2011 I was not going to put it off and pay another fine.  I called the town on Thursday December 9, 2010 and asked if I could license my dog for 2011.  I was told that I had to wait until Monday, December 13, 2010. I just went to the town hall on Tuesday December 14, waited 18 PRECIOUS minutes in line, only to be told that they are not accepting dog license applications and payments until Monday, December 20, 2010.  REALLY?  With the big production made last year to get people to license their dogs they have no procedures in place to take the applications and money a few weeks in advance? Why would they not take my money?  I was there ready to pay and I am told I have to come back.  How about a deduction for wasting my time? Does this make sense to you? Thanks."--Bernadette Richards
(Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney responds, "Our bylaws are very specific. We need to print out the final list for the year. The licensing period is from January-April, but we try to start early. I'm not sure who gave her the wrong information. But, she was given the bylaws, as was everyone we licensed last year. We know some people go out for state for awhile. We gave everyone a copy of the bylaws, and we highlighted all the forms. The dog licenses expire on December 31, 2010. There's a four month licensing period. May 1st, 2011, there'd be a penalty.")

"Mark: I just caught up on my reading and was reviewing your 9 questions to Steve Anastas article. I was surprised to hear about the  plaque made honoring the Selectmen that have served the Town. I think that was a nice gesture by the Town. A lot of personal time has been given by these people in the name of service to the Town. I am a bit disappointed to have read about it after the fact and would actually enjoyed attending. Over the years my family has been involved in Town Government. You and I served on the Finance Committee together as well as Town Meeting and my Great Uncle Fred Pye was Fire Chief years ago but my main disappointment comes with feeling slighted a call or card could have been mailed to me about the plaque, or even a quick phone call as my father and grandfather were past Selectmen. I know my Uncle Larry put together a Family reunion this year as he is the last surviving Son of Edward C Lindelof, a Selectman and business owner from the old days. Our family is one of the 100 year families in the town. But like everything else some things are easily forgotten and that is unfortunate. I certainly wish Steve and the current board well as they are doing what they feel is best for the Town to keep moving forward and my best to Frank Crimmins, another Town knowledgeable guy with deep roots here."-- Jim Lindelof


"Hey Mark,  Hope all is well! Wondering if you could do us a favor and publish the event for the SHS athletic fundraiser,    A fundraising event for Stoughton HS Athletics will be held February 5, 2011 at the Portugese National Club from 6pm-11pm located on 38 Wyman St. in Stoughton. The event will consist of food,raffles, silent auctions, 50/50 and the band "THE STANDARDS" will be performing featuring Jack Raeke whom many of you know within the town. Tickets are $20 each and are on a first come first serve basis as tickets are limited due to capacity. Tickets can be purchased or monetary/gift donations of any kind can be made by contacting Bob Evangelista @ 781-297-3754 or mail monetary donations by check made payable to Stoughton High School Athletics to 30 Central Dr. Stoughton, Ma 02072. Like many towns in addition to Stoughton, because of the lack of state funding many towns are struggling to maintain their Athletic Departments at the High School level and are becoming dependant on local groups to assist in maintaining and making each sport self sufficient.  This fundraiser is being established to raise monies associated in reinstating three assistant coaching positions(Football,Softball, Baseball) that were going to be cut due to budgetary constraints. Those positions have since been reinstated and now need to be funded.  Whether you have a child that attends Stoughton HS or not it is important as a vested resident(s) of this town to support all the extracurricular activities the High School has to offer  and not just sports. If we don't maintain our school systems we will all will be impacted negatively eventually in one way or another. I appreciate your support in advance."--Bob Evangelista

"Dear Mark: I would appreciate it if I could use your forum to announce that I will not be running for the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority in 2011.  The little path in the woods that I walked many years ago has been developed into the Metro South Commerce Center, the largest tax revenue source in Stoughton.  Mission accomplished.  There is much more that the SRA can do and there are good people that can help to accomplish those projects.  I thank all for their support and assistance over the years."--Roberta A. Camacho, Ph.D., Vice Chairman, SRA 

"Hi Mark: I want to thank everyone who attended the “Friends of Phil” event on Sunday at the high school in my honor. It meant a great deal to me to spend an afternoon with so many friends, family members and former colleagues. I especially want to thank my niece, Teri Mangiaratti, Joni and Chuck Bloom, and the other members of the committee for all the hard work and many hours that they spent planning the event. Special thanks to magician Pete Haddad and hypnotist Jim Spinnato, whose performances I am still getting calls about. Also thanks to the many people, including you, who donated such terrific raffle prizes or who sent something because they could not attend. It is difficult to put into words how much the day meant to me. Along with the cards, letters, e-mails and Facebook messages I have received since my injury, Sunday's benefit made me smile and reminisce on my career. It was very heartwarming to be in the company of so many people who were there for many reasons. I have very fond memories of Stoughton and I am lucky to have worked at the high school my entire career. Stoughton is a special town, and it will always occupy a special place in my heart. Again, thank you to all those who took the time to attend on Sunday, it was great seeing you all there. Fondly."--Phil Iacobacci

"Dear Mark,  It is that time of year again.  The Stoughton Firefighters along with the Harry Landman Committee will be collecting names of service men and women from Stoughton so they can receive a Christmas care package on behalf of all Stoughton Residents thanking them for their service and sacrifice.  The package includes cookies, candy, toiletries, books, magazines and DVD’s.  The only requirement is that the serviceperson is from Stoughton.  Please forward any names to either FF Jim Rush or FF Jim Brackett in writing to 30 Freeman Street no later than Friday December 3.  Also, anyone wishing to donate  DVD’s which are in good condition can do so at 30 Freeman Street also.  DVD’s are the biggest request and we will gladly forward them on to the soldiers.  Thank you for your continued support."--Fire Fighter Jim Rush

"Hi All: Sorry for the abundance of messages but I have some great news for everyone! I have recently been informed that Mr. Iacobacci WILL be attending the event and is looking forward to seeing as many former students, and their families as possible!! I really hope everyone can make in it to say hello, it will mean the world to him!
ALSO... From what I have heard some of the Stoughton Alumni who are now in college do not plan to attend the event because of financial issues. We know that seeing former students will mean everything to Mr. Iacobacci so the fundraising committee is willing to help! They would like to offer tickets to college students for half price! That’s only $10.00 a ticket! BUT you MUST still buy your tickets in advance by mailing a check to Stoughton High School by November 20, 2010. If you don’t have a check book we recommend you ask a parent to help you out! Tickets must be bought in advance for the show! Checks can be mailed to: Friends of Phil Iacobacci, c/o Stoughton High School, 232 Pearl Street, Stoughton, Ma 02072. Also please remember to include your name with the check so we can put you on a guest list for the day of the show. Your ticket will be at the front door for you when you arrive. If you do plan to do this, please let me know, that way I can get started on the guest list! Thanks again everyone for all of your support and generosity. Hope this idea will help get more former students at the show! It truly will be helpful to Mr. Iacobacci to see everyone coming together to support him! Let me know if anyone has any other questions!"-- -Kim Gada

"Hello Mr. Snyder. I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a piece on the Saint James Parish Hunger Drive. For the past fifteen years, the church youth group has gathered food from the town and have passed it on to food organizations for families in need. Every year ends with a successful and plentiful donation. If you would like to come down and take a look, the event takes place at the church, 560 Page St, from 9am until late afternoon. I suggest coming early so you will be able to witness the incredible efforts from both the parish and the town community. I personally think it would be great publicity. Thanks a lot."-- Adam Kenney.

"Mark:While I understand the need to protect our young people from bad influences and surround them with positive role models, firing Robert Gelly is simply ridiculous. The man is not a bad influence. I grew up with Robert and want to publicly praise him for taking time out of his life to coach Stoughton football, particularly in these trying economic times where everyone worries about job security and paying bills. Bob has been passionate about Stoughton football ever since he was a child. A 10 year old DUI with no conviction is hardly a reason to punish him, especially when he has been coaching for over two years. Saying that she didn't have actual knowledge is nonsense, if she didn't know it until now, then she should have known it. She waived her right to object a long time ago. We all make mistakes, even Dr. Rizzi, Firing Robert Gelly is a fine example of a mistake that can be reversed and foregiven, simply be reinstating him to his old position. Do the right thing Dr. Rizzi, reverse your decision."--  Michael L. Georges, Esquire 

"Dear Mark: I just wanted to thank those who worked hard to get Fire Station #2 up and running.  I believe the one constant in this entire project was Fire Chief David Jardin who has worked tirelessly to make this happen.  His determination, leadership, and work ethic do not go unnoticed by this taxpayer.  Thanks to all and Chief Jardin.  This is yet another reason why I  live in Stoughton, MA. Regards."--Joseph Baeta

"Dear Mr. Snyder-I am the grandparent of 3 children who attend Stoughton schools and also a former teacher so I watched with interest last night the School Committee meeting.  I wanted to hear specific examples from the Teacher's Association of what has occurred in the past 2 years to warrant their action of "No Confidence" for the Superintendent. I heard nothing except for the fact that the Superintendent was supposedly dishonest about how grievances were dismissed and that there were 10 filed over the past 2 years, that the MCAS scores of the students was the result of the hard work by the teachers and not Dr. Rizzi and that this had nothing due to with contract negotiations. My age may be getting to me but can we take a step back for a minute and discuss the "No Confidence" vote.  If only 1/3 of the Teacher's Association voted for the "No Confidence" vote and 2/3 of the members took no action then how can the vote be legitimate - it seems more to be a bullying tactic by a select group not getting their way. As a former teacher, I also worked very hard and did not have the pay, benefits and other advantages that teachers of today have but I did it because I chose to educate the youth and knew going in that it would not make me a millionaire.  Awhile ago, you listed the salaries of the school teachers and I was shocked to see the amounts some of them are making for 9 months work.  I mean listening to my grandchildren and working on various homework topics with them - I think some teachers may need a good kick in the pants.
As a teacher, I know that it is difficult to call attention to these matters but I still don't get the reason why they Teacher's Association took such a step - so they are being hassled and don't love their boss - I think that is no different than most people who are employed for someone else. Most of the teachers I hear are very good but what the Association's leadership and a group of self-interested teachers have done in the past week is horrible and I still do not know the real reason why.  If I were part of the 2/3 who did not vote, I would give a vote of "No Confidence" in the leadership of the Association and have them step down."--John Roberts, Former teacher for 33 years. Grandparent to 3 wonderful children

"Mark –Thanks for your support regarding my “mission” to help reduce the number of fatalities through distracted driving . I am somewhat bewildered why the piece regarding the implementation of this new legislation would be important enough to be picked up by AP, Reuters, Boston Globe, Boston Herald,  WAAF interview, WBUR interview, WATD interview, NECN, WJAR interview ----- BUT not one Stoughton local paper.Given that Jordan was a Stoughton resident for nearly all of his life, I would think that the local media might have had an interest in following the story.  Since you are my friend in the media, I thought you might offer a glimpse into this strange but true situation. Let me know your thoughts?"--Jerry Cibley

"Mark: I am sure you got the notice about Ketamine from a press release, but I wanted to inform you that Ketamine is not a hallucinogen.  The category that Ketamine falls under is dissociative anesthetic.  While it does mimic the effects of PCP (also a dissociative anesthetic), it does not typically make you hallucinate.  The effects of this horrible drug give one an increased pain threshold and will cause violent behavior."--John Bonney, (Stoughton Police Department)

"Dear Mark: Attached please find a *pdf file of a presentation to the Board of Selectmen on behalf of the Southcoast Rail Advisory Committee.  This group came to the conclusion that we should take action now to renew the downtown.  We also urged the Selectmen to make planning and implementing redevelopment of the downtown a priority for the Planning Board and the town departments.  One layout for the downtown that we worked with dates back to 1954 or so.  Many of the issues we confront now would not exist had this plan been followed, and many of us believe that the character of the downtown would be vastly improved.  The hope is to learn from the history.  We can accomplish this – if we can just get out of our own way. The Planning Board followed up at its meeting on September 30th, and it will be scheduling public hearings soon.  We will not succeed in bringing back life to the downtown if these meetings lead only to more meetings.   This concept study from the Southcoast Rail Advisory Committee is just a start.  Residents of the town need to participate and help the Selectmen to turn the elusive goal of a revitalized downtown into a reality.  Other communities have done it. I hope your readers will review these concepts and suggest ways to improve them during the public hearing process.  Town residents have many talents to bring to this process, some of which are evident in these concept plans.  They were drawn by architects Mark Joyce and James Barron who live in town and volunteered their time and talent.  The Town really needs the same kinds of contribution from residents who have different talents and skills so we can make the kind of improvements we all agree are needed.  If your readers have expertise in fields such as finance, design, real estate development and marketing, construction, or an area they know is necessary, please ask that they get involved to help make our town a better place to live and work in.  Thank you."--Bob O’Regan, Member, Planning Subcommittee, Southcoast Rail Advisory Committee, Town Meeting Rep. Pct. 1

"Mark, see if you can get a billboard, such has Sharon has on RT 27 just out of Cobbs Corner, where we can show the awards our schools have received. There must be some place where we can show  our school awards."--Leo E. Mellyn

"Mark-I wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your coverage of Governor Patrick's visit to our school.  We are particularly proud of our recent performance on MCAS and extraordinarily committed teachers that work with our middle school students each day.  Governor Patrick's visit helped shine a bright light on our school and the wonderful community of Stoughton. Keep up the good work."--David M. Guglia, Assistant Principal, O'Donnell Middle School

"Hi Mark, I would like to say thank you to all the wonderful hard working men and women who helped with my campaign for State Senate. The lessons learned while canvassing the Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth district were invaluable; I will be ever humble for the experience. It is my sincere hope that if nothing else, my candidacy, will serve as a catalyst toward political accountability.  “It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.”-- U.S. Supreme Court. With sincere and heartfelt thanks I remain respectfully yours."-- Richard Livingston.

 "Mark,  Just wanted to let you know that we found the owner of the bird.  Thanks so much for putting the photo up.  It played a role in reuniting them.  Dave thinks you may want to post a photo of the bird with the owner to show the happy ending.  Her name is Irene Faria. By the way the birds real name is Maxi (as in mmm, mmm, Maxi's deli)."--Robin Hall
 

"Hi Mark! Hope all is well!  As follow up to our quick chat at the gym, just wanted to give you some info regarding my upcoming walk that hopefully you could publicize.
On Sunday, September 26th at Hopkinton State Park there will be an annual Food Allergy Awareness walk. The organization is Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Network (FAAN) which not only provides life threatening food allergy awareness to the general public including schools and restaurants but also works with the medical community toward the research and ultimately cure for those with these life threatening food allergies. There is a walk conducted in every major city in the country last year raising over 1.9 million dollars toward this cause. The walk will be at the main beach area at Hopkinton State Park once again on Sunday, September 26,2010. Registration is at 9am and the actual 2.5 mile family/stroller friendly walk will begin at 10am. There will be many allergy friendly samples of food and various products in addition to a live entertainer singing songs about living with food allergies, a disk jockey, clowns, bouncy house and face painting. It is a very family friendly special day for everyone! Please let me know if you need additional information. Thank you so much for helping me publicize this very special and important event! Take care!"--Roberta Fishman

"I just had jury duty at Wrentham District Court. I arrived early and was able to count the unassigned parking places. They number only 43. If you have ever been to Stoughton District court on any given day that the court is in session, you will find that the parking lot is full, and there are cars parked on the lawn, on the driveway, and on Pearl Street. The Wrentham District Courts backs up to a residential neighborhood and fronts to East St, a busy through street. I have no idea where the people with court business are going to park. It took me over 30 minutes to get from Stoughton to Wrentham without traffic. Could you imagine the overtime for the police for court time, to say nothing of the time away from their job in Stoughton? How many officers do we have to hire in Stoughton, or how much overtime to we have to pay for the additional officers to cover for the trips to court? Like many of the thing that the state mandates, the money that it saves, gets shifted to an expense for the cities and towns.Regards."--Dick Power
 
 "Hi Mark. This morning I read the 'thank you' e-mail to you from Laura Mone regarding your support of the Sea Base Scouts' car wash fundraiser.  No one knows better than I how much your support means to not only our organization, but to all the different town organizations who continually volunteer to contribute to the betterment of both the young and the old. To those of us who have a limited budget to 'get the word out' about our fundraisers...you are a blessing.  I also want to let your readers know of the continued help Boy Scout Troop 516 has given to the seniors of our town.  Year after year, these wonderful scouts with the help of their Scout Leader, Mark Racicot and their parents give up their Friday after Thanksgiving vacation day to deliver a bucket of salt & sand mix for the icy walkways and driveways of Stoughton's senior citizens.  I ask all in the community to support Troop 516's fundraiser.  If you cannot make their Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, October 10th, please consider sending them a donation. Whether the donation is large or small, the amount doesn't matter.  The smallest amount can make the biggest difference.  As chairperson of Friends For Seniors Annual Charity Golf Tournament, I know this first hand.  Let's all get out and support Boy Scout Troop 516!  And again, Mark, thank you for your continued support."--Lorraine J. McCarthy, Secretary, Stoughton Friends For Seniors

"Hi Mark, Thank you for mentioning the Sea Base scouts' car wash fundraiser in your column.  It was a success.  Many people said that they saw it listed in Snyder's column. Our next community-wide fundraiser is our Pancake Breakfast on Oct. 10 from 8:30am to 12:30pm.  I have attached the petition letter which contains details about how to become a sponsor of the event.  The pancake breakfast benefits the scouts of troop 516, Stoughton who are attending Sea Base, a high-adventure aquatic experience in Florida this April.  The VFW post 1645 has graciously offered their hall to host the event.  Tickets are $5 each, children 3 and under are FREE and a family is capped at $20. It would be great to see that listed in your column as well.I was also wondering if you may have any free airtime on your local programming show.  Maybe some of our scouts and an adult representative can be featured in an interview preferably before our pancake breakfast.  Please let me know if you have any availability before Oct. 10. Thank you."--Laura Mone

"Mr. Jacobs, I have been in Stoughton for 51 years, I am a long time resident. What we need is for people to forget the past and to move on."--Leo Mellyn

"Mark, I would like to be amongst the first to congratulate Matt Colantonio on his promotion to Principal of Stoughton High School. I had the opportunity to get to know Matt when he coached my two youngest sons for the Stoughton High Wrestling team. I found Matt to be an extremely intelligent, high energy, confident and knowledgeable coach, who had an ability to reach each of his student athletes at whatever level was necessary for them to achieve to their highest potential. Matt brought a once stagnant Stoughton High Wrestling program to a high level of achievement in a very short time, sending several of his student athletes to the state tournament each season. I was further fortunate in that my two youngest sons had Matt as an English teacher during their time at Stoughton High School. Matt brought the talents which were so evident in his handling of the student athletes on the wrestling team, to the class room as well. Without doubt, he was able to get the most out of his classroom students, just as had he had done with his student athletes.  Of all the Stoughton School Department teachers, coaches, administrators and staff, and there were far too many to count, who had a profound influence in shaping the young lives of my children, and who were in large part responsible for them becoming the successful young adults they are today, I hold Matt at the top of the list.  Congratulations Matt. Good luck. I have no doubt you will do a great job. Stoughton High is lucky to have you."-- Norm Wortzman

"Mark, First I must say that I have enjoyed working for the town over the last year and a half and have had the pleasure of working with dedicated and professional staff as well as devoted volunteers. Many people may not realize how hard people in Town Hall and on Town Boards work to better this community. Some of the issues that will face a new town planner will be the continuation of the South Coast Rail Project, a new technical assistance project examining the downtown commercial and residential market, the recodification of the zoning bylaw, and moving forward on a town master plan.  It is also my hope that the position will be solidified in its expectations and role that it plays inside town hall.  With the vacancy and decision not to fill the Assistant Town Engineer position, the planner is needed to fill a void in the engineering department through the administration of applications to the Planning Board for subdivision and site plan review. My decision to leave Stoughton has not been easy, but in the end, employment security now and into the future for my family was the leading factor in my leaving for Weston. I am leaving Stoughton with experiences that I am grateful to have acquired and hope that the town moved forward in a positive direction."--Joe Laydon

"Hello Mr. Snyder: I also watched the July 15th Finance Committee meeting and I completely disagree with Mr. Mellyn's interpretation of Ms. Boykin taking over the town. If Mr. Mellyn has been a long time resident then he would know that the Town Manager and Board of Selectman need to be watched and questioned. I don't think she could do any worse than the current TM or Selectman - I mean we have no permanent building inspector, no negotiated contracts, the Police Department is down several officers, Steve Anastos is up for re-election and too scared to vote for the changes to water and sewer rates or come to the Memorial Day events, legal problems with Fire Station 2, our most recent saga with another Police officer acting just plain stupid and that's just what I know from reading newspapers and watching meetings."-- Paul Jacobs 

"Mark, what is going on with the Fincom wanting to take over the functions of the Town Manager and the Board of Selectmen.?? I just watched the rerun of the 7/15/10 Fincom meeting it seems that Holly Boykin wants to run the town."-- Leo E. Mellyn

"Mr Snyder. Can you print this open letter to Stoughton High principal Brett Dickens? I have signed below, but for the sake of my child, please withhold my name: "While I am aware (much to my dismay) that your entire guidance staff has taken the summer off, I, as well as many other high school parents of upset frustrated SHS students, find it unconscienable that nothing has been done to address the full schedule mess that virtually every student in your school is facing! Almost every student has an incorrect schedule for this coming year! Entire core classes are missing. Electives that weren't requested were assigned. Per instructions of the hapless secretary, forms were filled out weeks ago requesting that blatant errors be corrected. When do you plan to address this problem that we were told occurred because the schedules were 'hurried'? How can we have any confidence that there will be enough staff and time to properly address this serious situation, if you allow it to fester throughout the summer? I predict chaos! (I urge other parents to call the high school, call the superintendent of schools, and DEMAND that action be taken NOW)." (Name Confirmed and Withheld Upon Request)

"Mark, I read with great interest the potential of Stoughton District Court being one of the District Courts on the list for closures due to budget restraints.  Understandably, there is limited funds, however, the flip side of the coin toss here is grave. At present, the parking for court business is entirely inadequate.  Imagine the number of persons waiting in and out of such an facility.  Already overburdened, with a potential for more court time with less personnel, limited space inside and out.  Sounds like another great plan by our state government.  There is an election coming up, primary September 14th.  Make you voice heard."--Dori Frankel

"Hi Mark,  Just wanted to give congratulations to all who had anything to do with this year's events at the Fireworks.  It was spectacular this year.  The 35 minutes of fireworks were the best ever.  Also, a  big thank you to Ikea for their part."--Marie Jardin

"Mark: july 4th,my son and  i went to pages as we do 3 or 4 times a week. my son purchased a lb. of "fresh scallops" for us.back home,i got to them with just two left.ate i quickly,then realized something was not right.smelled the last one,and said oh oh bad.and were they.both of us all night,sick as dogs.next day,still sick,called asked to speak to someone in charge.the guy who answered said he was. told him what happened and said he should check any they had left.he says ok and hangs up. i called right back and said at least you could have offered my sons money back.he said we would have to talk to the owner the next day.well for ten bucks they can stick it.they just lost a customer of over twenty yrs. wanted to let you know about it    thank you"--   rick bulman

"Mark: I hate to promote the hatefest known as The Local News, but I had to write. On this week's show, Jack Dembrowsky referred to the Veteran's Agent as a "carpetbagger", and others referred to the Memorial Square Committee as a bunch of "fools" and "buzzards." They were upset because the Memorial Square Committee had rejected the application of their friend, Dr. Golden, for a memorial square, based on the policy in place. The selectmen chose at their meeting not to override the committee's decision. A few years ago, the Board of Selectmen approved a list of qualifications for memorial squares, to eliminate 'who you know' type of selection for the honor. The Selectmen have the power to override the Memorial Square Committee's decisions. Mr. Pazyra is the hardest working veteran's agent I've seen, in my many decades in this town. And, the Memorial Square Committee members are the farthest thing from "fools." The Committee consists of: Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh, a lifelong resident who has missed one selectmen's meeting in 34 years; Mike Beaudette, a two-time AMVETS Commander and Veterans Graves Officer; Charlie Large, a WW II Veteran, survivor of Kamikaze attacks on the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, and someone involved in town veteran issues over 50 years; Ed Carroll, a Vietnam Veteran and former Stoughton Fire Chief; Paul Flynn, a Vietnam Veteran awarded a Purple Heart and former Veterans Services Officer for the Town of Stoughton; Jim Kelly, retired Sgt. Major of the Army, who served under General Petraeus training the Sgt. Major of the Iraqi Army; and Michael Pazyra, current Veteran Services Officer, and a former member of the 8th & I Marine Corps Ceremonial Platoon. Who are the fools?"--(Identity Confirmed and Name Withheld Upon Request)

"Dear Mark: I would like to remind the taxpayers that during the past two fiscal years the Town has slashed the COA, public Library, not hired safety officers- police and fire, but had plenty of money to give into the politics of useless positions such as an $80,000 per year Town Planner and an $80,000 per year Human Resource Director (not including any benefits- vacation, medical coverage etc.).  Now my friends on FinCom voted 11-1 (and many I do consider friends) to spend $40,000 on a report that whatever the finding they can not utilized as part of any collective bargaining action with any of the unions.  Most importantly they are comparing salaries and benefits that come from two very different parts of the workforce. Imagine in two years $160,000 $200,000+ and yet the BOS are complaining about not having money.  There's $200,000 they could have used or better yet there is $200,000 that wasn't split 68 percent (schools)/32percent (town) because the school department has cut over $2million during that same time...things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm! 
Priorities is what is needed not debates about the schools versus the town or yet another report. This is one guy who will vote for people who see and plan for the future and not people who see the now."--Joseph F. Baeta
 
"Mark: As you are aware, there presently exists a vacancy on the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority ("SRA"), that is scheduled to be filled at a joint meeting between the SRA and the Board of Selectmen to be held at the Selectmen's meeting next Tuesday, July 6. The SRA and the Selectmen have recently extended the deadline for applications/letters of interest until next Monday, June 28th at 4:30 p.m. Letters of interest and resumes may be submitted to the Selectmen's office at the Town Hall, or by email to the Town Manager at twnmgr@stoughton-ma.gov. The ad for the extended deadline appears in today's Pennysaver, but I was hoping you might also be able to share this with your readers. The appointment will be for a term to expire with the 2011 annual town election, at which time candidates can run for the two-year unexpired term. Thank you Mark for your assistance in helping to spread the word about this vacancy."--Barry R. Crimmins, Chairman, Stoughton Redevelopment Authority

"Mark Snyder:  Hello my name is kristin, my Dad Jim Schilling works at Ahavath Torah Temple. Thank you for helping us out. There will be a Brockton Rox game on Friday, June 18th vs the Worcester Tornadoes at 7:05 pm. The tickets will be $10 each and half of the profits of the tickets I sell go towards my expenses, which is $2,000 in order to participate in the JettRide. Elizabeth and I will be throwing out the first pitch of the game. There will also be items raffled off that evening.I will be biking along side my bestfriend Elizabeth Chauppetta who's 14 year old twin brothers Troy and Andrew suffer from Duchenne MD, we've decided to embark on this grueling journey leaving from California on June 24th and arriving in New Jersey on August 28th, approximately 3,700 miles. We will ride with several other 13-20 year old who all have a connection to this debilitating disease, spreading the word throughout the country.  Tickets can be purchased by reaching me, Kristin Schilling  at 781-424-0850 or xoschilling14@aim.com Elizabeth and I thank you so much for all of your effort and help. Sincerely, Kristin"--Kristin Schilling

"Hello Mark: My town sends out the paperwork for the dogs with the 1st  tax bill in the spring . I  fill out the form send my 10 bucks and they mail me the license."--Peter Bishop

"Loved your “My dog was an outlaw” column and I still love “I fought the law and the law won,” though you don’t hear it much even on the Oldies stations. Thanks for that. I am a dog lover."--Pamela Getz

"Good Morning: I had a meeting with the FEMA Community Relations Specialist on Friday June 4, 2010 and as they near the 60th day, and Stoughton is well into recovery. Community Relations'efforts focused on homeowners, renters,businesses and non-profit agencies affected by the severe storms & flooding (March 12 to April 26, 2010) resulting in a Presidential declaration, DR 1895-MA on March 29, 2010. FEMA totals of assistance to Stoughton Residents - 485 registrations Totaling $ 809,170.00 distibuted as of May 28, 2010 . Individuals with questions or issues concerning their FEMA application should be directed to the FEMA Hotline: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Thank You."--David M. Jardin, Fire Chief/EMD

"Hi Mark. A tiny, innocent Stoughton resident needs your help to publicize urgent information. People who regularly drive past Harris Pond, (off Central), will notice that one of the baby swans/cygnets is injured and lame. I contacted N E Wildlife Center who gave me the following advice: 'Monitor the cygnet but do not intervene until the cygnet appears to be declining at which time it will need to be rehabilitated.' I also notified Animal Control and passed on this information from the Wildlife Center. Neither Lloyds nor New England Animal Hospital, in West Bridgewater, has a vet who is licensed to treat wildlife. Therefore, if anyone notices that the little guy is 'declining' or in distress, please notify New England Wildlife Center, as soon as possible, at 781 682 4878. Please do not assume that someone else will call. This special family has made its home in Stoughton.  I know that sometimes we have to let Mother Nature take her course, but we don't have to stand back and let it happen, unnecessarily, if we can help.  Thanks Mark."-- Mary Dennett

"Dear Mark: Kudos to the Conservation Day at Bird Street conservation area! So many people put so much thought and energy into a wonderful event. There were displays on Stoughton history, recycling, wildlife, natural history; jewelry for sale, free lunch, and many great activities from walks through the land to wildlife demonstrations and finally, a fascinating demonstration of how the Stoughton Police use their canine unit. It was a wonderful day that our town should be proud of!"--Deborah Sovinee

"Mark: Now that you got me exploded on national scene (yuck!), I would like to alert your readers to two upcoming and important School Committee events: 1) On May 25, 2010 at 7:15 PM, the School Committee will hold a public hearing on the FY11 School Budget. This is a retake of the original hearing held on April 27, 2010 as it was not properly posted. I was disappointed only two citizens appeared for the original hearing. Now that we have a second chance, I urge all interested parties to come to the hearing and be heard (or forever hold their peace). 2) On May 26, 2010, Stoughton School Committee will be honored to hear Mr. Glen Koocher (Executive Director of Massachusetts Association of School Committees) talk about "New Member Orientation" starting at 6:15 p.m., and "School Committee Updates" starting at 7:00 p.m. Glen is an excellent insightful speaker and also is a 12 year veteran of the Cambridge School Committee."--Dr. Erdem Ural, Member, Stoughton School Committee

"Mark: Brass War Plaque-We of Stoughton honor our war dead on Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and Independance Day.  Why doesn't anyone clean up the  Stoughton Town Hall 6' square brass war plaque honoring the Stoughton war dead from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, W W I, and W W II?  This plaque is in deplorable condition.  There must be someone out there who can figure out how to clean this up!  How about the town's chemistry or physics class? How about someone getting on the internet?  In the year 2010 there must be some way to clean off this once beatiful plaque honoring Stoughton's war dead from these four wars.  Thank you."--Barry R. Stewart

"Mr. Snyder: I am so sick of people blaming the Town Manager, School Committee, Selectmen and Finance Committee for their decisions.  It was the Town Meeting Members who voted to raise my taxes and for the Human Resource Director and if anyone they should be replaced. Just because the tax passed - I didn't see anyone forcing Town Meeting Members to approve the Human Resource Director - the choice was the Town Meeting Members and they blew it. Then the tax issue - where the heck was the hard questions for the School Committee or the Selectman - they just chose to be silent hoping that someone else would take the lead so they could stand up later on and say " I didn't support the tax" but as soon as it became available they spent it quick.  To Town Meeting Members, take the blame because it is your own fault - you have a choice - no one is forcing you to vote for or against an issue or spend my hard earned cash.  If you feel pressure then speak up or quit but stop blaming other people for your actions."  Kevin Richard, Stoughton Taxpayer

(Editor's Note: I voted against BOTH taxes, the restaurant and hotel---MARK)

"Hi Mark- 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

 

"Hello, Mark:  Thank you for Snyder's Stoughton!  I may not agree with you on everything but do appreciate your keeping us informed and thinking about our town.  It looks like you took some flak for printing the salaries and it looks like that dissuaded you from continuing along those lines which is too bad.  As you said, it is supposed to be public knowledge and I applaud you for making it so. Take care."-- Steve Wilkinson

"Mark-We wanted to bring you and your readers up to speed on the Town of Stoughton Emergency Response Plan and how it works.  On Saturday May 1, 2010, The Stoughton Public Works Department responded to a series of internal communications between off duty personnel regarding a possible contamination issue with the MWRA supply.  Our priority from the first phone call was to protect the health and safety of our residents connected to Stoughton’s Water Supply.  As soon as we confirmed that there was a water quality issue with the MWRA supply, we engaged staff on duty to shut down the Island Street Station.  The Management of a water supply utility is a complex operation, which requires careful planning of procedures not only for daily activities, but also for maintaining quantity and quality of water during adverse conditions.  An Emergency Response Plan is a vital component for an effective and safe water supply operation.  The Town of Stoughton has always and continues to implement such a plan.  The scope of the problem was determined after discussions with MWRA and Town officials.  The problem was investigated and the situation was evaluated to determine the level of emergency.   A response was engaged, and finally a determination of who should be contacted was made.  All of this was in accordance with the Town of Stoughton Emergency Response Plan as revised on December 18, 2009.  Section 8 of the plan addresses Emergency Action Planning for System Contamination.  Once the threat was defined and isolated, notifications were given to the following in accordance with the Action Plan: Police, Fire, Health, applicable Staff and Personnel.There are several other criteria, which were explored in detail and deal with Operational Response, Analysis, and Public Notification, Evaluation, and then Remediation.  However, as we were able to isolate the threat prior to entering our water supply the situation was handled and then administered accordingly. This policy as approved by our Board of Selectmen was followed and worked.  Once again, we thank the dedicated employees of the Town, Public Officials and the MWRA who worked cooperatively and effectively.  Thanks, if you have any questions, please let me know."--Jonathan Beder, Asst. Supt. Public Works
"Dear Mark, I just read your column and I wanted to take a minute to say THANKS for listening. I know your intentions were nothing but honorable and I continue to be a big fan. Keep up the good work."--Phil McEnany

"Hi Mark, Totally agree with your take on the Town/DPW notification delay...totally unacceptable.  Also, I was told the town does not have Reverse911.  The schools have a similar system that the Town can use but it only reaches households with school children.  I checked with family and friends without school aged children and none of them received the call.  Could you check on this?  This is also totally unacceptable if true.  The town needs a way to reach all households.  In fact, there was just a news piece recently that the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office has a Reverse 911 that towns can use if they don't have there own.  It seemed in many towns the Police took the lead role.  I am disappointed in the new Police Chief, the new Town Manager, and the DPW."--
Chris Lynch

(Chris, I was equally disappointed in the lack of media notification, but I can guarantee one thing---the police wouldn't have been involved in the press conference, if there was one, for this situation.---Mark)

"Hi Mark, FYI, I completely agree with your position re: Stoughton DPW notifying the media about the water crisis this weekend: I personally didn’t hear about it until 11:15 pm Saturday night when I happened to be watching the news, and Stoughton was indeed on the list of effected cities and towns at that time.  I never received the reverse-911 call, but I have a private well so maybe DPW doesn’t think people with private wells need this important info!  My mother has cancer AND is on town water, I don’t think SHE ever got the reverse-911 either (she certainly had not at 11:15pm on Saturday when I phoned her to warn her of this condition, which would have been LIFE THREATENING to her!). Saturday was a beautiful, hot day.  Most people were not parked in front of their televisions watching for “news alerts”, and certainly nobody ever checks the Channel 6 thing.  When I hear of breaking Stoughton news that I need more info on, I always check your website – so I was surprised not to see anything there Saturday night.  I’m sure many, many people in Stoughton and surrounding cities and towns were OUTDOORS on that beautiful Saturday, and most likely drinking the water – the town REALLY should have done a better job of getting the word out.  I know in some cities and towns the police and/or fire departments drove up and down streets announcing the warning over their PA systems, that probably would have been a good thing for Stoughton to do, people with compromised immune systems could have DIED from this, and healthy people might have gotten seriously ill."--Mike Coffin

 "Mark, I was going over the town salaries, as usual the schools keep every thing secret. just the names no job titles. What really struck me was janitors being paid between $53,485.00 and $62,566.00, more than some of the police and firefighters, some thing is wrong here. I'm not knocking the janitors, but who approves these pay levels?? Being paid more than people who risk their life everyday, no more of these pay rates. Hopefully our new town manager can get some sanity back into pay rates."--Leo E. Mellyn

"Mark, there is a small group in the town that likes to knock our town employees, To them I would say, thank you to what ever town employee that set up our MRA connection with a shut off, we are the only town in the MRA that does not need to boil our water. The town of Canton also has wells but they need to boil water, to who ever you are thank you for the shut off valve.  To Town Mgr. Crimmins, good is great. We have the best town in the Commonwealth."-- Leo E. Mellyn

(Leo, I don't think anyone is criticizing the DPW workers. Taxpayers have a LEGITIMATE complaint about the lack of communication, which caused residents to panic buy water, when they didn't need to do it. THAT is the only problem. We were fortunate that DPW's MWRA shutoff was well-timed!---Mark)

"Mark, If you are going report a "story" and cloak yourself in the "Freedom of Information Act" I think you at least have a responsibility to the residents of Stoughton to be accurate with the information you report. I am referring to the article you recently wrote about the "salaries" some of our town employees earned in 2009. The figures you quoted were grossly inaccurate and reflected income EARNED by working overtime, and for Police Officers, working private outside details. These details make up a substantial part of their gross income and are not paid by the town, they are paid directly by the companies hiring the officers. The Town of Stoughton, by law, charges these companies an additional 10% administrative charge.  In recent years, the Police Department has generated more than $50,000.00 dollars per year that was turned into the general fund and used to improve our community. By the way, even with the 10% administrative fee, the billable rate for these Police Officers is still about $10 per hour less than the billable rate for flagmen, but that doesn't sell newspapers does it?
With respect to our Police Officers, why don't you write about the reasons why they have been without a contract for almost three years and haven't received so much as a cost of living increase? Better yet, why don't you educate the residents of Stoughton as to how the members of the Stoughton Police Department have worked tirelessly, and often selflessly, to help keep our town safe. The only accurate part of that article was that you correctly used the word EARNED when reporting their annual income. These Police Officers are constantly called upon, and sometimes forced into work, to ensure the safety of our residents and the general public.The Town of Stoughton, as well as the Stoughton Police Department, have recently undergone many possitive changes. The hiring of Francis Crimmins as Town Manager and Paul Shastany, our new Chief of Police, are two additions that residents of Stoughton can be excited about.
I have to be honest with you Mark, I am very disappointed in your attempt to inflame your readers with inaccurate information and what I call "sensational journalisim". It's high time the people of this town start working together for a better community and stop using the media to "stir the pot". Personally, I think your column would be a great place to start. So instead of writing your big "epsose' " on the Power Couples of Stoughton", try turning your attention toward any of the many possitive incidents our town employees are responsible for every day."-- Phil McEnany,
Stoughton resident for 20+ years

"Dear Mark: I wanted to comment on the recent election turnout. First and foremost, if we continue with the current system we should be making significant change to WHEN we vote.  For example, ALL April elections should be moved to the November election calendar.  Why?  First, it will be during a regular state election time period- Governor's race, Presidential race, Congressional race, you name it, bring out higher numbers because of the interest in other elections.  Second, it will save the town thousands of dollars ($10,000 or so) by not having the 2nd election, whereby only 16% vote and on average less than 30% for the past 20+ years with few exceptions, if any. The Town of Stoughton is a great place to live and a great place to raise children.  However, we have undergone some very difficult times over the course of the last few years regardless of the side people have been on.  Voter apathy is not new to Stoughton but the difficult political landscape of Stoughton is keeping people from running.  I don't care that 16% of the voters control the Town as one previous writer stated.  Maybe someday an election will not be considered an election unless at least 50% of registered voters vote- that will get people's attention.  I'm not sure I agree that this should be the way but thinking differently about things is what is needed...ask the Tea Party (although I don't agree with them, they have become a political movement based on what they believe is missing from elected officials and they are acting on it- discourse will get better because of it.) So, in the end I think that the taxpayers should ask for two things to improve participation:  Change the town election to the general election in November (imagine 60% of Stoughtonians voting for Selectmen in November during the Governor's race); a simple change in the Town Charter.  2. Change Town Meeting into a competitive race by having only 11 seats per precinct (instead of 21) and requiring members to go after votes instead of the popularity contest it is now. Other ideas- add more precinct voting areas to allow for people to get to a voting area easier; make the election a 2 day process; look for a weekend (other towns do this although I take issue with an election on the sabbath- either Saturday or Sunday); eliminate primaries all together especially since less of 20% come out; etc. I love Stoughton, but recently I haven't been excited about most not all candidates for office although I greatly admire their desire to run. I think you should have a show on how to move us forward when it comes to elections...a local university or college must have someone with experience in this type of thing as well as the local Democratic and Republican Town Committee leaders.  All politics is local and local politics is what is most important. Keep up the great work!"--Joseph F. Baeta


"Mark :
I work for the non-profit organization Brockton Family & Community Resources, Inc. -- Dave Madoff's charity for which he is Chairman of the Board.   This week both Dave and Donna suggested I reach out to you to help spread the word about BFCR's upcoming annual fundraising event, an "Awesome 80' Prom Night" on May 8th at the Shaw's Center in Brockton.  BFCR, Inc. serves individuals and families from over 45 southeastern Massachusetts communities whose lives have been impacted by trauma at home, school or in the community.  For more than 30 years we have provided a continuum of free, confidential domestic violence and prevention services for children, adolescents and adults.  For information on our programs please visit www.bfcr.org. This year we're side-stepping the usual gala-sort-of-fundraising-thing and putting on a fun and quirky "Awesome 80's Prom Night" where one can come totally decked out in Retro 80's attire...or NOT!   Thirty 6 Red, the red-hot band from Foxboro, will get the crowd totally jammin' and dancin' all night long, we'll serve fabulous epicurean delights from the many food stations, and offer our 80's signature cocktail along with the usual libations at the cash bar.  For all the event details and ticket information, please visit http://www.bfcr.org/events.htm. We're hoping you will spread the word about the event, and encourage people to participate in our innovative online auction which runs in conjunction with our Awesome 80's Prom Night event.  Check it out...
www.biddingforgood.com/bfcrinc. We're still looking for donations for the auction and sponsorships (see the attached sponsorship letter), so feel free to pass our letter on to individuals and/or businesses who may be interested in supporting our cause.I'm dropping an invitation in the post to you today...I do hope you will be our guest on May 8th! I look forward to hearing from you soon! Best regards," Karen B. Slaby, Director of Fundraising, Brockton Family and Community Resources, Inc.

 

"Mark, I was wondering if you knew what is going on with the Cedar Hill Golf course and the running of the club house this season. I'm hearing rumors that the club house will not be serving food & beverages this coming season due to a contract issue. Any Truth to that?As a Stoughton resident for 27 years and being involved in running a Tuesday golf league for the past 10 years at Cedar, having a Club house  to come back, sharing some good conversation , food and a couple of drinks makes the day complete.Having "NO" club house could put a damper on the league. Any insight that you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks"--Rich Morganelli 

(Rich, I haven't a clue. But someone out there reading this may know."--Mark)

"Mark, I’m shocked by the reported 16% turnout to vote yesterday! It’s outrageous that so many people can live in our community and not give a damn to cast a ballot. How can we be so apathetic, uninvolved and unaware of our own local government and the process of representation? How can we regard the most basic right as an American citizen as a nuisance or conflict with daily activities? Stoughton has taken its share of lumps recently, but shouldn’t this be more of a reason to get out and change things? John Stagnone and Jerry Capazzoli love this community and took the hard road of campaigning to serve this town FOR FREE. They gave up months of their daily lives for our vote, by standing out in the rain and cold holding signs. Going to events meeting people and discussing how to improve Stoughton. Working on plans they would present to turn things around and make us a strong community not just fiscally, but morally with ideas to strengthen our schools, care for our elderly and protect our natural resources. With all this, we couldn’t muster more than 16% of registered voters? I’m ashamed. I’m angry. I’m utterly speechless to try and explain why we don’t do the easy part to go out and make our voices heard. I’m excited about the recent changes in Stoughton, from our newly hired Town Manager and Police Chief, to the dedication I witness from our town employees in every department. I just wish this dedication can be rewarded equally by going to the polls and showing support for the 16% of us who care about Stoughton and its future. If people are not as excited about the changes as I am, or are unhappy with the direction of Stoughton, come out and vote next time. Get involved, stay informed and be a part of your town. The future of Stoughton for all of us depends on it."--Robert Germain

"Mark, It does not bother me that registered voters do not bother to vote for the simple reason it makes my vote more powerful.  That is not being selfish only realistic. As a citizen, interested in GOOD goverment, I have never missed an election and as you know I am no youngster. My first Presidential election was my vote for IKE. Some of your readers may not know what President was nick named IKE, of course he was Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Keep up the good fight"--. Arnold Smith

"Mark, you were right, the voter turnout was disgraceful, we have young men and women dieing in foreign lands so that people can have the right to freely vote. It is a shame, but one thing we can count on is that the non-voters will be the most vocal complainers. What does it take to get people out of this apathy."--Leo E. Mellyn

"Mark - I grew up in Stoughton and graduated SHS in 1978.  We have over 20 Facebook friends in common (including my sister, Amy Griffing).  I will be bicycling across the country (almost 4,000 miles in 50 days) this summer for the American Lung Association. It would be great if you could help cover/publicize my ride and encourage other area residents/businesses to join this great cause. I enjoy your web sites and think it would be a great way to spread the message.  Coverage in your Chronicle column, TV show, and/or radio show would be a big bonus.  You can learn more about my ride and follow my progress at http://www.markstrek.com. I also have a FB group - Mark's Trek Across America (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=304207338101).  I would really appreciate it if you could join the group and then invite your friends to do the same. I will be in Stoughton on May 1st for another American Lung Association ride I am doing in New Hampshire on the 2nd.  Perhaps, we could get together while I am in town to talk about my ride.  Let me know if you are available.  I think my ride would be a great local story for you and look forward to meeting you.  Thank you for your help. Please contact me with any questions via FB or mkoltz@comcast.net.  I also sent this message to your Facebook account/email address."-- Mark Koltz

"To the residents As a member of the planning board and candidate for selectman I would like to correct Mr. Capozzoli’s comments about the proposed zoning changes for North Stoughton. It is true that I have spent over the years many hours writing, reviewing and speaking for changes to our zoning by-laws, that is what active board members do. The process used by the planning board was to DRAFT recommendations for changes to the current zoning in North Stoughton to correct a zoning violation approved by the Zoning Board, of which Mr. Capozzoli was a member of. The Planning Board advertised in the Stoughton PennySaver, Snydersstoughton.com and mailed to each town meeting representative as well as abutters an invitation to attend an informal forum to talk about the proposed zoning articles. Then the board followed the legal requirements for advertising the public hearing process. The zoning articles in question have NOT been voted on by the planning board, so I am not sure how my opponent could say that the articles have the board’s endorsement or mine for that matter.This is just another example of Mr. Capozzoli not understanding the facts.Should anyone have a question about the process, or the articles, they can call the town planner 341-1300 x201 or myself (341-0153)."--John J. Stagnone; Planning Board member and candidate for Selectman.

"I would like to notify all town residents and especially, the North Stoughton residents in Precinct 1, of upcoming re-zoning articles that will be presented before Town Meeting, beginning Monday, May 3, 2010. Being presented are Articles 70 thru Article 74 (5 articles) known as the Highway Access Business District, which is currently zoned as neighborhood business. See attached file with maps and articles. I am opposed to this re-zoning as this re-zoning not only impacts North Stoughton but also the entire town’s egress to Route 24. It will turn the residential neighborhoods into another Technology Drive. I have received numerous phone calls regarding the re-zoning of North Stoughton from precinct 1 residents who will be directly impacted. Many residents are upset about the fact that they were not notified of the re-zoning. When hearing about this they were told only the immediate abutters were notified. If they had been notified then their concerns regarding infrastructure and public safety in a densely populated area would have been considered. The maps show the area of re-zoning, which includes parcels of land on both sides of Page Street (One area includes Page Street up to Cabot Place) down both sides of Route 139, Turnpike Street towards the Armory. Please see copies of the maps for specific areas to be re-zoned. This re-zoning will affect the local roads in these neighborhoods that can barely handle the traffic flow in its’ current state. The town needs a permanent fix to the sinking of a portion of Route 139 before the town can even consider articles that would increase traffic flow in this area. As a member of the planning board, you have heard my opponent speak of the hundreds of hours he has spent drafting articles for town meeting that would better the future of our town. Now that the news has hit the streets and the residents are upset that they were never notified, my opponent wants to withdraw these articles, but it’s too late. Where was the transparency here? Isn’t this the same process he was so much against when hiring a town manager? No matter what precinct you are from in this town, please contact your town meeting representatives and ask that they vote against these articles. For more information regarding the specifics of lot, building sizes, including 40B construction in these articles, contact the town hall and request a copy of these articles or contact your town meeting representative for a copy. A copy of these articles is attached for your convenience.If any resident has any questions, please feel free to call me at 781-344-7067. Please vote on Tuesday, April 6. Thank you."-- Jerry Capozzoli, Selectman Candidate

"Hi Mark, I wanted follow up on a question for Mr. Capazzoli that he raised in a recent open letter on you site. Mr. Capazzoli was inquiring about the broadcasting of Finance Committee meetings. The first Finance Committee meeting that was broadcast ended up not being useable because the dais in the Great Hall has only five microphones and there are seventeen Finance Committee members. As a result, a majority of the audio for the broadcast was un-intelligible. The Finance committee Chair, Holly Boykin did make a request to have all the Finance Committee public hearings broadcasted. SMAC followed up in an email on the committee’s request, to let us know that a 30 day notice is needed for broadcast requests. This is understandable given the logistics required to coordinate programming, scheduling and the staffing resources needed especially when considering a request for a series of meetings as in the case of the Finance Committee. Mr. Capazzoli makes a valid point regarding the need for our residents to be kept informed of the committee’s work which is why all Finance Committee meetings are open to the public and are posted in accordance with Open Meeting rules. I was glad that I happened across Mr. Capazzoli's question while reading letters on your site Mark and would happy to follow up with any additional information or questions for Mr. Capazzoli. Regards."--Rick Hill, Vice Chairman, Stoughton Committee on Finance and Taxation

"Dear Mark,    I am sending you this bit of history that I'd like to share with you and the Journal readers.    I am surprised that the Stoughton Journal did not carry the obituary
of David S. Cutler which appeared in The Enterprise/Community Newspaper. David Cutler died on February 28.    In September 2006, when I wrote the History of the local newspapers
in Stoughton for the final issue of the Stoughton Chronicle and News-Sentinel when it was absorbed by the Stoughton Journal, I gave credit to David S. Cutler for fulfilling the late General (Rev.) David Mahn's ambition to "launch" a Stoughton Journal with the Canton Journal.    From 1979 until 1986 David Cutler was printing the Canton Journal for Davd Mahn  at the Duxbury Clipper, Mariner Newspapers.  In 1984 or '85 David Mahn had been negotiating with Walter Reeves of the Sharon Advocate to bring the Advocate back to the Canton Publishing Co after
about 100 years. He'd ask me to do some research into the newspapers in Stoughton.     I found that some of the first issues of the Stoughton Sentinel when Lemuel Standish took over the weekly paper in 1882 were printed by the Canton Journal. In 1926, coinciding with the town's 200th Anniversary, the Canton Journal published the Stoughton Examiner, and the name was legally  property of the Canton Publishing Company, so I suggested to Dave Mahn to use the Examiner name if he were to publish a Stoughton paper.  He preferred to promote the association with the
Canton Journal's heritage.    At the end of 1986, when certain Federal Tax breaks were coming to a close, David Mahn accepted the offer from David Cutler to add the Canton Journal to the Mariner newspapers. For about a year the Canton Journal continued to have its editorial offices at 484 Washington St. before moving to 12 Revere Street. For awhile the Stoughton Journal concept was put on hold.   There were two other young law students from Stoughton who, separately, in the mid-1980's were discontented with the existing Stoughton newspaper and entertained the idea of publishing a new Stoughton weekly paper. One of those law students did stain his fingers. The new Stoughton Sentinel ran for seven weeks in 1987 with Dr. Thomas
A. Recupero as publisher and his son Thomas J. "T. J." doing the edtorial work.    While the Sentinel did not have the capital and staff to endure, David Cutler had the resources to bring Stoughton a real, local newspaper. In the fall of 1989, the Stoughton Journal made its debut.      The story of David Cutler which is in that obituary should be recorded on the pages of the Stoughton Journal."-
Howard Hansen, Stoughton Historian

"Hello All! I am writing you in hopes that this letter of thanks will end up in the correct hands!  My son, myself and his father attended the annual Easter Egg hunt this past Saturday at  Cedar Hill Golf Course.  My father-in-law was also there with 2 of my son's cousins.  We were on the 6+ side, while the others were on the 2-5 side.  After we collected our eggs and goodies, we went to meet up with the rest of the family.  We spotted my father-in-law with one of the 2 children that were supposed to be with him.  He informed us that at the start of the hunt, his 5 year old grandson (who is autistic) had taken off and he was unable to find him in the sea of children.  I then flagged down a worker who immediately radioed the others to inform them of the situation.   Almost instantly, many golf carts went out and about a dozen or so workers were looking for him.  After a painstaking 40 minutes, my nephew was found crouched in a corner near the club house, scared out of his mind!  I can't thank all those involved enough for their persistent hard work!  Thanks so much!"--Keri Getchell

(Letter to Residents of Stoughton, to Snyder's Stoughton)) "On March 9th, the residents of Stoughton decided the final two candidates for Selectman. Thank you for voting me one of them. I have been a resident of this town for 68 years and for 50 years I have worked to make this a better town for all to live in. As a selectman, I want to let the residents know that I will be an unbiased voter on the board. I will work diligently to make sure the Board of Selectmen conducts its business with transparency in and out of the Great Hall, with full discussion of the issues. I will allow the public the opportunity to speak on every single agenda item. I will listen to each resident that comes before the board; I will then discuss the issue with the other board members and then and only then, render a decision that is in the best interest of Stoughton. I did not solicit any endorsement from any preliminary selectman candidates, as I do not wish to be beholden or indebted to any individual or special interest group. I will only serve the residents of Stoughton. Now that the new Town Manager, whom I supported, has been appointed, I will continue to support him in his endeavors to move our town forward. The Town Manager has aggressively stepped up into his position and immediately began meeting personnel, identifying the issues and began to resolve some of the town’s major outstanding issues such as the work on Route 139-- all this in only a months time! That process outweighs any other. Just like the new Town Manager, I supported the decision of hiring the new police chief. This shows that the town is moving forward and I intend to be supportive in his decisions to bring his department forward. Since the beginning of my campaign, I have made my opinion known that the Armory in North Stoughton was not the logical answer for the home of the Stoughton Media Access Corporation (SMAC). Now that crucial time has lapsed, I understand that SMAC has just recently decided that the Armory is no longer feasible for a cable studio. Although they have signed a temporary agreement with the Town of Easton, as it stands, there is still no permanent location for the cable studio to produce our local shows. The question is: why wasn’t there a plan for an alternate location? As a selectman, I will work with the SMAC Board of Directors and it’s Executive Director to help locate suitable alternatives in the hope of finding a permanent home for our cable studio. As are most residents of this town, I am against the South Coast Rail Project. Currently, the plan calls for two tracks to pass right through the middle of Stoughton, causing many safety concerns at our many grade crossings throughout the town. This project will split the town in half making it difficult for our public safety departments to cover the entire community. Although the plan currently states that this is to expand commuter rail services, most have already come to the conclusion that this will also be a freight rail. If and when this project is approved by the federal and state government agencies, this town will need a strong mitigating plan to be put into action in order to minimize the huge impact this project will have on our community. There are many communities out there that this project will affect, but for right now, we have to be concerned with Stoughton! I, along with many town residents,am at a loss trying to comprehend why only one Finance Committee meeting was televised, which conveniently was about the Town Managers budget and not any of the subsequent town budget meetings. In my opinion, all Finance Committee meetings should be televised, especially when approving the annual budget. The Finance Committee is a necessary and vital component of the town’s budgetary process. The town’s residents not only have the right to know, but also deserve to be informed of the ongoing matters of the Finance Committee. All residents should be able to view and be informed of the budgetary process and see how it may affect them. In reading recent submissions from past and present candidates, it amazes me on how people only see things through their own eyes. I have been quoted as saying that I will cut taxes! I never once stated this. What I have said was that I would be opposed to yearly increases and 2 ½ % overrides. This is certainly not a promise to cut taxes but a promise to make sure we are not wasting the town’s money on frivolous set backs and political agendas. It’s been stated that I only want to represent a portion of the town voters. Just like my opponent, I have been reaching out to all the residents of this town. Is he going to knock on the doors of 27,000 residents in search of their support? Well neither can I, because that’s unrealistic! But I will promise the residents my campaign will reach them one way or another. Just because we have not crossed paths during this ground campaign doesn’t mean we are not working hard at it. Maybe he is not doing what he keeps telling people he’s doing? In this campaign, I have been telling the residents that I would like to work with my fellow board members when elected. But if I only mentioned one thing that I would work on, that would still be one more than my opponent has stated. He states that he will work for this town, but he hasn’t said on what and whether or not he will work collaboratively with the rest of the board. Does that mean he will only work with certain members? If this is the case, I think it is he who is only representing a portion of the town! I have said it throughout my campaign; Stoughton is my home and it always will be. That is why with your help, I will promise you that my actions as a selectman will be in the best interest of the residents, being one myself! I ask for your Vote on Tuesday, April 6, 2010."--Jerry Capozzoli

"I DO NOT KNOW IF YOU EVER DID AN INTERVIEW WITH PARIS KAMPANELAS AND HER STARLINERS  FROM THE PARIS CABARET/STARLINE ROOM DINNER THEATRE ON MONK STREET, STOUGHTON, MA  -  I HAD THE PLEASURE OF GOING THERE YESTERDAY  AFTERNOON TO SEE  JOSEPH  AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT – WHAT A SHOW!!!  THERE WERE, I BELIEVE, 12 YOUNG PEOPLE FROM THE STARLINE ACADEMY PERFORMING WHO WERE FANTASTIC A WELL AS THE STARLINERS  WHO ALWAYS GIVE YOU AN ENGERGIZING SHOW  -  THIS SURE BEATS GOING INTO BOSTON WHEN WE HAVE TALENT  RIGHT IN OUR OWN  BACK YARD -  ALSO THEY HAVE A VARIED DINNER MENU WHICH IS EXCELLENT   PLEASE GIVE THIS YOUR CONSIDERATION."--    DIANNE RADVILAS  

"Mark: On April 1, 2010 Comcast will no longer be responsible for broadcasting of local programming on channel 9. As part of this transition from Comcast, Stoughton Media Access Corporation (SMAC) is running a pilot test this weekend, starting at noon on Friday. Both Comcast and Verizon customers will be able view all the same programs, shown the same time of day. We are working on building our programming schedule to include more shows. In addition to the regularly scheduled programs, residents will be able to watch a video submitted by a resident as well as titles Catch and Release, and Culinary Journey.   Residents and organizations that have announcements that they would have sent to Comcast should now be sent to Stoughton Media Access Corporation's executive director Stephen Innis. They can submit announcement by e-mail to sinnis@stoughtontv.com or they can mail them to Stoughton Media Access Corporation, 10 Pearl Street, Stoughton MA 02072.  - John J. Stagnone President"-- Thank you,  John (Stagnone)

:To Jeff Benson: If you go to Town Hall they have a marvelous thing called an Absentee Ballot, wonder of wonders. If you wanted to vote you could have, don't complain be cause you didn't."--
Leo E. Mellyn

"Mark: I just read the press release for the 154 unit 40B development named Indian Woods.  It may be of interest to your readers to know that this project was previously approved by the ZBA in June 2007 as The Residences at Stagecoach Village, which was also later modified in January 2009.  The project, while in Stoughton, accesses through Canton off Washington Street.  The project was purchased in late 2009 and renamed.  I thought readers would like to know that it was not a new 40B and rather it was one that had previously approved by the ZBA."--Joseph Laydon, Town Planner

"Mark, I saw your note in the Journal for a new teenager taking papers out for town meeting rep which is wonderful and just wanted to make you aware that there may be more folks who have stepped up to get involved. I am not a teenager but I am a new candidate for town meeting rep in Precinct 2. I am a member of the Stoughton Youth Commission and committee member of Troop 516 Boy Scouts. I believe in getting involved."--David Walsh

"Dear Mr. Snyder: I'd just like to let you know how offended I am at your article in the Journal this Friday 3/12.  I am a graduate of Stoughton High School (class of 2006) and a student at Berklee College of Music.  I am currently doing my student teaching.  I just wanted to let you know how horribly offended I am.  I did not vote last Tuesday because I was at school before 7 am and did not even get to my home to write my lesson plans for the next day until well after 9 PM that night.  I guess that makes me "part of the problem" with this town.  However, I can guarantee you that you'll find me playing concerts for the town over the summer for the Lions Club, playing at local nursing homes during the holidays, or spending my career educating children about the value of music and rehearsing student ensembles in the town I work in ( a neighbor of Stoughton).   You won't however find me in the middle of one of the many police scandals in this town, nor will you find me toiling in some other corrupt scandal in town politics.  I, like may others in town spend my days working to give children a place to go after school where they can be a member or team, not out roaming the streets murdering, robbing banks, breaking and entering, or any of the other choice activities that seem to be commonplace around Stoughton today.  So forgive me if I feel that you have no right to make a condescending blanket statement about everyone who did not vote being "part of the problem" with Stoughton.  I know of many Stoughton residents who work longer hours than I, because after all this is a WORKING CLASS TOWN.  Maybe you should take a look in the mirror and stop trying to anger residents.  Being scolded by you like a child who's misbehaved won't make anyone more likely to vote. It will however, make good citizens such as myself see you as a trouble-maker more interested in churning out a controversial article than analyzing real issues objectively. Maybe you are part of the problem and not the solution?"--Jeff Benson

(Jeff--Thanks for the passionate response.  I am well aware of your musical talent, as I promoted your summer concert at the Gazebo on my website, and in the paper.  My article this week was aimed at those who do nothing for this town.  As for the voting issue, I hope you will stop at the Town Clerk's office and pick up an absentee ballot for April 6, so that you can vote even if you are unable to show up at the polls.---Mark)

"To the residents - Thank you for putting your faith in me, by voting for me March 9th. I have been working hard over the past 8 years to make Stoughton a better place to live and do business. I will put the interest of the town first – always have, and always will. I will need your support again on Tuesday April 6th. Thank you."--John J. Stagnone, Candidate for Selectman

"Dear Mr. Snyder -I have learned a lot from your site and tv show over the years and appreciate your candor about the good and bad things in Stoughton.  Although, I am not a resident of Stoughton, I have been going to the Senior Center on and off over the years with friends and was pleasantly suprised to find that even with the addition of the youth nothing has changed. I was skeptical in the beginning but the new Director has been willing to address the concerns of the Seniors and having the kids in the place doesn't have a negative impact.  I have even learned some things about video games and teenagers that have helped me to communicate with my grand kids. I only wished that the Senior Center in my community was as good as the one in Stoughton."-- 
Louise Sager

"Hi Mark- I would appreciate your posting this on your website and having it read aloud on your next TV show. During your interview with the new Town Manager Frank Crimmins, it was stated that the Finance Committee transferred $23,000 from our Reserve line to cover the vacation pay for former Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz. That information is 100% false.  The vacation pay was paid for out of the FY'10 Town Manager's budget approved by Town Meeting Members in May 2009.  A transfer request was never sent by the Board of Selectmen to cover the vacation pay and therefore the Finance Committee did not act on the request.  Also, the Finance Committee was not notified of the $23,000 payout until March 2010 when the Board of Selectmen sent us the transfer request to pay for the new TM salary thru mid-June 2010.  Thank you."-- Holly Boykin, Chairperson, Finance Committee

"Mark, I just read Part 1 of the article written by Maria Papadopoulos for the Enterprise, and cannot believe that the newspaper editor or the reporter believed this is what is the most important news to report for our Stoughton. The format of the page even spells out statistics, then everything terrible that has happened for the last 5 years.  It is with baited breath that I read tomorrow what is good about Stoughton in her Part 2.  I emailed Ms. Papadopoulos but do not anticipate a response.  Why even bother with Part 1, why not just do Part 2 ?  This type of reporting is what perpetuates the negative image of our town for no purpose. A gentleman that came to my breakfast this morning stated it best:  "What people will remember about Deval Patrick is the Cadilac and the curtins."  Time to make a move toward the positive, and what's great about this Town and how we can make it improve.  Even our young people realize this with the Youth Commission initiating a Pride of Stoughton Day on April 17th. Get with it, Enterprise."--Dori Frankel - Proud to be a resident of Stoughton

"Mark: Stoughton Media Access Corporation (S.M.A.C.) under the Access Corporation Agreement, S.M.A.C. is responsible for providing live coverage of all regularly scheduled Board of Selectmen, School Committee, and Town Meeting for the Municipality, to the fullest extent practicable and possible. S.M.A.C. is also required to provide live coverage of one additional public meeting per quarter, if requested by the Municipality, upon thirty (30) days written notice, to the fullest extent practicable and possible. S.M.A.C. received a request to cover the Finance Committee meeting. This request was forwarded on to our executive director to see if coverage could be provided, he was able to schedule a camera person for the meeting. At the time the finance committee went to take a break, the camera operator did not hear the chair say they were taking a short break and thought the meeting was over, so he stopped the live coverage of the meeting. Once he realized the meeting was not over, he resumed the coverage. At the same time he also stopped recording of the meeting, so when the tape was reviewed, it showed no interruption in coverage. While we regret that this had happened, it was an honest mistake. S.M.A.C. is looking into steps that will prevent this from happening again. We also provided a letter to the town manager asking him to notify all the town departments, boards and committees on how to request meeting coverage. S.M.A.C. has exceeded its minimum requirement of covering one additional public meeting as set out in the Access Corporation Agreement, by providing additional coverage of all meetings to date. S.M.A.C. has also covered several Selectmen meetings that were not part of their regular schedule, without receiving any request from the Municipality to do so. S.M.A.C. is glad that we have been able to provide all this additional coverage for the residents, since we took over this responsibility in December 2009. Our goal is to provide the residents with more coverage of its town government, when possible, as well as expand programming, reducing the number bulletin boards. Should any resident have any questions about coverage, want an event covered or have a tape that they want to share with the community they can contact Stephen Innis, sinnis@stoughtontv.com or they can contact me at 341-0153 or jstagnone@stoughtontv.com . Thank you."---John J. Stagnone, President

"Mark, So the way I am reading Holly Boykin's letter to you, she requested that the meeting be televised? Did not the media director of SMAC not know that 30 days notice in writing was required? Did not the Board of Directors of SMAC not inform him of their by-laws? Which members of the BOS was it that Holly was refering to that requested it be televised? Was it the chairman, who is the only one who has authority to give their approval with their permission?  I'm really curious about this, as it appeared to be political grandstanding at the very least, regardless of whether it came from the FinCom chair, the BOS, or the president of SMAC. Was it a legally permitted transmission of the meeting according to all the applicable by-laws and regulations of our town boards and non-profit boards?
Inquiring minds want to know."--Dori Frankel

" Hi Mark- As discussed, here is a copy of my communication to Fin Com regarding the televised broadcast of our most recent mtg. The televising of the Fin Com mtg last week: It has been brought to my attention that members of the Stoughton Community are concerned that the Fin Com usurped our authority and stepped over the political lines by televising last week’s mtg and that 1-3 minutes of our mtg was not aired.  Over the past year, on several occasions, I have been approached by numerous people about televising the Fin Com mtgs especially during budget season.  Being a woman and knowing that the camera is not my best friend,I have avoided the issue like the plaque. However, a couple of weeks ago at the request of some BOS members, I agreed to have our mtg televised.  In several calls with Steve, we discussed it, and on the morning of our Fin Com mtg during a phone call with Steve, I asked him again if he minded that we televised the mtg and if I should cancel it – I did not mind taking the heat.  He said no – that it was fine and it would be a good thing so I went ahead. I have Verizon and therefore have not seen the mtg, however it appears that a couple of minutes of the mtg were not televised.  The person working the equipment by accident hit the wrong switch and when he realized it he fixed it– I did not know it until I received an email asking me to detail for one of the SMAC Board members on how we came to televise the mtg and why there was a couple of minutes missed.   I have handled that request by sending an email to SMAC’s Board Chair."--Holly Bokyin, Chairperson, Stoughton Finance Committee

"Dear Mark: Finally, the Town of Stoughton has gotten its act together!  The naming of Judge Crimmins as Town Manager is not only a turning point for Stoughton it's the beginning of a new direction.  One Stoughton for ALL.  That is what Stoughton has in its new Town Manager- a leader for the people of this great Town. Keep up the great work."--Joseph Baeta

"Mark: A few weeks ago I attended the Southeastern Massachusetts Library System legislative breakfast along with a few of the trustees, the library director, the young adult librarian and several library patrons.  The program includes short presentations by library patrons on why their local library is important to them.  This year Stoughton had two groups of representatives speak, Gary Gekow and Steven Bothelo, spoke about the series of employment seminars given by Mr. Gekow at the Stoughton Public Library, and about Mr. Bothelo's experience in using these seminars to help him find a job after nine months of unemployment.  Mr. Gekow has gone on to give his seminars at several libraries in southeastern Mass after starting his program here in Stoughton.  The other group that spoke was teenagers who are all part of the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) at the library and the Monday Night Homework Center.  Chinonye Okeke, Ariel Eloi, and Mason Boyle told wonderful stories of their experiences with the library, with TAB and with the Homework Center.  All three were well spoken, articulate and great ambassadors for their schools and town.   I’ve attended several of these breakfasts over the past few years and I am always impressed with the stories told by the patrons.  I am also impressed with the level of support that this community gives to its library and to the other human service departments in town.  While other libraries are facing decertification, large cutbacks in hours, and in some case library closures, Stoughton has been able to maintain many of its core services. It takes a lot of creativity, countless grant applications, and thinking outside the box to come up with programs and funding in this tough economic climate. On Friday, February 26 at 7:30, Channel  5’s Chronicle will air a story called “What’s the Word?”  Chronicle was in Stoughton just over a week ago to tape at the library and they spent time with the teens that spoke at the breakfast and with Sheila Osborne who runs the Homework Center, they interviewed Mr. Bothelo, and they interviewed library director, Pat Basler.  The focus of the story will be the Cushing Academy, a private high school where they have eliminates all books in their library, and also the Cambridge Public Library System.   After hearing of the patron stories at the legislative breakfast they decided to come to Stoughton to tape additional footage.  We don’t know how much, if any of the footage will make it to the final story."--Joyce Husseini, Library Trustee

"Hi Mark, Do you remember how exciting the Winter Classic was at Fenway?  Do you remember how the hair on the back of your neck stood up when Al Michaels asked about your belief in miracles back in 1980?  Do you remember the epic battle that took place last year at the Canton Sports Plex between the Stoughton Police and Stoughton Fire Department?  I don't know which of the three I would choose, but of the three, the only one you have a chance to re-live is the Guns N' Hoses annual benefit game for the Friends of Stoughton Hockey.  This year the FD will be without one of their top players as Jack Macomber is selflessly serving in Iraq.  We all wish him a safe return.  In the spirit of the Winter Olympics this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxmT9OLPCQQ will show people what excitement lies ahead.  We hope to see you there on Saturday February 27, 2010.  And as always, GO PD!"-- 

John Bonney

"Hi Mark, I heard from Rep. Kafka’s office regarding the bill Al Lipkind wanted passed. As you know well, Al was a great guy who did so much for Stoughton. I’m not really qualified to provide any type of written testimony to support this bill as my initial inquiry was only to see Al’s wishes carried out.  Can you post something on this hearing and help inform readers that they can contact Kafka’s office to either testify or provide written support for Al’s wishes? Thanks for your help."---Rob Germain

"Mark, I am opposed to any transfer for the proposed funding on the finance committee agenda. I allege that the 3 selectmen that signed the contract with Mr. Crimmins violated the MGL Chapter 44: Section 31.They knowingly violated the salary limit for the position of town manager that was appropriated by the ATM. I allege that they illegally entered into a contract with Mr. Crimmins and put the town at risk for litigation.   Also, it appears that the Mr. Crimmins does not meet the criteria specified in the Town Charter. Chapter 44: Section 31 is entitled "Liabilities in excess of appropriation forbidden; exceptions"  The exceptions noted are flood, drought, fire, hurricane, earthquake, storm, etc. i.e. major disaster.  Chapter 44 :Section 31B was repealed.  Any legal opinion given by the town counsel to support this transfer is just that:  an opinion.  This opinion may lead to litigation and cost the town thousands of dollars to defend.  It most likely cannot be defended. To supplement a salary line item by a transfer from the reserve fund is not an extraordinary or unforeseen need.  This transfer request does not appear to meet the legal definition of extraordinary.  The 3 selectmen purposefully and with full knowledge offered and signed a contract that exceed the line item appropriation for the position of Town Manager. To attempt to make the Finance Committee accomplices in their alleged wrongdoing is shameful.It is my expectation that the Finance Committee will do the right thing and let the selectmen negotiate another contract and, if so inclined, request more funding for salary items at the ATM.Please note that the TM salary is out of line with like communities.  The additional benefits add several thousands of $ to the signed contract.  The true price is probably closer to $180,000!  This is extraordinary in these times when probably 60% of Stoughton taxpayers received no increase in salaries, no increase in social security, or lost their jobs.The 3 selectmen who signed this contract should be sent a message.  I think they should all resign from office.  How do their actions support their oath of office?"--David Camacho  

" I just read, and am disheartened to hear, that SHS may have to eliminate track commencing in 2011 because the track is in disrepair. Although the track is considered a school facility it is one of the facilities that is available to the entire community at "no cost", similar to the Tennis Courts. Those who use these facilities realize the benefits of having these.   I understand that times are tough, financially, for the community and money may not be available at the present time to fully repair the track. This does not mean that the SHS Track program needs to be eliminated, rather it
needs to be altered.  I went to SHS and played Baseball and Football during a unique time. I played Varsity Baseball from 1963 to 1966 and Varsity Football from 1963 to 1965. During this time the D & E wings of SHS were being constructed. From 1964 through '66 there were no home baseball games played at SHS because the field was torn up. Therefore, my Soph, Jr and Sr years I never had a "home" game. In September of my Sr year the same was true for the football team, we played ALL our games on the road. Commencing the 1966-67 school year SHS was
again able to host home games for its teams.  If money isn't available, at the present time, wouldn't it make sense to play on the road again and provide the student/athlete the opportunity to
participate in an activity they enjoy? Heck, its much better than seeing them on the street, isn't it?   During this time couldn't the community look to possible sources for grant
money (Fed gov Stimulus funds, etc), have fund raisers to help offset the cost to do this project. Heck, why not go all out and redo the whole area, track, tennis courts and artificial surface the football field. Instead of being negative, be proactive, think outside the box, be creative. It can be done!!! Walpole, through private contributions did it, Canton did it, mostly through donations
(although Reebok helped).  I no longer live in Stoughton, but, I still have great pride in the fact that I once played ball at SHS and if a fund raiser were to be held that would upgrade the facilities the student/athlete could use I would willingly give to see that they had the opportunity to use a first class facility. Think of the pride everyone would have knowing this was part of their community. Before placing an article at town meeting, see what can be done other ways to raise money. If you can't raise it all privately, it would be a whole lot easier to ask for less from Town Meeting than every bit of it. Again, think outside the box, be creative, be positive. Lets get off the negative routine. I'm willing to contribute, I'll bet others are also. Try it, you may be surprised."-- Peter Everett, Morrisville, VT

"Mark, I have to respond Joseph F. Baeta's e-mail to you. Apparently, anyone interested in open, honest, and transparent town government is a "no brain-er", but what would I know - I'm just a tax paying resident who is kept in the dark about the process of selecting our Town Manager. I don't know Mr. Crimmins personally, but I happen to believe that no one can walk on water. I keep asking myself, what was the urgency of not taking the extra time to a transparent and open process, if for no other reason than to help unify the town. Surely, a candidate as strong as he's made out to be, would easily be able to stand up to the scrutiny. The Enterprise Editorial entitled "Behind Stoughton's Closed Doors" really says it all. I also keep asking how answering questions publicly can possibly be unethical. Finance committee members are going to meet this Thursday night in the Great Hall and I hope, vote NOT to appropriate money that the town doesn't have. This is just my opinion, but I think we need to pack that finance committee meeting, to support members who will act from a position of fiduciary responsibility, and not political lobbying."--Rick Lynch


"Dear Mark: I am writing on behalf of this Town getting it right and hiring the Judge to the post of Town Administrator.  Its a no brainer...this Town has been paying for people without his expertise and his integrity for years and look where it has gotten us. I believe the Judge brings us back to the days of honest leadership and a clear belief system; something Stoughton has not seen in decades.  Lastly, this issue with the funding source is but one very simple vote from completion...although I understand the need for a FinCom vote the FinCom issue could be easily resolved by having the Judge agree to work 3.5 to 4 days per week for the remainder of the fiscal year and with limited vacation and other benefits etc. and prorate the salary like everyone else does for these type of situations.  For 4 days per week you are getting the very best.  The Board could then appropriately budget for FY11. FinCom should not allow for this to stop the best thing that could happen for Stoughton.  I know how this works and I am sure that money can be found in the salary lines of Town Hall. Cut the fat elsewhere and bring the Judge home."--Joseph F. Baeta
 

"Mark, Please pass on to your readers that the Habitat for Humanity-Stoughton Local Partnership Committee will be hosting a battle of the bands on May 7, 2010 at the Stoughton High School Auditorium. "Stoughton Rocks for Habitat for Humanity" is open to middle school and high school students from any school.  A panel of judges will screen demo CD's submitted by the bands that enter and choose five bands to play live on May 7, 2010.  Applications will be posted at Stoughton High School and surrounding schools.  "24 South" , a band with strong Stoughton ties, will act as our house band and will be playing in between competing bands.  Stoughton's own Solstice Studios (owned by Ed Basile) has donated the Grand Prize of 4-hours of recording time.  Rich Spillberg, SHS Class of 1984 and formerly of WARGASM, has donated his expertise and will produce and engineer one song for the winning band at Solstice Studios. This should be a great night of music for a great cause.  If anyone has any questions, or to request an application, they can reach me at shawncroke@hotmail.com or 781-341-0818."--Shawn Croke

"I just finished reading all the information this week in the Stoughton Journal regarding the hiring of Judge Crimmins and I am appalled at the way the town is reacting to what could be the best possible answer to the town's fiscal and legal and future concerns.   Judge Crimmins is worth every penny of the 158,000.00 negotiated for the position.  He is available, competent and brings more to the table with his experience and education than any search committee or unknown applicant who may come forward. Our other Officials i.e. Police Chief , Fire Chief have already been compensated over the years in the same ball park with well compensated Assistants and Deputies.  Our Town Manager only has Reggie who continues to be invaluable to oversee the ENTIRE TOWN and ALL Departments and Agencies.  I felt the analogy of the new salary for Mark at 142,000  ( no benefits included ) and then saying Judge Crimmin's salary is above average based on a study that should include benefits was misleading. When I then read that  $$$$ should be made available for fourth of July Parade as an expense but NOT go forward with Judge Crimmins because of $$$$$$$$$$ I had to write."--Arlene Newman

"Dear Mr. Snyder: I am a new Stoughton resident and watched in disbelief tonight's Board of Selectmen mtg.  Until recently, I worked for the City of Boston, where I was a union steward and moved up through the ranks over 30 years.  I have been following closely but quietly the chaos in town unfold.  I don't know any of the players but do know this  - the Mayor of Boston's salary is $170k per year and he has a lot more employees and a much larger budget than Stoughton.  As a matter of fact, last year Mayor Menino took a 3% cut to show his solidarity with Boston employees who were being asked to make concessions during tight fiscal times.  Even the Mayor of Brockton, next to us has a salary of $131k.  If this was happening in Boston, the Unions would have been banging the drum for recalls and shouting off the rooftops to local news and tv outlets but in Stoughton they all remained quiet.  That Chairman should be ashamed of himself for making a professional appoinment into one of the most blatantly prejudicial I have ever withnessed.  I can see the next Headline - STOUGHTON SELECTS TM AT $158K - $12K LESS THAN THE MAYOR OF BOSTON AND $27K MORE THAN THE MAYOR OF BROCKTON!"-- Richard Thomas, New Resident and Former Union Steward in Boston


"Mark: I’ve been following the issue of replacing the town manager. Again, this town has a division of opinion of how this process should be accomplished. It is my understanding that this process began last November.  No motion was ever made to form a search committee.A few weeks ago, in a 5-0 unanimous vote the selectmen authorized Chairman Anastos to investigate the possibility of hiring Francis Crimmins to fill the town manager position. Throughout this process, which was all done openly, none of the other selectmen offered a better solution. No citizens came forward with any solution. It is my understanding that the police search which has been going on for approximately six months will end up costing the town roughly $20,000. With the exception of Mr. Anastos, none of the other selectmen were willing to step up to work to find a solution to this town vacancy. With all that’s going on in town, we need to fill this position as soon as possible.  With the town’s financial situation, this should be accomplished with as little expense as possible (without sacrificing the quality of whoever gets hired). It would be very easy for Mr. Anastos to take the easy route, and procrastinate.  He took charge of the situation, because nobody else would. Rather than being critical of Mr. Anastos, I am thankful that he is putting in the time, and doing what others have stepped back from."--Dave Nankin

"Phil, thank you for your kind comments about my letter.  The report I mentioned was based on data for the entire state and almost ¾ did not have an Asst. Town Manager. About 5 months ago, Billerica hired a Town Manager at $130k and they have a population of 40,000 and a budget of $122 million. I wish that objective data would support the proposed salary of $155-$160k but it does not. I want Judge Crimmins to succeed - that way the Finance Committee volunteers will not have to develop the entire budget with limited input from the BOS which has been the case over the past couple of years. It is never “fun or enjoyable” to be the person who says we cannot afford that or ask the “hard’ questions but that is the role that I am in and I want to honor the people who have given me that responsibility. At Town Meeting, I am often running around in the back of the room trying to identify strategies to save the Town money and fund staff positions. I know people see me because one time I made the mistake of being a little too loud and several heads turned and gave me the same look my Mom does when she is not thrilled with my actions."-- Holly Boykin, Chairperson, Finance Committee

"Stoughton residents: I appreciate Snyder's Stoughton allowing free political discourse, as the costs involved with Pennysaver ads can be burdensome!  Mr. Stagnone is correct that he was the only candidate who stated his position on the Board of Selectmen's process used to recruit a new town manager for Stoughton.  If you are wondering why others chose not to, I can explain my own position on the matter.  I will not jump into a fray without having complete knowledge of what processes have occurred that I might not be privy to.  Only 5 people get a package of information every week.  Did I like the outcome this matter?  I will reserve judgment , wait and see whether Judge Crimmins takes the job, and how well he does at it should that come to light.   Part of the job of the BOS is to make policy, so let's be clear and concise on this matter. There should,be in place a policy which describes how the BOS  proceed in filing vacant positions for Department Heads, Chiefs of Police and Fire, and the Town Manager.  As in the private sector, there should be job descriptions for every position for which they hire.  Without same, there is no basis for evaluation of the employees at any further date. On another topic, or did I mean Topix, let me state clearly that I am running my own campaign. The fabulous Mel is my treasurer. I am my campaign manager, and no one else.  Though I run a camera on Mr. Snyder's show, and the controls on Community Forum, no one is running Dori Frankel.  Those of you who know me know that I speak my own mind, never have been a puppet for anyone.  WTP is a defunct organization that served its own purpose years ago, and the critics of same should move on to another topic, or did I mean Topix.
We have the opportunity in our town to make change and make our town a better, safer, and more prosperous community of which we can all be proud to say we live here.  Let's get off the old stuff and work together.  As Bob O'Regan clearly stated, its time to move on together. Should anyone wish to speak directly with me, feel free to call, number is in the phone book."-- Dori Frankel, Candidate for Selectman

"To the Residents: Recently I commented on what I felt was a lack of a process by the Board of Selectmen for filling the Town Manager’s position. I was very concerned that by not having adopted any process (such as a job description and application deadline), all of the progress that the Selectmen have made in the past 2 years in moving our town forward could be lost and this would overshadow any candidate coming into the position of Town Manager. As events have unfolded, my position on this process represents the views of the vast majority of townspeople who made them known at the Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday and elsewhere. Raising my concerns may not have been very popular with some, but it is my position and it reflects what I would have done if I were your Selectman. We know from recent history in town that past practices that were less than “open and transparent” led to costly and embarrassing mistakes. Should I be elected as your Selectman, you know how I would have proceeded on this important issue. No other candidate for selectman publicly weighed in either way on this discussion. The decision about who will be the next Town Manager has been made. As a town, we must not let our disagreements keep us from working together. If Judge Crimmins accepts the offer to be our next Town Manager, I am sure we will be able to work together and continue to move Stoughton forward."--John J. Stagnone, Candidate for Selectman

"Mark, I enjoy reading your web site on a regular basis.  I really enjoy the email section even if sometimes I lose a filling (or two).  Thanks for keeping all of us informed.  There are always 2 sides to every coin and it is just great to be able to get to your web site and see what is happening in town and also to voice my opinion. I do apologize though, on my last letter to you, I misspelled a word after I poked fun at a spelling error of a previous writer.     For 24 years I have been the owner operator of a landscape business in town and the people that I hire get paid what the position pays but on a few rare occasions, I have paid much more to highly motivated workers or workers that could get more done with less effort than what I have paid in the past.  Sometimes you have to pay more to get more.  That's what we have here. 
    Holly Boykin makes a lot of sense in her letter but the pay scales that Holly wrote of do not show if those towns pay an assistant town manager. She wrote that "the Town of Watertown performed a study reviewing the salary structure and benefit package for Town Managers. They found out the average salary and benefit package for a Town Manager was $151,681". That means that there are some higher and some lower.  I know that Mark S. now has an assistant in Plymouth.  How much does his assistant get paid?  Does that decrease the manager's salary since it cuts his workload?  I think that this study assumes that the averages are statistically the same.  They are not.  With studies like this, there are too many variables that have a direct effect on the result.  An assistant town manager also gets a high salary.   I am sure that in order to reach their average, they listed salaries of managers only and didn't take into consideration that most have assistants.  Just something for everyone to think about since we don't have an assistant in Stoughton."-- Phil Yaitanes

"Dear Stoughton Residents and Business Owners: At a recent Department Head meeting, I was asked by someone why the Finance Committee does not simply go along with the Board of Selectmen budget as presented to us. My reply, was that the Town Charter required the Finance Committee to be a separate entity and to provide a method to ensure that there were checks and balance in developing the budget and Town priorities. I also replied on a more informal note, it is also the place where Department Heads can come and give us information that for some reason was not provided to the Board of Selectmen. So why should I speak up about the Town Manager position , it is because I owe it to every taxpayer and resident in the community that we get the best bang for the buck , that we act fairly and impartially in terms of process and salary compensation is fair and reasonable. More importantly, that the decision does not create a precedent whereby future decisions and salaries are set at a level that we simply cannot afford. As a former mentor once told me, what makes hiring in the public sector different than hiring in the private sector besides lower salaries is that we are using other people’s money to pay for that position. Therefore, you must follow an objective criteria in the hiring of that person and ensure that certain steps are followed because it is those standards that will either standup in public scrutiny or create public discontent. Always remember, that whatever decision you come to as a public official should be able to stand up to the “it if looks likes a duck, smells like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck” if not then it should not be used in hiring someone especially if it sets a poor precedent.

In January, 2009, the Town of Watertown performed a study reviewing the salary structure and benefit package for Town Managers. They found out the average salary and benefit package for a Town Manager was $151,681. This translates into an average salary of $120,000 and a benefits package of S30,000. Both the salary and benefit package offered to the new Town Manager is higher and therefore will lead to a poor precedent and have a rippling effect when hiring other people and in contract negotiations. Also, just 2 months ago our own Town Manager left us for a new position in Plymouth, one of the largest towns in Massachusetts, where his base salary is $142,000.. In the near future, we are going to be hiring a number of Department Heads and we owe it to the community to make sure that we can simply state the logic behind the decision and to ensure that it was a fair process. Otherwise, we could hire a local CPA to become the next Town Treasurer and pay them the going marker rate or even worse someone whose only experience was Chair of the Finance Committee. I have also learned a lot in this process, most importantly that we need to have a simple process to identify what are the Town’s priorities, to develop salary schedules based on comparable data and most importantly to emphasize to my Finance Committee members that our decisions must pass the test mentioned above. There also needs to be better communication between all of the leadership branches of town, Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, School Committee and Town Meeting Members so we can move the town forward and unified when not only the Town has a surplus but more importantly when we are facing deficits. I have had the honor of working with very committed volunteers and residents through extremely difficult fiscal times. My role has always been to keep us moving forward and to make sure whatever decision we made could be clearly explained and that there was an objective criteria used to develop it. It doesn’t mean that we always agreed but at least I could explain it to you in a method that you could understand.

When Judge Crimmins transfers into his new role as Town Manager, he will have to face a daunting task, to move us forward while managing a deficit of at least $2million as of today and without getting lost in the Town’s politics. I am starting to learn and accept to say “It is what it is”. I am hoping that despite our disagreements, we can unite together to weather the fiscal storm that the Town is facing. Otherwise, it will cost the town not only financially but more importantly further divide the community. Good luck Judge Crimmins, the Finance Committee looks forward to working with you on the budget for FY’11 and for years to come."--Holly Boykin, Chairperson, Finance Committee

"Dear Residents: All of our Board of Selectmen(BOS) meetings are open to the public and broadcast on the local access cable channel. The BOS discussed  
finding a replacement for Mark S at our November 12th meeting and subsequent meetings. The only thing we agreed to do was put an ad in 
the Beacon ( a publication for municipalities) which we later learned ( at our meeting on December 15th) did not occur. No agreement was 
reached on hiring a search firm, forming a search committee or defining any formal process. All Selectmen are free to make motions, propose solutions or discuss whatever they choose. No motions were  ever brought forth defining a hiring process for the next Town Manager. With no formal agreement on how to proceed, I offered to seek out and contact potential candidates( to assess their interest)  including town managers within the region. All members of the BOS were free to do the same. Over the course of two months I spoke with dozens of potential candidates. On January 19th at a regularly scheduled meeting of the BOS I revealed the name of my preferred candidate, Judge Crimmins and after much discussion and deliberation, I asked the if the members for permission to proceed with  negotiations. All members were allowed to express their views and the members voted unanimously (5-0) to proceed. In the final analysis the BOS fulfilled their responsibilities under the Town Charter and complied with all open meeting laws. Five members together charted  this course of action and no one acted alone. Perhaps we would have 
taken a different path had the ad been placed in the Beacon and perhaps we would have received many resumes but we'll never know. I  can tell you that I spoke with many town managers, town 
administrators, lawyers, consultants and other elected officials during the recruitment, there wasn't as much interest as I had hoped for and in my opinion Judge Crimmins was the best candidate I met  with. I have thought a lot about what happened the last ten weeks. I think the BOS should have been more attentive to this matter, perhaps more diligent. We all share responsibility for our collective decisions, we share the credit equally and we share the blame equally as well. I suspect we have all learned something from this adventure,  I know I have. In the final analysis though, we have recruited a very  capable leader in Judge Crimmins, someone that we all can believe in. The BOS are five volunteers trying to do their very best for this 
town. I admire and respect the work that each one does and I am proud to serve with all of them. The BOS may not have provided you with a 
unanimous vote on our new Town Manager but I know the character of this board. We will come together and rally unanimously around our  new Chief Executive. The time for second guessing is over, it is time  to build a better future for Stoughton." Steve Anastos, Chairman, Stoughton Board of Selectmen

"We voted these people in office, let them do their job.  One writer is "disguested" with what went on at the meeting, (One misspelled word and I just can't read any further, my eyes keep going back to the misspelled word).  I always thought that the town manager was an appointed position by the highest executive authority of the town (Selectmen).  Why would the Board waste our time looking for, what Mr. O'Regan referred to as "attracting and hiring the most qualified person for the job"?   Does he expect a line of Harvard graduates and Judges to apply?  Mr. Stagnone gave a link to your readers because he was doing research on the process for recruiting a town manager, WHY?  Again, I say it, let the selectmen do their job.   I agree with Mr. Mokrisky's comments on Judge Crimmins. I will quote him- "Fran Crimmins exceeds those requirements. He has been a Selectmen, served as Town Moderator not to mention his college education. Fran is a person who knows Stoughton. He knows the people, the issues and the problems that occurred in the past".  If these people really believe that there will be a better candidate than Francis Crimmins and prefer the Town of Stoughton to spend thousands of dollars on the "process" searching for one, then they will be in for a surprise.  The best candidate is already in front of them.  On the hundreds of meetings I have watched or attended, I always cringed when the town manager would say to the Selectmen... I will have to check with Town Council and get back to you...Cha Ching!   Let the selectmen make the decisions that we elected them to make."-- Phil Yaitanes

"Hi Mark-I am beginning to think we have a love fest with the Crimmins family.   Just last year, this same Board of Selectman put in another Crimmins family member as Acting Town Clerk.  Judge Crimmins sister-in-law is a Town employee and I believe his wife also works for the Town in some capacity.  I stilll have yet to hear from the Board of Selectmen on how they plan to handle the conflict of interest that will arise when his brother, Barry appears before them. What was also interesting to watch was that most of the people that spoke up for Judge Crimmins were the old 'Townies' and the people who spoke about having a professional process were 'new' members of the community.  The most hypocritical item and a slap in the face to Town Residents was the actions by 2 members of the Board of Selectman - Anderson and Anastos who tried to have us hire an HR Manager on 2 different occassions over the past year to professionalize the Town.  They gave in to political pressure and would not even make sure an ad was placed and then scapegoated the Town Manager for not putting it in.  I mean there are 3 secretary's on the 3rd floor and no one could place an ad in the last 2 months.  Imagine if Town Meeting had approve that position, then the process they used to select Judge Crimmins would have never been done - I guess today they are happy that we don't have an HR Manager."--A. Miller

"Dear Mr. Snyder: My condolescences to the Town of Stoughton.  In the past 7 years, I have watched my family's property values decline while Stoughton's name has been blasted by the media for placing endited officers on paid leave, having police officers convicted of crimes, probes by the FBI for criminal collusion , town services dwindle and school programs decline.  Last night, we set a new precedent by not even making the candidate be interviewed in a public process.  Chairman Anastos misled the community by stating that the Judicial Code of Conduct forbid him from interviewing in public which in reality is NOT TRUE.  We heard clearly that Judge Crimmins CHOSE not to intereview it was a personal decision because he is a local judge.  However, he SHOULD have been interviewed with the caveat that we did not discuss pending cases before the Court. A TRUE LEADER is not someone who just thinks about today but how their actions will impact tomorrow.  The 3 members who voted for Judge Crimmins showed their poor leadership skills by cowering behind Town Charter and Town Counsel to justify their role in not having a professional process, a potentially outrageous package - his salary may be $150-$160k but add in all of the other perks and it is a $200k package despite what Chairman Anastos would lead you to believe and also the touting out a group of old Townies to talk about how it was forty years ago and why their dear friend Judge Crimmins should be the Town Manager. 
At least Mr. Anzivino and Ms. Walsh had the decency to admit that they had made a mistake. We are now a town divided again and it is soley due to the lack of leadership by Chairman Anastos.  The victims will be the taxpayers who are going to have to pay for an exorbitant package and Judge Crimmins himself because he is going to be under such a microscope that he probably won't be able to take the Town forward.  I will be waiting for the next news story to come out because it is only a matter of time."--Patrick Kennnedy
 
"Dear Mr. Snyder: I am disguested by what went on at the Selectmen's mtg tonight.  Two of the most earnest remarks were made by Ms. Monroe and Ms. Boykin.  Ms. Monroe stated that an ad could be place to run online in the Beacon tomorrow and applicants could move quickly thru the process as allowed by the Town Charter.  Mr Anastos misled people by stating that an although not required by town charter he had chosen to placed the ad in a February 12th paper issue and give 30 days for applicants to fit into the timeline he wanted.  Mr. Anderson compounded the problem by identifying the fact that we were hiring a new Police Chief in the next week probably which means that the selected applicant would start in early March.  Even with the timeline Mr. Anastos made the Police Chief would be operating without a town manager for about a 3-6 weeks. Ms. Boykin was on target with her comment that by selecting a candidate with a 3-2 vote, we would be moving back to the days of prior boards who were not productive and we now have added to the fuel that we are a town still divided. I could tell by her words that she was striving to have the Board identify a method to positively move the entire community forward and unite behind the new town manager.  I noted also that in Ms. Fleming's comments she neglected to say that although Mr. Farrington and herself were selected in similiar fashion - all of the Selectmen stood united in their support.  Judge Crimmins does not have united support from his soon-to-be new bosses."--
Fran Larson

"Mark, I am shocked that a few people are questioning an appointment that the selectmen are deciding on for town manager.  The candidate is one of the most highly respected residents in the town and surely will beat out any competition for the position.  The main point that I feel should be made that these people that are against this appointment because of the high salary offer.  I feel that they fail to see the big picture here.  They should look at what the town has paid in legal costs in the past.  This salary increase is "peanuts" compared to what the town will be saving in legal costs from town council having a man with this level of legal experience as town manager.   I am for the appointment without the added expense and the process of searching for a better candidate."-- Phil Yaitanes

"Mark: I am asking for your help on an issue that is really a problem in the center of town. I believe we really need to put up those signs that say that it is state law to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. I spoke with acting chief T. Murphy last summer about this and he said they didn't want to do it because people tend to hit the signs (note the irony here) and that they were working on changes in the center. The changes are not helping. Because the  center is so congested and "every man for himself" attitude, it causes even the most passive driver to become agressive upon arrival and departure of the center. As a pedestrian that walks to the train station every day, this then causes drivers not to want to stop anywhere "they don't have to", such as at a crosswalk. There have been so many pedestrians hit lately, just yesterday 2 people were killed in different accidents.I have also e-mailed the town hall with no response. I would really appreciate your help with this, just posting it on your website would be a start, and any suggestions would also be appreciated."--Jean Burns

"Please come out tonight at 6:30 p.m. (1/26/10)  to Town Hall and let your Selectmen know that you do not approve of the process (there is none) to appoint a new town manager.  A special, short-notice Selectmen's meeting was posted on Friday for this meeting on Tuesday.  It is the minimum time allowed under the Open Meeting Law.  Why the rush? As residents, voters and taxpayers, we have not been told what has been done to define the search criteria to fill this position, how the search would be conducted, or whether and what backgrounds any applicants presented.  Whether or not you know any of the Selectmen, call them and e-mail them to let them know you would like them to stop and create a real hiring process.  We have seen and are paying the price for short cuts taken before, and in saying this I do not mean to suggest whoever made the decisions wanted to hurt the town at all any more than I think those involved now want to do so.
The qualifications and hiring criteria have never been announced. The position has not been advertised or posted. For too long, we have not let town officials know when we disagree with decisions or how they are made  We have let the mistakes happen that have cost us dearly.  The way the votes appear, the town manager could be appointed by the vote of only 1 person (2 -2 tie, chairman votes to hire) and without any public process or interview.  This should NOT be allowed to happen.  Out of deference to his successor, Mr. Mokrisky should take himself out of making the decision.  A reasonably-timed search process would allow the search to be completed for interviews and vote immediately after the election. We have not been told any reason why we should compensate this candidate with an unprecedented package worth $200,000 +/- or exactly what that will produce for Stoughton. So, we can expect the contract will actually cost us much more than that -- it's how things happen.  By comparison, the Mayor of Gloucester (pop. 28,000) is full time with similar duties as our town manager.  Salary:  $95,000.  Neighboring towns pay in the range of $130,000 for professional town managers.  We have not been told any reason why we should pay this candidate $200,000 +/- or exactly what that will produce for Stoughton.  No one questions the personal character, education, love for the town, and gifted personality. What we have not seen are skills and talents connected to the job of managing a municipal government that has the challenges we face:  negotiating contracts with 7 unions by Town Meeting; budget deficits; health insurance costs that are running away; pressure from the state with railroad expansion and 40B projects; and more. As residents, voters and taxpayers, we have been provided no information or analysis about the benefit to the town in proceeding this way.  Instead, to question the process and ask for information produces a response directed at the personality of the candidate and not the public and business decision of this hiring process.  This coming year Stoughton faces a $3.8 million budget deficit.  We owe $600,000 in unfunded payments related to last year's payroll.  Insurance and step increases place us further behind the ball.  This large payroll increase will boost our required contribution to the Norfolk County Retirement System.  This will upset the salary scale throughout Town Hall.  Please show your support for good government in Stoughton.  Come to this Selectmen's meeting.  Protest any action on the town manager appointment until a competent job search is done.  This could be completed within a few weeks.  This candidate's name could stay in the mix.  We can't know who the best person is for the job if we do not let anyone apply for it! WE NEED TO BE THERE. Thank you."-- Bob O'Regan

"Dear Mark: The following is a sentence from the December 31, 2009 Massachusetts SJC decision."It is essential to a democratic form of government that the public have broad access to the decisions made by its elected officials and to the way in which the decisions are reached" (emphasis added). Foudy v. Amherst-Pelham Regional Sch. Comm., 402 Mass. 179, 184 (1988). In a decision announced this morning, the state Supreme Judicial Court admonished the Wayland School Committee for discussing the “professional competence” of its schools superintendent in an executive session under the Open Meeting Law (G.L. c. 39, 23B), where the law explicitly requires such discussions to be help in an open session. See,  DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT vs. SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF WAYLAND (SJC No. 10406).  More significantly, however, the Court ruled that emails between individual school committee members preceding the executive session violated the OML.  The emails were kicked off by the committee’s chairman, and constituted an online discussion of the superintendent’s job performance.  The Court ruled that even emails exchanges that were not between a quorum of members still violated the OML where the evidence showed that the committee engaged in the email exchanges purposely to circumvent the OML. This is the first appellate-level decision applying the OML to email communications, but is more important for the principle that even communications between a non-quorum of board members, whether electronically or face-to-face, can still violate the OML if the intent is to circumvent the statute.The question is, with whom did Mr. Anastos discuss the Town Manager recruitment proposal?  Am I to believe that he never mentioned this to another BOS member before the meeting?"--David Camacho


"Hi Mark, After reading Mr. Lippitts email I wanted to say something.  The reason that Scott Brown won the election is that the voter's of this state are fed up with not being listened to.  The government is being run by a democrat majority and are passing things that a lot of the people in this country don't want.  They are spending money like crazy and increasing our debt.  The stimulous package isn't helping unemployment. We are still in an economic mess, yet they want to throw more money into this health care plan, which in turn is going to lead to higher taxes, and there is NO way around it, no matter what the politicians are saying.  You can't spend money the way they are without raising taxes to pay for it.   People have been speaking up across the country and calling their senators and congressmen and women, yet they are still doing what they want and not listening to us.  With Scott Brown's victory on Tuesday they are being forced to listen to us, which is what we are paying them to do."--Heather McGinley
 

"Mr. Snyder: This letter is in response to your opinion piece on the Senate election. You shouldn’t be surprised by the so-called name calling you endured on your Facebook page (you poor thing) because, from your explanation of the “perfect storm” that led to Scott Brown’s win, it is clear that you buy into some of the half-truths and downright lies propagated by those that want the current administration in Washington to fail. The proposed health care bills (have you actually read them?) that you claim the Democrats were trying to “shove down our throats” were heavily favored in every public poll.  That changed only when a torrent of misinformation and lies was unleashed on the airwaves. 

In these public declarations by Republican backers (including Mr. Brown’s own campaign ads), the bills were called a “government takeover of health care” and also claimed that, if passed, you wouldn’t be able to choose your doctor and, laughibly, that illegal aliens would be provided with coverage.  All these things are patently false, and if you had read even the bills’ summaries you, and everyone else, would know that. Fear is a powerful thing, and if a candidate can scare people sufficiently he or she can coast to victory.  So what if that fear is based on half-truths? Anything to win an election and impede Obama’s agenda, right?

A perfect example of this is Mr. Brown’s contention that when Ms. Coakley said, “We have to get taxes up there,” she meant that she favored raising tax rates.  In reality, that quote was taken from an exchange where Ms. Coakley was talking about attracting more businesses to the Commonwealth in order to increase the Massachusetts tax base. Mr. Brown knew Ms. Coakley was not a call for raisng our taxes, yet he spread this lie in his ads and when speaking in public. When a lie is spoken out loud often enough, people start to think it is the truth. THAT is a big reason that Mr. Brown won the election. Shame on you for condoning that practice."--Andrew Lippitt, Stoughton

" Mark:  In doing research on the process for recruiting a town manager, I found this link to the MMMA's recruitment handbook. This handbook has a lot of good guidance on how to proceed with recruiting a town manager. This ties into my position on how I think we should have gone about filling the town manager's position and may be of interest to your readers."--John Stagnone

"Mark –Some information posted on your site was called to my attention, so I would appreciate the chance to spell out my concerns with the town manager selection process.  Dropping a 'bombshell', as you put it, with the name of an individual, regardless of how well respected he is, has prematurely placed this person into a public discussion before the Selectman have told the residents or any other interested applicants what qualifications they have set to fill the position and how they will go about doing it.  It leaves us to ask whether they have set any qualifications or have a strategy to fill the position.  Townspeople should not have to ask this question.  A well designed, focused search process should not take too long.  It is worth the effort. The concern shared by many others across town, I have learned throughout today, is dissatisfaction with an ad hoc selection process for the town manager.  Shortcuts and flawed decisions have resulted in many of the problems that have embarrassed us and that are costing our treasury dearly.  I assume those making the decisions did not want to hurt the town at all, but good faith is not enough. It is an unacceptable response by one Selectman that they do not owe the public a duty to set and explain criteria and process for making a decision because of language in the Town Charter.  This points out two basic responsibilities:  the Selectmen must exercise good judgment when making decisions within their power, and ensure public confidence when doing so (which does not mean we all have to agree).  Public confidence relies on the public being informed of a process by which decisions are made and the good judgment shown by elected leaders in making them.  These are interdependent.  With all the town has been through, we need to see the Selectmen take these steps consistently.  Selection of a town manager, which is such an important decision, is precisely a time when these principles should be on the greatest display.  It is truly unfortunate for an elected public official to suggest that the Town Charter makes the official unaccountable to adopt, explain and follow an open, public, clear and competent decision making process. 
Despite your quip that these concerns may be “textbook” government, in fact they go to the heart of why many residents of the town are so disappointed with – if not disgusted by – town government.  Many of us remain hopeful that our new Board of Selectmen will work to correct this, and since 2007 we have elected “reform” candidates.  Shortcuts that could seem reasonable in other places or at other times are unsuitable here and now.   They suggest the same old way of doing business.  It is a mistake to trivialize the importance of good process to good decisions and public confidence in them.  As for comments about the Senate election, the lesson there is about open government and “reform” candidates following through with their promises to the voters.  The election vented anger with how Democrats have abused the super majority in both Washington and on Beacon Hill.  Applied to our situation, the election means that decisions must be made openly and with full public disclosure.
So, if the Selectmen decide, in an open meeting, to state the selection criteria, post the opening, and also permit any or all of them to speak with and recruit potential candidates, that would be progress.  If they also decide on a rapid, focused evaluation of candidates, this would be a good step.  But nothing is more important in this selection than for the town and every candidate to believe that the selection was based solely on merit, in a fair and open process, designed for the purpose of attracting and hiring the most qualified person for the job.  I do not believe this can be accomplished without a change of course.  Saying so is difficult precisely because of my high personal regard for the individual mentioned last night.   Thank you."--Bob O'Regan,Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 1

 

"Dear Stoughton Board of Selectmen: It has come to my attention that the building inspector in Sharon is of the opinion that the land to the west of the edge of the pavement of Bay Road from Plain Street to Mountain Street (Sharon side) is owned by Sharon.  He feels that Stoughton maintains the actual road, but Sharon owns the land in the right of way.  I feel this is incorrect because the old maps and laws clearly show that Stoughton owns to the old stone wall to the west of the edge of pavement.  This should be of concern to Stoughton because it is unlikely that the building inspector is the only Sharon employee who feels that Sharon owns the right of way between Bay Road and the homeowners’ property.  If Sharon thinks it owns the property but does not: (a).      It is possible the Sharon tree warden could authorize the removal of Stoughton trees and they would be removed before Stoughton could do anything. (b).      Sharon could authorize the laying of water pipes on Stoughton land. (c).      The building inspector and other employees in Sharon are incorrectly enforcing Sharon Town bylaws on Stoughton property. (d).      Sharon could be planning to widen Bay Road on the Sharon side. If Sharon owns the property: (a)      Why does Stoughton pay to remove overhanging tree limbs, etc. on Sharon property? (b).      Why does Stoughton have to pay for a guardrail on Sharon property for the recently collapsed culvert? I feel that it is particularly important to resolve this issue with the looming Brickstone project and for any future actions that might be taken on this strip of property along Bay Road. Thank you."--Cheryl Weinstein, Coach Lane, Sharon

"Mark, Although I don't do this often I felt it of the utmost importance to respond to your website article regarding the Selectmen's Meeting last night.
 Last night Senator Elect Scott Brown a Republican made history. He was elected to a seat held by Ted Kennedy most likely the best known Democratic Senator in the country for almost 47 years. How did he do that? By knowing his base. He reached out to people, not voters, he ran to represent people like himself and overwhelmingly earned their support. I read the statements of John Stagnone and Bob O'Regan with great displeasure and the conclusion that they simply don't know the people of Stoughton. They criticize "the process". For the record there is no law, rule or regulation that states the Selectmen must use "a process". The Town Charter is the document, which governs the operation, which the Selectmen must follow when appointing a Town Manager. The Town charter states a Town Manager "shall be a person specially fitted by education, training, and experience to perform the duties of said office.  Fran Crimmins exceeds those requirements. He has been a Selectmen, served as Town Moderator not to mention his college education. Fran is a person who knows Stoughton. He knows the people, the issues and the problems that occurred in the past. We need a person who knows Stoughton, who can bring people with different views together, help our town heal from the past and move forward.  John Stagnone and Bob O'Regan can continue to talk about "process". I want to talk about getting Stoughton moving forward and bringing people together to work for the good of all. If Fran Crimmins is interested in the position, he has my vote. It's time to stop beating things to death and put "People First not Politics."Our town has gone through some very troubling times in the past years. Some of the damage that has been done in some cases may never be repaired. People have been hurt personally, employees of our town have violated the trust of "the people of Stoughton". Individuals have been accused of wrong doings not be documentation but by rumor or what they believe in. It is time for Stoughton to pick themselves up and take a stand. Its time to move out the people who do not want to make."--Joe Mokrisky, Selectman

"Mark: Through the 80’s and 90’s and the early 2000 years, Stoughton H.S. baseball was one of the most successful and respected programs in the state. The program achieved two state titles, five league championships, and sixteen MIAA tournament appearances including seven out of eight seasons from 1996 through 2003. These years also produced a Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach with 400 wins. More significantly though, a plethora off grateful and respectful players who knew how to play the game and who attributed their success, both on and off the field, to being involved in Stoughton High’s baseball program were produced. However, times have changed. From 2004 until the present, Stoughton H.S. baseball has fallen on hard times. The program has had six straight losing seasons, some with only one or two wins. It has become a barely competitive program with a gross lack of interest. Are the problems poor coaching? Is it a lack of talent? Is it possibly an attitudinal change by today’s student – athlete? I believe that these are all contributing factors but only to an extent. In my opinion, I think the problem exists more so because of the egotistical, selfish and disruptive endeavors of two power hungry 'townies' that, hence forth, will be referred to as 'the Curmudgeon' and 'the PuppyDog'. For ANYTHING to be a success all of the parts have to work together; all of the participants have to be on the same page. In every town or city across the country, the residents want to see the high school baseball team (or all the teams, for that matter) be as successful as possible. Not in Stoughton! The above mentioned twosome has done more to undermine the efforts of the high school coaches than can be imagined. They have created a virtual war between the high school, the American Legion program, and the Senior Babe Ruth program. The infuriating part of all this is that the Curmudgeon and the PuppyDog unconscionably, use the players as pawns. They tell the players that the current coach isn’t knowledgeable enough; that he doesn’t know how to do this or how to do that; that they will be the coaches next year because they are smarter. The Curmudgeon has gone so far as to tell the players, as he puts it, “the School Committee is in my back pocket”. I have learned that the PuppyDog has now started a petition to have the H.S. coach removed and is making frequent visits to Stoughton H.S. to promote himself to the new Athletic Director. This is intolerable. In the summer, they discourage the better players from playing American Legion baseball so they can put together a championship caliber team that competes in an inferior league, a league with teams made up of high school Varsity hopefuls, players not capable of making a schools Varsity, or players just looking to have fun without the commitment. Most of the states American Legion teams are made up of schools better players and those who fit into the coaches’ next seasons plan. Most are coached by the high school coach. In fact, some states have the high school coach also coach American Legion as a job requirement for continuity. The Curmudgeon, who ironically received an award from the MBCA a few years ago for service to youth baseball in Stoughton, also undermined the schools Fall baseball program by introducing a second team so “ more kids can participate” when actually, he wanted to coach a member of his family as well as lay the groundwork for what’s happening now. This divided the players instead of bringing them together and created awkward and difficult situations for the H.S. coaches. The current Stoughton H.S. baseball coach has a difficult task ahead of him. He tries hard and knows he has a lot to learn but with the Curmudgeon and the PuppyDog working behind the scenes and undermining everything he does, it might be an impossible task. The PuppyDog volunteered to coach the returning Varsity players in the aforementioned Senior Babe Ruth summer league and would run the H.S. system, play the returning players to the Varsity as well as those expected to move up. He then proceeded to do exactly as he and the Curmudgeon pleased and began their campaign to create doubt and lack of confidence in the H.S. coach. Their self promotion plan began in earnest. They couldn’t “man up” and face the coach and tell him how they felt and what they wanted to do. This is a technique used by the Curmudgeon many times. A good example is when he went behind the scenes to have the town government approve naming the Varsity baseball field at Stoughton after one of his cronies who had never even stepped on the field. This infuriated the players, parents, teachers and even some town officials as they were waiting for the coach who had been responsible for the previous era’s success to retire so they could approach the town administrators about naming the field after him. This injustice affected the Curmudgeon very little as it just solidified his blustering and power hungry way. Baseball is a very hard game to play. It is the ultimate skill game requiring strength, speed, agility and tremendous hand – eye coordination. Regardless, just about every parent who lived thinks they know all about baseball. Why? When their children are able to go outside and have acquired a little bit of coordination, the first thing they do is play catch. THAT is the beginning of baseball. Also, being the national pastime and every fathers dream, all the children play Little League and Babe Ruth, get their required three innings of play and get to listen to the parents tell them they were great, they are a lot better than so – and – so and the coach doesn’t know what he’s doing. As a result, we have the Curmudgeon and the PuppyDog. The Curmudgeon talks a good game, especially behind the coaches back, yet asks questions and makes remarks that make me wonder if he knows whether the ball is pumped or stuffed. The PuppyDog, as far as I know, never even played baseball. Yet these two carry on and on about what they know, what they can do, how much they’ve won and on and on until nausea sets in. I for one, who has been on more diamonds than these two have seen in stores, predict that if they were allowed to coach the Stoughton H.S. team, they would be so outclassed and outcoached in the ever tough Hockomock League, that they wouldn’t win a game. The moral of this story: If you want to help, help. If you think you can do a better job, apply if and when the job opens up. Be upfront not a behind the scenes coward; don’t use the players to undermine the coach under the guise of wanting to see them improve. Get on the same page, skills and techniques wise, from Little League all the way through high school for continuity and success. Support each other. After all, everything should be done with the players in mind, not ones self. Forget YOUR League Championships and MY winning percentage All of the baseball programs previous success was, without a doubt, the result of the players working hard every day, buying into the coaches philosophy and methods and the TOTAL support of all those involved from the “outside”. The former coach will readily admit that he didn’t throw a pitch or swing a bat or score a run to contribute to the success. It was all about the players. Stoughton H.S. was on the baseball map for twenty six years. To see those days return, those involved who really care should dedicate themselves to providing all the support they can. This has to be done without the likes of the Curmudgeon and the PuppyDog, of course." Bob Ashley ( Stoughton H.S. baseball coach 1980 – 1990; 1994 – 2007)

"Hello Mr. Snyder. I'm contacting you this evening because we're still fighting the developer on Pondview.  This Thursday there's a meeting at the town hall, and we're concerned that the outcome of the meeting may affect Stoughton Schools. As you may know, Pondview was created as a Local Initiative Project, or LIP.  This designation is supposed to give more control to the town, because it is a partnership between the town and the developer.  This project was approved for residents Over 55, with the understanding that such a designation would discourage families with children and would encourage retirement-like living.  It has 79 detached homes, but there is no individual ownership, instead it's an association. The developer is still asking to remove the Over 55 restriction.  I believe that this will encourage families with children to buy these houses, and I am VERY concerned about the effect that this will have on the schools.  The schools already have money problems.  Fees for school buses.  Fees for Marching Band.  Fees for athletics.  Classes being cut because of teachers being cut.  Now I read in the paper that the schools will have to cut more, and still this developer wants to change the rules to which he agreed and encourage kids in a development that was never intended for them. Can you offer any guidance about how we can try to get people to attend the meeting?  This is likely the end of the public comment on this issue.  The meeting is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:30 PM at the town hall.   It is the Zoning Board of Appeals. Please let me know if you have any suggestions that you can offer."--Vik Solem

"Colleagues and friends: I am writing to ask for help.  As many of you may be aware Haiti, is going through a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. A magnitude earthquake of 7.0 devastated the capitol of Haiti on Tuesday evening leaving thousands dead and millions homeless. The prime minister of Haiti is anticipating the death toll to rise over 100,000. Two personal stories:

My cousin Sebastian whom went home to Haiti on college break from Salem State wrote on his facebook today, 'many of my friends and family are dead'.  Yesterday he wrote, 'I am alive right now but I am not sure how long I will be safe'.  Like thousands of Haitian's my cousin and his mother whom are both American Citizens are sleeping outside at night due to fears that their home will continue to crumble. Unfortunately, the internet message from my cousin has been the only communication we have been able to receive like thousands of others in the US and abroad whom are worried about their loved ones.  My husband's Aunt and uncle who owned a successful catering company in Haiti and whom were able to stay in their home shortly after the earthquake, had to flee their home yesterday when it began to crumble. Due to the lack of electricity in Haiti they are unable to provide meals for themselves and or their countrymen, 'unable to provide food, something they have done on daily basis for decades before the earthquake'. Today, I also received word that a cousin and her daughter may have died. Like so many, my husband and I are still missing many members of our family fear the worse. The most devastating part of this is that the earthquake hit the area of Haiti where many diplomats, physicians, teachers, and professionals live, so it is presumed that not only did Haiti lose their physical structure but also the many essential individuals needed to provide help and maintain financial, health, and educational stability. Banks, gas stations, electricity, super markets have been destroyed.    Please, since much of the infrastructure has been destroyed the best means for help is via financially through credible and reputable sources.     HOW TO HELP .   In addition if you are a nurse or physician, American Airlines, will fly you for free to assist directly with the severe medical needs that many in Haiti desperately need. 212-697-9767. I sincerely appreciate any help that you are able to provide. Please forward to others who may be able to assist."--

Gabrielle P Abelard PMHCNS,BC, Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Abelard Psychotherapy & Associates, Stoughton

"Hello Mark Snyder: On Wednesday January 6, 2010, we attended the wake of Scott Herr, a son of old friends.  Scott, a 2009 Canton High graduate and former Canton High hockey player, was killed in a tragic car accident on New Year’s Day in Buffalo New York while visiting friends for the holiday.  

While waiting in the 1 ½ hour line to pay our respects, we observed Stoughton High’s hockey team along with their coach, Dan Mark, exit from the Dockray Thomas Funeral home in Canton.  It was a touching moment to see the rivalry left on the playing field and to see Stoughton’s young men show a force of compassion for a family suffering from such a devastating loss. In light of the constant negative news concerning our town we would like to let others know how proud we felt at that moment to say we are from Stoughton and of our young men who were expressing concern for the grieving family of a hockey rival, yet comrade. We also would like to note our appreciation and respect for Dan Mark and other dedicated teachers and coaches of the Stoughton schools who help to instill in our children the morals and values we know our town maintains."--Debbie & Bob Barry

"Hi Mark: On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, I wanted to send along our thanks to all the folks who helped make the Selectmen Holiday Party for Volunteers a 
success. Thanks to Mike Sammarco (the best chicken and meatballs) and his gang Dennis Gada, Alan Venterosa, Lisa Leif, Nancy and Chris Patterson. Thanks to Avon Food Company for donating the food, to Nelson Rodrigues and Home Remodeling for donating the beverages and to Carlos Arruda and Dunkin Donuts for donating the coffee. Thanks to Denise Brahm-Lochiatto for her assistance and to our lovely, smiling bartenders Jessie Pozner, Krissy Berteletti and Christina Anastos. Thanks to the financial contributors (who asked to remain anonymous) 
and to all that brought items for the Stoughton food pantries. A very special thanks goes to John and Val Russell from the Russell Insurance Agency for generously catering the entire affair. Lastly, 
we want to thank you Mark, for providing a medium that allows us to highlight the good deeds and the good people of Stoughton. Happy New Year, lets make it a good one!!"-- Steve Anastos

"Mark:  Last night the BOS within their consent agenda was the approval of Stoughton's Affordable Housing Plan to be forwarded onto DHCD for their approval.   Stoughton is one of a handful of cities and town's in the State to have an approved Housing Plan. As Chairman of the Housing Policy Committee I would like to recognize and thank, Robert O'Regan, Dan Pessia from the Zoning
Board, Arthur Slate and Peter Buckley from the Housing Authority, Joseph Scardino, chairman of the Planning Board, Deborah Sovinee from the Redevelopment Authority, John Anzivino Board of Selectman and Joseph Laydon our Town Planner. Thank you."--John Stagnone

"Mark, I have just read Mr. Anastos response to my posting regarding the absence of some selectman marching in the Veteran’s Day Parade and it is clear that he believes I was challenging his patriotism.  I want to make clear that this is NOT the case.  I never intended for my post to infer that any of them might not support our veterans or our veteran’s agent, or the full funding of the budget – and I am sorry it was interpreted that way.  And, I do understand that some companies work on Veteran’s Day.  Mine has in the past as well, and I did attend the parade.  My post was, in fact, much more innocent than that.  I simply thought that if more of our town leadership made a showing it might inspire more residents or participants to attend as well – especially at an event that honors so many of our own.  I apologize if I offended Mr. Anastos, as this was never my intention."--Diane McAuley 

"Hi Mark,  It is wonderful that the YMCA is helping out the community but how sad that the funds were not there to keep it a Jewish Community Center.  Strange that people are coming forward now to expand but nothing just to keep it as is.  Still miss the center."--Beth Rawl

"Hi Mark, Please let Mrs. McAuley know that I share her high opinion of our Veteran's Agent Mike Pazyra and the work he does on behalf of  Veterans. I also appreciate and support the brave men and women who serve or have served our country including many members of my own family. The members of the Board of Selectmen are volunteers and sometimes our work schedules get in the way of our volunteerism.  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the parade because my company worked on Veteran's Day. My absence does not diminish my deep respect for Veterans and Mike Pazyra was quite gracious and forgiving when I  informed him that I would not be able to attend this year's parade.  While our country and community deals with the worst financial crisis 
is a generation (and services and positions are cut) the Veteran's budget was fully funded for fiscal 2010 and I will fully support Mike's funding request (on behalf of our Veterans) for fiscal 2011."--
Steve Anastos (Stoughton Selectman and proud and grateful American.)

"Dear Mark:   I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of the events we are planning in conjunction with the Annual Children’s Holiday Parade on December 13th. I would be grateful if you could mention this information on your website, and on your television program on Comcast Channel 9. The parade route will be the same as last year. The parade starts at the high School, left onto Pearl Street, right onto Central Street, right onto Washington Street into the Center, where the reviewing stand will be located at the corner of Washington and Freeman Streets. The parade then continues out of the Center on Park Street to Faxon Park. Local letter carriers will be walking the parade route to collect ‘letters to Santa’. At the conclusion of the parade, Faxon Park will be a very busy place. Walgreen’s will provide free photographs with Santa and each child. The Gibbons School PTO will be collecting used coats and the Community Events Committee will be collecting non-perishable food items for the local food pantry. We will also be collecting new, unwrapped toys for the USMC Toys-for-Tots.   Anyone wishing to participate in the parade should contact the Parade Chairman, Rich Jasmin, at (781) 443-2352. Thank you for your assistance. If you have any questions, or require any additional information, please do not hesitate to call me at (617) 590-2441."---For The Community Events Committee, Kevin J. Stetson

"Mark, I want to thank you again for helping me raise money to save my dog's life. He is like a new dog! Your an angel! Have a wonderful holiday and be safe!"--Rockman Family

Hi, On Tuesday, I visited the offices of six Congresspeople in Washington to lobby them regarding legislation involving the US-Israel relationship.  I am writing to you concerning my visit to the office of Rep Stephen Lynch, our elected legislator, who represents Stoughton, and other nearby towns.  Despite Rep. Lynch’s prior consistent support for Iran sanctions legislation, at this time Rep Lynch is one of a minority of Democrats who has not yet signed on as supporter of the legislation pending in the current Congress.  During our meeting, his foreign policy advisor mentioned that the office has not heard from constituents requesting his support for Iran sanctions, and that the congressman would be very interested in receiving mail on this subject.   My special request to you, as a constituent of Rep Stephen Lynch, is to write a brief letter to him today, or before the end of the weekend, asking that he sign-on as a co-sponsor of Iran sanctions legislation.  Your letter should be brief, and timeliness is very important.  Details follow below my signature. Many thanks for your interest and action.  Volume of letters will make a difference.  Best regards."---David Goodtree
(
The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act authorizes the president to implement specific sanctions to pressure the Iranian government to end its pursuit of illicit nuclear technology.  The bill currently has the support of 336 House co-sponsors, include the majority of Democrats and Republicans, the Democratic Majority Leader and the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.   What you can do: Send your letter via US mail or fax, not email, to the following address.  A separate letter from your spouse or significant other is also valuable (you are both voters!):Rep Stephen Lynch, 221 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 or Boston office fax  617-482-2011.).

 "Someone was missing from the picture of everyone taking credit for finally opening Bay Road. That would be ex-selectman Scott Carrerra who came up with the exact same solution the week after the road washed out at a televised Selectmens meeting.How long ago was that now??? I know the town is starving for good news (most of us are still in mourning over Cheng Du) but painting this as a success is a little far fetched."---Tim Tullis

"My name is Shaul Kushinsky.  Currently I am a Life Scout working on my Eagle Scout Leadership Project.  It involves building guitar carts and shelves for a closet in the Stoughton High School Band Room.  To secure the funds for the materials I am holding a bottle and can drive (those with a return deposit).  It will be hosted at Ahavath Torah Congregation, 1179 Central St, Stoughton MA, on Sunday November 22 from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoon.  Please call me at 781-341-1435 with any questions or to arrange another drop off time.  I would appreciate any donations.
Thank you."-- Shaul Kushinsky, Life Scout, Troop 54

"I would like thank Mike Pazyra and whoever helped him put together the Veteran’s Day Parade yesterday.  Mike has done so much for the veterans in this town and deserves more recognition than he gets.  I hope next year the size of the parade suits the occasion more!  It was a bit small, but heartfelt nonetheless.  I am a bit bothered by one thing.  Veterans Day is November 11th every year, it’s not like the date changes – but I really was disappointed to see that only two of the five selectman were able to show up and march.  It should be on all their calendar’s every year, no excuses.  Ms. Walsh and Mr. Anderson braved the cold and Mr. Anderson’s speech was excellent.  I hope that we see them all next year! It’s really the least we can do for those who serve."--Diane McAuley  (Proud Daughter of a Marine)

(Editor's Note: John Anzivino & Joe Mokrisky joined Walsh and Anderson at the Veteran's Square Dedications.)

"HI Mark- As always, I appreciate you writing about the great causes in town and the plug in your column but wanted to let you know that I am a latecomer to the party.  The Gridiron Club has been planning this event under the leadership of Debbie MacNamara and Coach Burke.  It might have been better to put Debbie's phone number and contact info in your column but hopefully the volunteers who have worked very hard for far longer than me will not get upset by my contact info being used.   I also know that Julie Linehan, Rose Eckler, Coach Burke's wife, Joe Pascarelli, Frank Jardin and a whole lot of other people deserve their name in praise more than I do.  As always, Mike Sammarco will do an amazing feast for those attending."--Holly Boykin

"Mark, the Mass Bay Commuter Rail will be working on School Street between Canton and Cushing this Saturday 11/14 to repair the railroad crossing.  You may wish to inform your viewers so they can plan accordingly."--Jonathan Beder,| Asst. Superintendent, Stoughton Public Works Department

"Dear Mark: It's that time of year again.The Stoughton Firefighters, along with the Harry Landman Committee, will be accepting names of soldiers from Stoughton away from home at Christmas.  The soldiers will receive a Christmas care package from us thanking them for their service and sacrifice.  The care package includes candy, cookies, toiletries and coffee.  If anyone would like to forward a name to the Landman Committee please drop it off at the Fire Station at 30 Freeman Street in the square.  Names and addresses must be written and put to the attention of either FF Jim Rush or FF Jim Brackett.  The only requirement for a Christmas package is that the Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine is a Stoughton resident.  Thank you for helping us spread the word. Deadline is December 1."--Sincerely, FF Jim Rush

"Hi Mark: The Black Knight Gridiron Club is holding it's 1st annual Fall Classic on Saturday, November 21, 2009. The day begins with a flag football game played under the lights at Stoughton High's Anthony Sarno field at 4:00 p.m. Any former SHS football players who wish to play can sign up and/or get information at www.stoughtonboosters.org. The cost to play is $100.00. Each player is given five tickets to the event to sell at $20.00 a piece (covers admission to game and dinner) thereby negating their own cost. Following the game is a dinner/auction to be held at 7:30 pm at the Stoughton VFW on Washington Street. All monies raised will go toward establishing a scholarship fund for graduating seniors and to also aid the current program.  I appreciate your help in getting the word out about this great event. Thank you."-- Debbie McNamara

"Mark, Here's an idea to throw at you.  Temporarily change the full time Animal Control Officer position to part time, thereby saving money on pay and benefits.  Now take that freed up money to fund a much needed study into the Police Department.  Once complete, the position could be returned to full time status and the impact on Town services would be minimum if even noticed.  I know the A.C.O. position is important but the study is far more important and needed badly (I know-I work there)."--(Name Withheld Upon Request)

"Mark, Stoughton veteran agent Mike Pazyra noticed that I had a combat service connected problem and sent me to the Brockton Veteran Center and V.A. I am so grateful for all he has done. He is a caring person that does a great job. I am now getting the help I needed. Mike works hard for the vets!"--James Sebastiano Noe, U.S. Army Retired, 3rd Infantry Division, Korea.

"Hi Mark. We just wanted to thank you for help in making Brads Playground even more fun for the children in our community.  With over 400 walkers, it was a huge success. Our family is always overwhelmed with the generosity of the people in this great town. Thank you for helping us honor our sweet boy through the smiles and laughter of the children that will enjoy his playground for years to come."-- Ken and Lisa Lessa

"Take a ride over to the infamous Bay Rd. culvert - the Stoughton DPW started work yesterday morning - I caught some visual movement when headed up Bay Rd and started to turn on
Castle Drive - stopped and went down to the barrier - Backhoe busy digging up the roadway. Subsequently returned to my trip over the speed-bump heaven on Castle - Word has it Sharon spent over $20K to put in these new speed bumps to control (meaning Pi$$-Off) the outside world. Hope the Sharon PD collected enough fines for "rolling stop signs" on Castle, Bishop and Chessman to pay f or the stupid bumps. Thx for your ongoing interests in this section of Stoughton."-- Dick Etling

"Mark: On behalf of Stoughton Friends For Seniors, I want to thank everyone who helped make our 11th Annual Charity Golf Tournament a success.  We want to thank our corporate sponsor, Canam Steel Corporation, our hole sponsors, the business owners who donated a raffle prize, our golf participants who enter our tournament year after year, our families and friends who worked so hard to ensure we had a day of both fun on the course and in the clubhouse. And, Mark, we want to especially thank you, for not only your generous donation, but also always being so supportive of our senior citizens."--Stoughton Friends For Seniors, Lorraine J. McCarthy, Secretary

"Dear Mark: As you know, Chapter 40B is not the answer to providing affordable housing in Stoughton. Chapter 40B creates more problems than it solves because it forces high density projects on us without allowing the community to have a say in its construction. Chapter 40B projects in Stoughton include Woodbridge Crossing, Quail Run, Page Place, The Villages at Ames Pond, Stage Coach Village, The Villas at MetroSouth, West Stoughton Village, North Stoughton Village, Pond View Village, Goddard HIghlands and  The Villages at Stonegate. These projects represent 1267 units approved under Chapter 40B. The Coalition to Repeal 40B is pleased to announce that it has filed a citizen initiative petition for the repeal of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40B, Sections 20-23 with the Office of the Attorney General. Across the Commonwealth, tens of thousands of residents have voiced concern over this ineffective, often-abused law that the state claims is used to create affordable housing. Now is the time to place this issue on the ballot for the fall of 2010. Now is the time to let the people of Massachusetts put a stop to unbridled, forced development.There will be people collecting signatures over the next few weeks starting this Saturday outside of the Stoughton Post office and next week outside of Town Meeting.  It is time to stop the abuse. Thank you."-- Barbara Anzivino

"Mark, In August of 2006 we built and dedicated The Bradley M Lessa Memorial Playground on West Street in memory of our son. We are proud to say that Brad's playground has been a resounding success with the families in our community. It is heartwarming to see the children and their parents and grandparents share in what has truly become our labor of love. In an ongoing effort to enhance the playground we have received permission to add 4 new pieces of playground equipment. However, we need to raise the funds to purchase this new equipment. We thought a fitting way to help raise these funds would be to have a "walk" which would include the very families that have been enjoying the playground. A fee of $15.00 per person includes lunch and a contribution towards the new equipment. The walk for Bradley M Lessa Playground
Columbus Day, Mon. Oct. 12th. Walk begins at 10:30 A.M. Start at Gibbons School, Morton Street, Walk 1.8 miles to Bradleys Playground. Finish with a bbq Lunch.
We would apppreciate your help in spreading the word. We think it will be a fun family day! Much Thanks,"--- Lisa and Ken Lessa

"Hello Mark, I am a faithful reader of your column.  My husband and I have been going to the meetings  at Town Hall when  the Woodbridge Complex subject was supposedmto be discussed..  Do you know when the next meeting will take place ? I did not place a date on my calender if it was announced.  Thank you."-- E. Block

"Mark, It occurred to me that you might be interested in hosting a radio discussion about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Guests could include environmentalists like me, and developers like Brickstone who are proposing projects that would add to the problem of climate change, while refusing to submit to LEED certification.Sharon has already approved a new mall that will produce 9,520 tons of CO2 every year. Now we are contemplating Brickstone's 624-unit high-rise apartment complex and 150-bed nursing home, apparently with no consideration of the impact on climate change that threatens the grandchildren we profess to care about. Perhaps developers should be required to offer rebates to induce people to purchase Priuses instead of gas-guzzlers to offset the greenhouse gases they will generate. A Prius generates about 3.7 tons of CO2 per year. A Honda Accord generates 7.6 tons. So the Prius saves 3.6 tons per year compared to the Accord. By that math, the mall developer should provide enough rebates to cause 2,644 people to switch from Accords to Priuses to make up for the 9,520 tons of CO2 the mall will belch annually. Of course, that doesn't account for all the CO2 produced in manufacturing and shipping all the products that would have to be sold at the mall to keep it in business, but it would be better than nothing. lease give me a call if you're interested!"-- Paul Lauenstein, Sharon

"I couldn't agree more with Dan Roos on his observations of Stoughton Center traffic light changes.  I live in Stoughton Center and getting through from north to south is a major pain these days but...wait...these changes were made before school started.  Can you imagine what the traffic on Pearl Street and Porter will be like at school dismissal time with the new lights?  and just to let the readers know, if you are heading North on 138, take a right on Walnut and then a left on Park...the 27 north traffic light is much faster with minimal wait."--Phil Yaitanes  

"While I'll applaud any attempt to correct the town center traffic issues since the not so recent re-design... I do not understand why the SOUTHBOUND right hand lane thru the center has become the lane for cars going on 27 South?  Why can't the left lane serve BOTH 139 & 27? The dedicated left turn only lane (basically the length of the traffic island w/ room for 1-2 cars) for 139 is great, and the minor widening of the road to allow cars to pass and continue onto 27 is GREAT... however, cars are now (correctly or not) avoiding the left lane for 27 thru the center and keeping right as if the 139 left turn only lane ran all the way back to Porter???  27 South traffic is blocking 138 South and Wyman while they wait for green onto 27!!! 139 S has a light for pedestrian traffic only (when the cross button is pressed) but since the addition of the 139 left turn only area, traffic on 138 is stopped every time the 27 light is red... the recent change has only made things worse!!!!"-- Dan Roos

"Hi Mark, I saw your article on Bay Road.  As someone who drives through Easton, Stoughton/Sharon every day on Bay Road, it is a welcome relief that Stoughton will be repairing Bay Road.  Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with Brickstone.  I thought that there was something Stoughton could do to force Brickstone not to flow into Bay Road and have them route cars only to Massapoag.  I guess that I'm mistaken.  That project is such a bad fit for the area and its impact will be felt all the way to Cobbs Corner and Canton Center and create traffic in the whole region.  The town of Sharon is a high tax town and Brickstone is their ticket to pay for their overspending.   There's not much the rest of us can do."---Len B.  

"I never indicated in my previous e-mails that there was a 'glitch' with the Bay Road culvert project.  I said that I could not guarantee that the late September schedule could be met.  Like all construction projects, problems with weather or other factors can impact the construction schedule.  Since the project is being performed by the Town of Stoughton, in Stoughton, I recommend that you contact the Town of Stoughton's Town Engineer, Ben Feehan, at (781) 232-9263 for more details."--Peter O'Cain, Town of Sharon, Town Engineer

 
"Hi Mark, I just wanted to let everybody know that our region's Congressional Rep, Stephen Lynch is holding a town hall on the Govt Health Care Reform on August 27th from 6-8pm at the Alumni Rec Center at Curry College.  Thank You" ---Heather McGinley

"Dear Mark: We would like to thank you for your tremendous support. With your help, we were able to have successful fundraisers to raise funds for our trip to Honduras. It was an amazing experience and we thank you for helping to make it possible. Included is a picture of Anna Fegan, Katie Greene and I with some kids from the school we worked in La Cruz, Honduras. Thanks again for all of your support."--Julie Leaver

"Hi, Mark! I've been hearing about the Fox 25 Zip Trip coming to Stoughton and I can't believe that there hasn't been more publicity about it around town except what you've written about it!  What a great event for our town!  I think it will be an opportunity for people all over their viewing area to see that Stoughton is really a great town, filled with interesting people, fabulous restaurants and a rich history!  I am assuming that you will be one of the featured guests, along with some of the other people in town who are so much at the heart of the "everyday" Stoughton.  I hope it will not become a politicized event, with elected officials and town employees representing the town.  I hope to see David Lambert, some of the local merchants whose businesses have become destinations (Town Spa, Nocera's, Ikea to name a few), you (newspaper column, tv show, website that we all visit daily), and some other people around town who give Stoughton its flavor and vitality!  I for one plan on taking a walk over there on Friday morning to get a glimpse of the Fox 25 News Team and enjoy the positive vibe that this event will bring to our little town! "---(Name withheld upon request)

(Dear Name Withheld, Thanks for writing. I am not scheduled to be a guest. The only one that I know who IS scheduled, is Joe Mokrisky, from the Board of Selectmen. But, I will certainly be there, as I am a big fan of the Fox 25 morning show.---MARK)

"Mr. Snyder, I am writing to you in regards to your article about SFC Jared Monti dated 29 JUL 09 on wickedlocal.com.  I only wish you had addressed SFC Monti as a Sergeant First Class (SFC) from the beginning of the article.  Sergeant First Class is his correct rank, he was promoted posthumously although his rank is SFC so when referring to him it should be used.  I mean no disrespect towards you or your column, I just feel that he should have been referred to by his correct rank in the article."---  Respectfully, SPC William Farwell, 387th Ordnance Co (EOD) MAARNG

 

"Mark, On your website you say that SFC Monti "Won" the medal of honor. This is not a medal that one "wins" it is earned with great sacrifice. I think the correct wording for this comment would be "SFC Jared Monti is awarded The Congressional Medal Of Honor" I am currently serving in Iraq with the MA National guard and I thank you for keeping me up to date with home town politics and news while I am so far away thank you again. "-- Robert Kuhn

"Mar: I just want to rant about my excise tax bill. I paid it in full in January. I bought a new car in March.I finally got a new excise tax bill. I paid it to the tune of $375 and went on vacation.I come back from vacation and get all my mail. In the mail is my returned check for 375 and a letter saying well, there is more due for not paying on time, less than 10 dollars or something like that.Two days later, which is today, I receive a warrant demand, Give me a flippin break, they SEND back 375? Is the town that fiscally fit that they either want it all or nothing??????? Instead of sending a note that hey you owe 10 more? In these financial times, I think that the town needs to revisit this policy.If  Heather? can find time to send me a letter with the check back, she certainly can send me a notice for the 10 bucks and followed by a warrant thing in TWO DAYS??????????Give me strength. I think its all a ploy to get more and more money from the taxpayers. Now the warrant is another 22 bucks. RIDICULOUS!!Thank goodness I didn't pay it yesterday, I was waiting to do my bills today (saturday). Otherwise I would have gotten the check back YET again????? They all need a dope slap. I cant imagine poor senior citizens trying to pay their bills and only have half and want to send that and can't. Just trying to pay what I owe and get a kick in the teeth. Not that the extra 30 bucks is going to break me, its more the principle of the thing. I'm sure I'm not the only one that this has happened to.SENDING BACK MY CHECK? IM STILL SHAKING MY HEAD.If I had the time, I wish I could go there and give them the Now 410 totally in stinking pennies! Thanks for letting me get it off my chest!"---Debra E Miller

"Hi Mark: On June 23, Stoughton and Sharon Selectmen met to discuss the failure of the 2 by 2 foot culvert on Bay Road at Walter's Way. I was there that evening, as I know you were. Snydersstoughton readers, who were watching at home, may like to see the Sharon version of the meeting, on www.sharontv.com. Under 'Meeting Replays' click on July 14 Board of Selectmen, then fast forward to 01.09.30 until 01.11.38. (The previous hour was all about the Brickstone/Sharon Hills development and you can read their documents regarding the second amendment to the Agreement on www.townofsharon.net <http://www.townofsharon.net>  ). Also on www.townofsharon.net <http://www.townofsharon.net>   under 'Castle Drive July 9 update' there is the statement "pending litigation seeking Court directive to immediately compel the Town of Stoughton repair Bay Road to provide for normal traffic functioning.."  Perhaps if the Town of Sharon used their $100,000 to fix the source first, it would make better sense. School buses from Stoughton, Sharon, and Southeastern Regional travel over that exact spot twice every day. When we gamble with a pre-November fix, which Sharon wants, the lives of those students are the stakes. Inconvenience for Sharon residents surely comes second to the safety of our/their children? Bay Road will be fixed, but it should only happen when the residents of Stoughton can afford to do it properly. We should not be forced into reinstating Bay in time for Sharon's November Town Meeting vote on the Brickstone/Sharon Hills development!"--  Mary Walsh

"Dear Mark: I, along with my 16 Republican colleagues in the House and 27 Democrats, recently rejected a reckless budget, as it was light on reform and heavy on taxes.  The Budget also harms local cities and towns, as well as public safety. Disappointing 110 Democrats and the Governor approved it. The misguided solution to the fiscal crisis was to increase taxes on sales, meals, telecommunications, alcohol, satellite television, hotel stays, nursing home residents and fees at the Registry. We also break the promise of lottery revenue being dedicated to education and consume another $199 million from the state’s stabilization account. The budget also borrows from the 2011 Federal Stimulus funds to put it into balance. This is very disappointing and sets up another structural budget problem for next year."---State Rep. Jeff Perry (R-Sandwich) 

"Hi Mark, Didn't see you in attendance so I thought I would update you on  Sharon Hills: At a meeting last night (Tues 14th, July)at the Sharon Library conducted by the Sharon Selectman, and attended by several planning board members and approximately 50 - 70 concerned residents, the Sharon Hills development group disclosed their preferred traffic route for the proposed upcoming constuction off Mountain Street. The development group also disclosed having just increased their pre-construction contribution to the Town to a total of approximately $ 700,000. The developers went on to suggest that the main trucking to the site
will come via Neponset Street through Canton and then to Cobbs Corner, then to Wilshire, Deerfield, and on to Hampton to Mountain Street. They also suggested that the construction will represent an increase in
traffic of about 200 large trucks per week equating to a 3-5% increase on Mountain Street (???). I don't undertand those calculations. (I was not able to verify what they said by their plan but this is what I
remember.) Along with various vegetation cutting, time-delayed deliveries, and radio contact to keep larger trucks off of Mountain at the same time, the development group is calling this plan their 'traffic
mitigation plan'. (I can only imagine what some people are going to call it.) By all accounts, Selectman, Sharon Hills Brickstone Management, and of course the residents who were in attendance admit that this new plan
runs contrary to the developer's original promise upon which the original proposed permit is predicated, namely that the developer would NOT use Mountain Street for construction access. It is truly curious
that they are proposing this. The Selectman asked that the power point presentation given by the developer last night be sent to them so that it could be uploaded onto Sharon's website. The developer proposed 3 full-time officers to route traffic during the first 18 months of construction. This should be interesting! I do not understand the project's path. How does one propose changes of this magnitude without it appearing to be bait and switch to virtually anyone who sees it? Contrary to the adage "It is what it is" this proposal "is what it isn't"!"--- cheers, Steve k

 

"Dear Mr. Snyder,  You write so many events that happen in the town, but I did not see anything in the Journal about  Christine Quinn's last day at the COA, or that she had done such a fine job while there. 
We had a wonderful party for her at Nocera's in their back room.  Many  of her supporters were there. Karen Hall, the new director, was also there.  We had a great time.  Chrstine received a gift, a beautiful 
bouquet of flowers, and a presentation by Carolyn Borst.  We will miss  Christine and are grateful for all that she had to go through at the hands of all who did not support her.  However, we welcome Karen Hall 
and will certainly support her as she takes on the difficult task of  directing the Youth Commission and the Council on aging."-- Marie Jardin

(Dear Marie: I am many things, but psychic is not one. If I had been informed of the Nocera's event, I'd have posted it, and probably gone. I wish Christine Quinn nothing but the best for her future.--MARK)

"Mark - I am a 30 year resident of Sharon who has been in the forefront of the fight to preserve Rattlesnake Hill since old man Striar was alive (I've lost count of the number of years). I fought to preserve the 
land through his original small nursing home idea, his children's idea of a golf club community, a golf club alone, a 40B, a CSD, a standard subdivision and finally through the sale to Brickstone.
Your heart is in the right place, Mark, but your tone and words suggest black and white thinking about SHARON which alienates many Sharonites who share your views. Please remember that the Selectmen 
are neither the town nor the townspeople and that about half the residents in Sharon (by my guess) would like to kill the present project. Please be aware of this and respectful of the many residents 
who have put years, dollars and mental and emotional energy into preserving Rattelsnake Hill from any development when you write your articles. You need us and we need you. Working together and communicating, not  trashing us, would be a better strategy. Rumor has it that Brickstone has a new plan for routing construction traffic for their project. They plan to present it at Selectmen's meeting next Tuesday, July 14 at 8:15 PM at the Sharon High School  Library. In spite of past promises to post such plans on the town website in advance of meetings at which they will be discussed, the  Selectmen's office says that they have not been able to get the plans  from Brickstone yet. I think they may be proposing a route down Bay  Road from Cobb Corner to Deerfield or Wilshire, across Hampton to Mountain St. Pressure from residents to post the plan has not yielded results. I  was wondering if you had heard or could find out anything further about this new plan and could post it on your website. If so, let me know and I will spread the word to interested Sharonites. Thank you."-- Leslie Koval

"Hi Mark, I am a regular reader of your column.  You do a great job of covering the local issues with a generally fair and balanced view. Kudos to you.
I must say, however, that I was a little troubled by your characterization of the residents of Sharon in your article in the June 26 Stoughton Journal. I think it was offensive and unnecessary. Maybe you can reconsider your characterization. Your friend,"--- Ken S.

(Hey Ken, I have many friends in Sharon. The article was aimed at the politicians in your town, and the residents who think of Stoughton as nothing but a shortcut to work, and have disrespected us at numerous public meetings. They know who they are. The same ones who support the mammoth Brickstone project, which will not enhance Sharon, but will definitely hurt the people of Stoughton, by crowding our streets, and potentially polluting our wells.---MARK)

"Mark, I agree on all counts, you are absolutely dead-on correct, when you stated in The Stoughton Journal, June 26, 2009:
"What's with all the talk of construction, and "this construction season?"  Could it be so that Brickstone can get off the ground, and the construction vehicles can clog Stoughton's streets, and leave the lovely 'hoods' in Sharon pristine?" Sharon certainly is not doing anything out of the kindness of their hearts for Stoughton. Enjoy your column, keep it up. Long time Bay Rd. resident,"-- P. Reid

"Right on Mark,  if Sharon is so concerned about Bay Road , let them hire contractor and repair it, if our town meeting doesn't want to fund it. Just because some people in Sharon want to have public streets made  private  and the stupid Sharon attemps to block public streets with their road work. Fix the thing right the first time. I was surprised by the vote to make the selectman's meetings on the 1st & 2nd, that's what the Charter calls for. I was also surprised by Miss Walsh's comment that the meetings were too long, she know the length of the meeting before she ran for election . The Town Managers Report is a joke, it almost a report of what we read in the penny Saver."-- Leo E Mellyn , Prec. 6

(this letter was also sent to a number of elected officials:) "I’m writing to support Senator Brian Joyce in his bid to present legislation creating sensible testing for Massachusetts drivers over the age of 85. The tragic death of a four year old girl in Stoughton over the weekend could have been avoided if such legislation was already in place. Though details are not yet known in this particular case, it is being stated that another driver had stopped to let the family cross, while the older driver kept going, seemingly unaware of the circumstances happening outside of their vehicle. This is unacceptable, and has caused the death of an innocent young child.This legislation should not be viewed as age discriminatory, but necessary to protect everyone in the commonwealth. If any driver is unable to perform the basics necessary to operate a vehicle safely, they should be removed from the road without question. Families who’s loved ones may not have the heart to tell an elder they are unable to operate a vehicle would be better served to have the state make that decision for them through yearly mandatory testing. I would personally pay more taxes to pay for this testing to avoid any fees going to the elder drivers. Please support Senator Joyce in his important legislation necessary to protect against another senseless death by a drivers who should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle. Thank you."---Robert Germain

   "Mark:   I would like to clarify some misinformation, not malicious by any means. Yesterday, June 7, my daughter took my grandson to a birthday party of one of his classmates. At this party my daughter was talking to another mother who asked her if she were the daughter of the prior Physical Education teacher at the Gibbons School. My daughter told her, that, yes she was my daughter. This mother told her that she had heard that I retired because I could not get along with the principal, Dr. Tanner. This information is far from correct and not true. My retirement had been in the planning stage since 2001. Both my wife and I agreed upon 2006 as the proper time that I should retire. In 2003 we purchased 11 acres in Morrisville, VT and in July 2005 (before Dr. Tanner was Principal) we broke ground on our retirement home. We moved in two weeks after I retired, and, I can't believe that almost 3 years have passed already.  My 35 years at the Gibbons School was perhaps the most enjoyable time of my life. I looked forward to each day. I truly felt that I was fortunate enough to have a job that I enjoyed going to. The students were a joy to be around and I felt helped keep me young at heart.   Unfortunately, 35 years does take it toll on a person. At the end of my career, after a day at school, I was coming home tired and I felt that it was the right time for new, young blood to come in. Even though I truly enjoyed what I was doing, it was time for children to experience new ideas, methods and a younger person to revitalize the program. I also wanted to experience what it would be like to control my life instead of someone else doing so. Both my parents passed away in their early 40's and never got to experience retirement. I wanted to make sure that I was going to be able to do so.   I was fortunate enough to be on the committee that chose my replacement. I feel that we chose the right person in Ryan Donohue to take over the program. His youth and energy towards the program is at the level I was at back in 1971 when I started. His approach to the task at hand is totally opposite the way I taught and I'm glad that the students are getting a more modern approach to the subject matter. I was old school, he's new school.   At the time I retired, I had a good working relationship with the staff and administration. I did keep my school life and personal life separate, thats the way I wanted it.   I just wanted to set straight any false information, rumors or anything else that may be going around town regarding why I retired. Bottom line, I retired because I felt it was the right time. There was never any animosity towards anyone. I still enjoyed what I was doing.   I wish everyone well at the school. Thanks for letting me share this."-- Peter Everett, Morrisville, VT


"Hi All: At June 9th’s Selectmen’s meeting there is going to be an OPEN hearing for residents to voice concern over Brickstone starting at 7:30 p.m. This meeting will also have signups for interested parties who want to participate in the Brickstone Advisory Committee. Your assistance would be GREATLY appreciated if you could all do what you do best…rouse the troops to attend this meeting and voice opposition to this development encroaching on our roads, water supply and way of life. I regret that I will be traveling on business that evening, but as you know, I have said my piece already and intend on giving my full support to the selected Advisory Committee members. Now is the time for people who wanted to be heard by our elected officials! Please tell everyone you know to attend this meeting. Thanks!"-- Robert Germain 

"Dear Mr. Snyder: The last town meeting was a fiasco as was the first  regarding the COA budget. The moderator said that  if there was new information that he would consider opening up the COA budget. One of the town reps shouted  that there was new information, however the moderator chose not to act on it and went on to discuss a fire engine. No one was permitted to speak even though a town rep had given his time to a few seniors.  The moderator had the names. Each time that the budget came up it was quickly changed to something else. The action was unethical,  backed with collusion, deception and scheming. This was not a new plan to get  rid of the COA director, but there was no just cause to fire her. How convenient that we now have a budget crises.  What a perfect excuse. I  can't believe that the selectmen let the moderator get away with this without saying a word. Mr. Anderson just sat there. Where is his allegiance to the COA?  Wasn't he the chairman of the board of the COA. Didn't we support him when he was chairman and during his campaign? The only one who had the courage to speak up was Mr. Levine.  Good for you Mr. Levine. We are most grateful. Too bad that you are not on the board now. Get with it Mr. Snyder, write the truth. This 
was a set up from the beginning. The Town Manager,selectmen, and  moderator were pawns of a dissident,vengeful group. They and the elected officials have destroyed a person who was placed on this earth 
to do good. I hope that they can live with it!   What a witch hunt!"-- Marie Jardin

"Hi Mark, Well written and said Dick.  Thank you so much for representing the people of Stoughton and not the political agendas."--Diane Tynan

"Mark, Stoughton Town Meeting ended last night after six full evenings of presentations, debates and votes. The Budget was balanced, many articles were dismissed, a few were passed, and the 168 elected town meeting representatives cast their vote in the best interest of the town…that is, unless you’re a senior citizen. Last Wednesday, almost 50 senior citizens of Stoughton came out and sat in the High School Auditorium waiting to be heard. They followed directions and gave their names to the Moderator to be called on. Yet they could not speak. On Tuesday night, they came out again and finally, at 11:00 p.m. a town meeting representative requested the body reconsider the previous vote, which approved consolidation of the Council on Aging and the Youth Commission. The COA Director would be laid off, and the Youth Commission Director will run both operations out of 2 locations and develop a plan with both Advisory Boards to complete the physical merger by the end of December. Town Meeting members were told this would save money. The vote to reconsider this decision was raised to allow the senior citizens who use their Senior Center to have a voice in the decision. They were not given the opportunity. The 'new information' that the meeting never heard was that both Directors were asked if they could live within their reduced budgets this year without layoffs, and they both said yes. Somehow this information was never shared on the night of the vote to consolidate. The cost of impact bargaining with the unions for at least 2 employees was not discussed. The cost of renovations to the building to accommodate private counseling sessions for troubled youth and their families was not revealed. The past Chairman of the COA, now a newly elected selectman, did not speak up for seniors. Town meeting representatives who serve on the COA board were painfully silent. I have been involved in many town meetings, and always felt that in the end, the TM Representatives usually get to the truth. Democracy at it’s finest! This year they failed. We all failed. A serious decision that will impact seniors in this town for years to come was made without their input. This was disrespectful. We did not give them the courtesy of a few minutes of our time. We did not hear their opinion because they were not allowed to speak. Shame on us!!"--Dick Levine, Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 6

"Please take that photo of the senior citizen with the disco hairy chest off the site....There are younger people who enjoy your column. How vain.. if you have a wife she must be embarrassed. I do like your site very much... just not the greasy guy in the Walmart shades and swim trunks.....Oy Vay children might see it!"--bmw1@rock.com

(Dear Whoever You Are: It's an AD. Thanks for noticing it!---MARK)

"Hi Mark: Sorry it took me so long to get it to you, but here is a *.pdf file of the request to the Selectmen to direct preparation of a master plan in time for the 2010 ATM.  I have also included a printout as of today that shows the Commonwealth Capital Scores across the state.  Stoughton shows as 0 score for FY09 and FY08, with a declining trend from 67 in FY05 to 53 in FY06/07.  One big reasons for the 0 score is that Stoughton did not apply in the past 2 fiscal years.  This is not a good thing.  I understand the Town Planner is already working up an application for FY10, so we can see some improvement just by having a person whose job responsibities include paying attention to these details.  But, as described in the letter, we can and should do much more.  Thanks again."---Bob O'Regan

 
"Hi Mark, I did receive a call from the Assistant Superintendents Office regarding one confirmed case of the swine flu at the Middle School.  The message stated that we should not be alarmed because this flu is like the one that circulates all of the time.  The message said nothing about closing the school but it did say they would continue to monitor the situation.  My daughter has been home with fever and when I called the Doctors office they said they are not even testing unless the child has underlying medical problems.  I am curious as to how many have the flu but don't know it because the Doctors are not testing it."-- Diane Tynan

"Hi Mark, I just heard that many families got an phone call from the O'Donnell Middle School stating there is a confirmed case of the swine flu.  The message stated that the school will remain open.  Have you heard anything regarding this?"--- Concerned Parents

(Dear Concerned Parent: Of course The O'Donnell Middle School will remain open.  It's a mild case and is no more dangerous than any other flus that have been going around all year.  Would you suggest they close the school and have kids come back in summer or weekends?I think that Dr. Marguerite Rizzi die the right thing, contacting all parents, explaining the situation, and telling parents the best way to deal with the situation. Now, kids, wash your hands, and parents (if your child is sick) keep them home! End of problem!---MARK)

"Mark: Obviously, Town Meeting Representatives are a little lost when it tabulates the cost savings for removing positions from the budget.  Lets take an example of the Building Department Secretary.  1.  How do th TMR's think this office will function when there is only one town official in the office and he is out on the road 40% of the day? 2.  The person cut from the budget does not disappear.  She merely chooses to replace another person in another department at their rate of pay.  Perhaps a difference of $9K  a year.  Big savings!  That person then bumps someone else, etc. etc. and the bumps go on. 3.  There is no attrition in this equation.  4.  Why would TMR's think that one person running the Youth Commission and the COA can do as good a job for both agencies as two full time persons did before?  And, at the same rate of pay?
And yet TMR's still vote to pay a moderator who then can collect health insurance when no other elected town employee gets the same benefit.  I have stood up for years at Town Meeting and requested equal treatment for all elected officials, and have been shot down repeatedly.  Sentiment should not come into play at Town Meeting. I smell some grievances coming from union employees which will only increase the costs of decreasing these and other positions in town hall."-- Dori Frankel, Precinct 5

(Sent to Town Manager, Selectmen, and Snyder's Stoughton): "Ladies and Gentleman, I would like to appear at the early part of the Next Selectman's meeting on June 9, 2009.   This is to discuss the issue of increasing the cost of health coverage to town retired teachers from town payment of 90% to 75%.   As the Town Manager stated at the last Town Meeting this could save the town  of Stoughton $2, million dollars.   Ladies and gentleman, we need this issue resolved as soon as possible and we need to get the ball rolling NOW!    I don't have a lot of time with energy to discuss this matter due to some medical issues that will be done to me in the next 3 weeks.   Please allow me to come before you to discuss this.    Yes I am asking it to come to 75% Town cost, not 50% as the retired town employees pay.    The reason I am not asking for 50% shows my consideration of the retired teachers and that GCA has set that as there price. Please call me and allow me to speak,   I have talked to the school committee on this issue to but only now realized that the Selectman hold the strings and need to ACT NOW."-- Al Lipkind

"Mark, you missed the whole point, this has nothing to do about budgets, the idea was to get rid of the Director-Council on Aging. If the main idea was to save money, then we would have kept the Dir. of the C/A at $68,217.00 and let the Dir. of the Y/C go at $81,760.00 a savings of $13,543.00. This was not about money, it was about personalities, I'm surprised that you didn't pick up on this. They could have been consolidated and still save money, this really wasn't about the money."-- Leo E. Mellyn

"mark, What is the deal with money being spent THAT THE TOWN DIDN'T HAVE IN THE APPROPRIATE ACCOUNT for a chair for Scott Carrara?  I just read about it in the Enterprise . . . Anastos and Mokrisky voted in favor of this?  OUTRAGEOUS!  Why do they get a $400 chair anyway?  The town has NO MONEY and has to make cuts EVERYWHERE and these people get a $400 custom made chair?  i'm appalled.  By the way: if any of the selectmen who have received their $400 chair decide to run again, and if any of them get elected to the board again, do they return the chair?  Here's a scarier thought: they get another one when they leave the board again!  Shame on the two selectmen who voted in favor of this!  A real slap in the face to the tax-paying residents of Stoughton!"---Name Withheld Upon Request

"Mark: The Kathleen M. Bedrosian Scholarship Tournament was once again a resounding success this past Friday night.  Over $1400.00 was raised for the scholarship fund for Stoughton High School students!  Teams from all the elementary schools, middle school, high school, police department and fire department competed.  The O'Donnell Middle School Alumni team defeated the Fire Department for the championship in a thrilling match.  I would like to thank Papa John's for providing the pizzas at a discounted rate.  I would also like to thank the following volunteers for making the tournament possible for the 13th consecutive year: Ken Gay, John Gunning, Hollie Blaustein, AnnMarie Leonard and Julie Linehan.  I would also like to thank Chad Kelley for his assistance setting up the high school gymnasium."---David Guglia, Assistant Principal, O'Donnell Middle School.    

"Dear Mr. Maillet: Mealpay is a service offered by the Stoughton Schools to families for the purpose of keeping their child's lunch account current, by avoiding sending cash to the school. If you choose to send cash with your child, the fee is not a factor. As you know, all credit card transactions have fees assessed to them. In fact, everything you purchase each day has the credit card fee built into the price. The statement below was part of the letter from Mealpay all of us who use the service received. As you can see, the fee structure has nothing to do with the school department. The fee associated with MealpayPlus does not go back to the district.  MealpayPlus uses the amount to pay for credit card processing costs, development and support costs as well as hosting the website.  It also covers all expenses in regard to security of the website.
I understand your frustration and I shared my dissatisfaction with MealPay when I was informed of the increase. As a parent, you have the right to use this service or not. The foodservice department constantly strives to improve the services we off to the parents and students of Stoughton."-- Regards, Edward Gilbert, Director of Food Services, Stoughton Public Schools

"I'm mad and I am not going to take it anymore. Why should we have to pay an increase to mealpay for Stoughton school lunch, I bet there is a law that says that Federally subsides lunch can not have a fee attached to it and an increase to 4.5% is an outrage."---Allen P. Maillet

"Mark, I was at the ZBA meeting tonight on Woodbridge Crossing. The letter from WC was read with their change in 2 and 1 bedroom units. A motion was made to postpone the hearing until June 25, to give the developer more time to present his new proposal. I asked several times to be recognized, which I was not, so I spoke anyway. I told the ZBA that they were responsible to the taxpayers of the town, not the developer, at no avail, I was told I was out of order, I said they were out of order. I think we need a new ZBA, some of them have been on to long. This should have been denied and make the developer refile for a new case. How did you like the last sentence in the 2nd paragraph "the demand for 2-bedroom units as residents seek more economical living arrangements by splitting housing costs." I can't believe they wrote that, more than one family in an apartment. The longer this is drawn out the fewer and fewer citizens will be at the meetings. I think we will be visting family in Maine on June 25, other people will be on vacation. I'm beginning to think this a complete bag job. 156 two bedroom apartments mean at least 100 children for the school system as well as more cars."---Leo R. Mellyn

"Dear Parents and guardians: Please be advised that the Stoughton Schools Food Service Department will stop accepting credit card payments through the Mealpay Plus system this Friday, May 8, 2009 at midnight. All prepay payments to a student meal account must be paid with cash or a bank check (made payable to Stoughton School Lunch Program.) Personal checks are no accepted. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. The reason for turning off the service is to avoid a 4.75% fee all Mealpay Plus users would be charged, because the district is going to start accepting bus fees. The reason for the % fee instead of the flat fee is; Bus fees and meal fees are processed differently through MealPay. All payments made to a child's meal account before Friday evening will carry the standard $2.00 flat transaction fee. The payment system will be back to normal in the fall. if anything is different, we will be sure to post information on our district website and each of the schools websites. Thank you for a wonderful year."--Edward Gilbert, Director of Food Services, Stoughton Public Schools (781-297-1051  ext. 1)

"Hi Mark, I am just responding to the letter written by the Town Meeting Representative.  He/She stated the letter was signed by a COA Board member so why are they saying that 'if Chris wanted to save her job she should use her own resources'?  It was not her who sent out the literature or am I missing something here. Do departments send out information or prepare information when they have an article coming up at Town Meeting?  Could this really be illegal?  I ask because I really do not know."-- Diane Tynan

"Dear Mark: I am a Town Meeting Representative.  Today I received an envelope containing three items: a letter from Sharon Farrell, the acting Chariman of the Council on Aging Board of Directors, a letter from Andrea L. Miller, a probation officer of the Norfolk County Probation Department, and a page of testimonials on the Council on Aging from various people who utilize the Senior Center.  The letter from Ms. Farrell was printed on official town stationery.  It was basically listing various services that the Council on Aging provides and various numbers of residents serviced.  It also contained information on events sponsored by the Council during the year. The envelope was an official envelope from the Town of Stoughton Council on Aging.  The envelope had a stamp; it was not run through a postage meter. It seems to me that it is inappropriate, if not downright illegal, for a town department to send this sort of mailing out.  It is clearly intended to sway Town Meeting members' sympathies in favor of the Director, whose position is in jeapordy of being eliminated.  It is not a coincidence that this letter arrived in the mail today, two days prior to the start of the annual Town Meeting.  Can you please look into this?  I can't believe that town resources (stationery, printing costs, and even time devoted to it) were used for this!  It seems to me that if Ms. Quinn wants to appeal to the residents of Stoughton to save her job, she should use her own resources and do it on her own time!"---Name Withheld Upon Request

"Mark, It would be interesting to know how many of the Friends for Seniors, actually live in Stoughton. Marie Jardin is correct, this all goes back to the Bingo. An other local TV host has kept it going, he and his cohorts have been calling for Chris Quinns removal for years. They originally were after both Chris and Pat Bassler at the library. Looks like they finally found an allie."--- L. E. MELLYN

"Dear Mr. Snyder: Thank you for the nice words that you wrote in your column about the Council on Aging.  I would also like to see the end to the division of the aged in Stoughton.  However, you indicated that the friends for the elderly were excluded from the COA. That is incorrect.  I was on the COA board for six years, and we never excluded anyone.  We welcome every senior citizen in the town of Stoughton.  As you know, it all  started because the bingo group wanted to take over all the rooms. They would stand in back of those who were at the congregate meals because they wanted the chairs, and they wanted the doors that divide 
the two rooms to be opened.  Chris Quinn had a vision of how those  rooms would be used  for programs that would be healthy for the seniors.  She wrote up some rules which the bingo group could not 
accept, and they left the Senior Center with a great deal of  hostility. That vengeance has last for seven years! The group has verbally stated to many that they would not step their foot in the COA  until Chris Quinn was out. They have ruined her reputation, spreading  gossip and maligning her in the coffee shops in the town. In addition, they are calling Selectmen constantly for every little reason,and thank God ,we have a few new ones on the board. The friends for the elderly do not do anything for the COA.  It is most distressing that they are under the auspices of the church.  We are supposed to love all our brethren. We now have a wonderful group at the COA Bingo. They are polite and respect one another. "---Marie T. Jardin

"Hi Mark, I read the letter from Dorit K Fland and feel compelled to respond.  First & foremost – YES! THERE IS A JEWISH NURSERY SCHOOL on Ethyl Way in Stoughton and it had been in business since the 70’s.  Shaloh House Preschool is and has always been an amazing school for children ages 15 months through Kindergarten.  If your readers are looking for a warm, nurturing, developmentally appropriate, safe and happy place for their young children – send them my way. For registration info for the Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten or Summer programming call 781-344-6334 or email ShalohHouse@gmail.com. Additionally, it is true that the JCC had a place in town before the building they now lease to the YMCA, however; a building and an organization DOES NOT and should not define the Jewish Community of Stoughton and/or the local neighboring towns.  There are two synagogues in Stoughton, Ahavath Torah and Shaloh House; we have two kosher restaurants on Washington Street and we certainly don’t require a building to define who we are as Jews and who we are as active and involved members of the community.  The Striar JCC and JCC’s of Greater Boston did what they did and we are not going to turn back the hands of time, we can however; look at today and look toward the future to plan what we can do as a community to continue to thrive and grow as we have been doing since the beginning of time!  The south shore is a great place to live and raise families with or without a JCC!"--- B'Shalom, Marilyn Rabinovitz, Director Shaloh House Preschool & Kindergarten

Dear Mark: I wanted to let you know that as of yesterday we are now at half of the cost of the surgery. Last week the vet agreed to do the surgery if we could atleast put half down. Ozzie is going in this afternoon and everyone is very excited and happy that he is going to get to live the long life he deserves to live. I want to thank you gentlemen for your support. Mark you really helped me get the word out and believe me it did. The Norfolk County Humane Society is going to help me with the rest of the balance that will remain after the surgery. We have been so busy moving but we are now finally settled in. I have also been doing volunteer work for the Norfolk County Humane Society of Canton and that has been keeping my days full. I am hoping to find full time employment soon. My unemployment is about to run out. Its very tough finding a job the way things are. When Ozzie is fully recovered from the surgery I would like to let everyone know. If its ok with you Mark, mabye Ozzie and I can make another appearance on your show to let everyone know. As being a part of the NCHS I will be fostering a dog from time to time. Let me know your thoughts on televising dogs available for adoption. Again, 1000 thank you's and I hope to hear from you soon. Take care."--Kari Rockman 

"Mark, I would like to congratulate the Stoughton Middle School Hockey Team for defeating North Attleboro and Clinching the Grey Division Championship. The team plays in the Foxboro Sports Center Middle School Hockey League. The Team is: Jack Kane, Chris Gill, Nick Bruttanitti, Patrick Kane, Justin Phillips, Bret Lima, Kyle Connaughton, Kenny Carter, Cody Buckman, Drew Destefano, Jacob Rohrer, Zack Swartz, Johnny Catrone PJ Sheehan, Mitchell Wingert, Kyle Feist, Ryan McSweeney and Danny Goldberg."--Thank You, Buddy O'Neil

"Mark, With Precinct 8 being usually the lowest number of residents running for town meeting it makes me wonder if we should/could change the precincts to a total of 7. If I remember correctly, there are 21 seats per precinct, 7 seats up for election each year. So, we could keep Town Mtg the same size by increasing the total town meeting rep's per precinct by 3 each. I think that would help fill more of those seats that, currently in Precinct 8, don't even have enough people running."-- Bob Barbell

"Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) would like to alert his constituents of energy assistance still available through the Energy Bucks campaign until April 30, 2009. Energy efficiency services are still available to families at little or no cost, depending on their income. Typically, a family of four can qualify for some form of assistance of energy efficiency services if their income is less than $4,124 a month. This year, the Massachusetts’ federal heating assistance allocation nearly doubled from $114 million to $212 million, and funding for low-income weatherization increased to $13 million. Energy Bucks is an integrated campaign that creates “one-stop shopping” for energy assistance services, enabling Massachusetts residents to better understand and apply for programs that can help them manage their energy costs. To find out if you qualify for assistance, visit the Energy Bucks website at www.energybucks.com or call 1-866-LESS-COST."--Emily Unsworth, Communications Director, Senator Brian A. Joyce

"Dear Mark: Are you one of the lucky ones who received the very expensive, fancy and professionally created mailing from the JCC?  They labelled the new Sharon nursery school the Stoughton/Sharon site; how insulting is that after they abandoned our community.  Years ago the JCC was located on Central Street in the little brick building that is now office condo's.  It is behind Walgreens though back in the day it was simply across the street from NHD.  A simple brick building served the community well.  How much money do you think they got for the sale of the building AND ALL THAT LAND when they sold it to the YMCA?  do you think they got enough to buy a small brick building in town to continue to service the needs of our local community?  Now they have the chutzpa to call the new Sharon Nursery school their Stoughton/Sharon site.  We had a Jewish nursery school in town, now we have none.  We had a Jewish Community center, now it is gone.  We had a Jewish Day school, that left too.  What do we get in return; a fable that they left because they didn't have the money to keep it open yet they seem to have a lot of funding to promote their new locations."-- Dorit K Fland

(Dorit--I DID get that mailer. And the "JCC without walls" is reflective of a " JCC of Greater Boston without Morals." But, the JCC building on Central Street was NOT sold to the Old Colony YMCA. It was leased with an option to buy.---MARK)

"Dear Mr. Snyder: I am hoping you can help me spread my story about my young German Shephard that I am trying to save. I have attached a flyer in this email that I have been posting all around Stoughton for the past few days. My 6 Year old German Shephard is very sick and needs life saving heart surgery. Other than the fluid in his heart that has to be removed, he is a very healthy dog. I have a flyer posted in the Stoughton Post Office, Beantown Deli, Mobile Gas, Sal & Katies, Cheng-Du, etc. Is there any possibility of you speaking to the public about my Ozzie to help us seek donations? I am currently seeking as many donations as possible and have opened a PO Box at the Post Office. I am hoping to get our story out there to encourage people to make small donations or even give advice as to how I can seek financial assitance with this. Again, I attached the Flyer we made up and if you could just take a minute to read it and look at our dogs picture, I would be most greatful. His name is Ozzie and he was born in Stoughton on October 13, 2003. The gentleman that gave Ozzie to me rescued Ozzies mom while she was pregnant with him from a very neglectful neighbor. Ozzie is literally a life long resident in the town of Stoughton and is loved by many. Please respond at your earliest onvenience with your thoughts on this. Thank you for any help you may be able to give. Happy Easter/Passover!"--Kari Rockman, P.O. Box 621, Stoughton, MA 02072

(Anyone who would like to help out Kari and Ozzie can send contributions directly to her.---MARK)

"Hi Mark: I apologize if I offended any of the members of the Council on Aging Board.  It was not apparent to me and several other members of the audience that they were there.   I  felt bad that she was left to defend her position alone and felt it would have added much value if a member of her board was with her and assisted with the presentation.  It was obvious that Christine was very nervous and I think anyone in this position would be. The Council on Aging Board and staff are a very important part of every community.  I just hope that when this is said and done that the Town still has a Director and Outreach Worker. Again I apologize I certainly did not mean to offend anyone. Thanks."--Diane Tynan

"Hi Mark: The Sharon Board of Selectmen has announced a Selectmen’s  meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on April 14. Brickstone representatives are presenting an update on the project. The meeting is open to all 'interested parties' and surrounding towns. Their meetings usually take place at the Selectmen’s office at Town Hall but because of high interest, it may be moved to the High School Library or the community center. Stay tuned. Please get the word out, Best regards."-- Norm MacInnis

"The trash at Quail Run is a perfect example why we do not need another 40B development in our town. W e do not need any more people from Brockton or Boston that do not care about the town of Stoughton. I hope the ZBA will finally disapprove this. It is not the job of the Town of Stoughton to help the developer make a buck. It is the job of the ZBA to protect the town of stoughton. We do not need Woodbridge Crossing"-- Leo E Mellyn

"I need talk to you about the trash problem where I live at Quail Run. Do a drive threw. The compactor gets backed up and then the trash goes down the stairs and then it goes onto the ground and sometimes its goes a couple of feet long, all because someone does not throw it down the shoot! This happens at least 4 times if not more per month and they do nothing about it. Maintenance will come on Mondays (because this usually happpens on the weekends) and cleans it up. Thats it! Mark, I called Board oh Health and they said that they need pictures. I do not have a camera. We are going to get rats especially in the summer. We already have friggin seagulls! I have said stuff to the property manager and she does nothing. I would love for you to look into this. The neighbors are not going to do anything. Sometimes its the little kids that throw the trash down the shoot, but the are too short to see. The parents around here don't care but I do, its my view! Please Mr.Mark help, I am reaching out to you! Thank you. Right now its starting to go down the stairs. When you drive in, straight till you need to bare right and its on the left by maintenance office."--Name Withheld Upon Request.

"Mark has much as I regret I must ask that you do not publish my name. The treatment that Chris Quinn has received is proof of the retaliation that exists in the Town Hall. The town manager does not need a contract. The town gets no benefit at all. Phil Farrington served many years without a contract. Scott is right the TM is better now with the 4 to fire rule. John Carrol has been TM of Norwood over twenty years without a contract. The contract only benefits the TM, not the Town."-- Name Withheld Upon Request

"Hi Mark:  I wish to take exception to the remarks made by Diane Tynan. There were several members of the Council on Aging Board of Directors present at the Finance Committee including the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Members present were COA Board Vice Chairman Sharon Farrell, Gyneth McGarvey, Warren West, David Nankin, Chairman John Anderson, former Vice Chair Marie Jardin, and myself. We have met with the Fin Com subcommittee and the full Committee several times over the last few years when the Fin Com felt it important to makes cuts to the Council on Aging budget. They know who we are and they knew we were present that evening. We felt that it was more important for the Fin Com to hear from the senior population concerning the severe budget cuts being made to the Council. Christine Quinn and the Stoughton seniors have always had the full support of the Council on Aging Board of Directors. The proposed budget cuts will have a devastating affect on the services to our seniors and frail elders who deserve the best services we can provide. – Jeanne M. Fleming, Council On Aging Board of Directors

"Mark, I think it should ment"ioned that there are several members of the current finance committee, that are on record as wanting Chris Quinn to be gone. They should not be voting on this issue."--Leo E Mellyn

"Good Morning, It was nice to finally meet you at the Finance Committee meeting.  I have been thinking a lot about that meeting since it took place.  I think it is outrageous that Christine Quinn was left to defend her position on her own.  Where were her board members specifically her Chairman to speak for her and the efforts of the Council on Aging as a whole. I realize that there are some in town that do not like Christine.  However, I do not think personalities should come into play when we are discussing such an important population within the Town.  I personally would not want to work for a town that treats their employees with such little respect as has been demonstrated with the COA Director and Outreach Worker. Take Care."-- Diane Tynan

"Hi Mark: I know this is short notice, but would you please post this for folks interested in 40B reform issues? Subject: Wetlands & 40B - legislative hearing this Tuesday. The Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government will be convening a public hearing this Tuesday on four bills aimed at improving Chapter 40B.  The bills, Senate Nos. 770-773, were filed by Senator Hedlund, and seem to be very reasonable reforms to the statute.  Bills 770 and 772  exempt wetlands and historic district bylaws from among the local bylaws that may be waived under Chapter 40B. Their concepts are solid and meritorious.  The hearing will be on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 10:00 AM in State House Room A-1.  I encourage anyone with an interest in preserving local wetland and historic district bylaws and who can attend to do so, or submit written testimony to the Committee. Attached are the bills."---Donna Ayers

"Dear Mark: I wanted to send a very clear message as a Town Meeting member that I will NOT support any municipal budget that includes any substantial cuts in services to both the Council on Aging and the Youth Commission.  I will not do so while the town maintains a $80,000 new position of Town Planner.  Further, I will not vote (if appropriate) to put either Director in charge of the others department.  I also hope that the COA Director understands that she can NOT and has NOT been the person who offers services to the bilingual Portuguese elders in town.  Ms. Lourenco has been one person where this community actually does something for the elderly Portuguese who do not have the language skills to speak English for purposes such as doctors, legal matters, etc. So, how she can provide that service is beyond me.  Furthermore, the current person can do it for both populations- English speaking and Portuguese speaking. Lastly, I ask the candidates for office to address with specifics how they will handle this mess...I say support the elderly and youth of Stoughton and can the Town Planners position.  I hope my Town Meeting friends do the same.With Regards."--Joseph F. Baeta, Precinct 6

"Dear Mark: When we had the recall of the 2 Selectman over the police problem, it was in the paper, etc. until you were sick of it.  Now, when someone runs for selectman who was recalled from the School Committee, no mention is made of this fact.  John Anderson was recalled from the School Committee because he and the rest of the members that were recalled had a plan to mandate that students walk between the West and the Middle Schools when we went through that whole Junior High to Middle School name and philosophy change.  That change was not well thought out, resulted in lowered test scores, and a great expense to the town.  Do you think that as a selectman, Mr. Anderson will miraculously achieve some common sense?  Leopards do not change their spots.  He talks a good game, but his past performance is a predictor of his future performance."-- David Camacho, Former Member Stoughton School Committee, Stoughton Committee on Finance and Taxation

"Hi Mark - If you do not mind - I wanted to clarify a few things in your article and please feel free to cut and paste this email. 1).  I appreciate the comment that you thought the audience was rude to the Chair on a couple of occasions.  However, I don't think they were rude but impassioned which leads sometimes to a few outbursts. I did not take it personally and completely understood that it was pent up frustration because we were the first group that they had an opportunity to give comment to on the recommendation. A better process would have allowed the opportunity for them to speak to the Board of Selectmen prior to the Finance Committee. 2).  Your linkage of the Veteran's Budget and it's relationship to Council of Aging Budget was not necessarily what I meant when talking about the Veteran's Budget.  First and foremost not all Veteran's are elderly and so there is not direct link. However, my point is that as the Finance Committee ,we need to think globally about the impact of State and Federal Mandates on our budget especially in tough economic times.  
3). The Council of Aging offers a tremendous amount of high-quality services! However, when I received letters of support from various Council of Aging groups across the State, I felt that I needed to gather some background information on various programs so if we did make adjustments to the budget that it was based on economic factors and on data from comparable Council of Aging groups throughout the State rather than political pressure.  I was actually very surprised by the facts that came out of my phone calls and internet research.  
4).  Although, I did not make a comment last night about the alternative budget presented by Ms. Quinn, the Finance Committee will be unable to act on it. Due to contract provisions, the Finance Committee cannot recommend reducing union positions in half without allowing the opportunity for the Union and the Town to open up bargaining. Furthermore, if allowed to be half-time, that position will be allotted full Town benefits.  It was also a bit perplexing to see that the position being cut was the dispatcher when probably the most utilized service of the Council of Aging is the transportation program.
5).  Ms. Quinn mentioned that there are more than 5,000 seniors in Stoughton and on an average day about 100 seniors utilize the Council of Aging's Programs and Services.  Therefore, on an average day the Council of Aging is reaching less than 5% of Stoughton Seniors.  How are the other 95% of Seniors obtaining their support services on a daily basis?  Therefore, an ethical question comes to play for me - in my role as Finance Committee Chair should I think about what is best for all of the Seniors in Stoughton or only the 5% who attend the Senior Center on an average day. 
6).  For your information there are also another 2 Departments in Town which as submitted by the Board of Selectmen would require their merger, Building and Engineering, if funding is not restored for an administrative position. The worst thing that the Finance Committee could do is not take an objective role in the budget process. We must recommend town budgets that are representative of the available funds and global community needs.  If for no other reason than it represents one great part of our democratic process of checks and balances.   I am very happy that some members of the Stoughton Senior population had an opportunity to state their opinions to the Finance Committee and also understood why many of them left just as frustrated as when they arrived.  I would also welcome any individual to provide us with their thoughts on various budgets and opportunities to increase our revenue to avoid possible cuts. As I promised last night, the Finance Commitee will continue to try and identify additional funds to help restore various positions and services."-- Holly Boykin
 

"Mark, I just read your story regarding the proposed budget cut at the Council of Aging and the campaign of mis-information being distributed by some people. I want to all of the seniors who enjoy the Senior Center to know, IT WILL NOT CLOSE, AND IT HAS NOT EVEN BEEN CONSIDERED!!!. I am appalled, but not surprised that there are people who will go to the extreme of intentionally mis-leading and scaring senior citizens. I have been contacted by several seniors who said they were told at the Senior Center it was closing. ITS NOT!!. The town is facing a 1.4 million dollar deficit and unfortunately meeting that deficit is not attainable without personnel cuts. I can't speak for all of the Selectmen, but I think it's safe to say that we all want to provide essential services and keep our town in the best shape possible. There are many people at the Senior Center, both employees and volunteers who do an outstanding job every day. I am confident that they will continue to do so whatever the outcome. Don't diminish their hard work and dedication by spreading rumors and mis-leading people. Its NOT FAIR!!"--Joe Mokrisky

"Mark, I see your headline that our current Town Mgr is a finalist for a job in Kingston. I wish him great luck in this endeavor. It is well overdue that Mark Stankiewicz and the Town of Stoughton part ways. A person in such a position making their personal political feelings known by flying a flag up the Town Hall flag pole is well beyond inappropriate. In response to a Grand Jury investigation one week before a recall election he suspended 6 members of the Police dept. From the Patriot Ledger, 10/29/04 "Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz said he placed ex-Chief Manuel Cachopa and the other officers on indefinite leave yesterday because their continued presence at the Stoughton Police Department is an impediment to the investigation.'' From the same Patriot Ledger article "'It's my responsibility,' Stankiewicz said. "Our overall concern has to be the health and safety of the 27,000 Stoughton residents.''' Mark, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Grand Jury Investigations CLOSED and no information is supposed to be shared outside of the grand jury proceedings? So, if the DA's office didn't give Stankiewicz information leading him to make this decision, who did? We, the People of Stoughton deserve better."--Bob Barbell

"Hi Mark! The Stoughton  8th grade travel team was defeated by North Andover,  56 to 52  coming in second place in the Massachusetts state championship. Stoughton defeated No Andover  last year for the 7th grade championship. They met us again this year and got their revenge . The tourney consisted of  16 of the state best teams: only Stoughton and  No Andover were left after the final round. Good sportsmanship  was shown by both teams . The boys can still be proud  of  being Metro West champs  3  straight years in the division 1  Hockomock league."--Steve Kelly

"Dear Stoughton Officials and Interested Residents: As a member of the state’s Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight, I am pleased to alert you to a significant announcement made today concerning FY10 education funding that could bring almost $600,000 additional dollars to the Stoughton Public Schools. As part of the Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Patrick announced a plan to allocate $168 million in federal education recovery funds to ensure every district in the Commonwealth reaches so-called “foundation” spending levels next school year. The state’s historic education reform law established foundation budgets for communities, setting a minimum funding threshold districts must meet so that students receive a “fair and adequate” education.  Based on the Chapter 70 figures in the Governor’s FY10 budget, 166 school districts were funded below foundation-level, including Stoughton.  If this proposal is approved, these stimulus funds for education would ensure that all districts receive the amount necessary to reach foundation-level.  For Stoughton schools, this means an additional $591,698 in state Ch. 70 funding. Given the dire economic situation at the national, state and local level; this is good news.  However, the reality remains that after several years of economic growth and post 9/11 recovery, we face the greatest economic challenge of our generation and there are no easy solutions.  I will continue to work with local officials to explore additional ways in which we can work together to assist Stoughton."--Brian A. Joyce, State Senator

"Hi- I was wondering if you can put this on your web site? We are organizing our 35 year reunion from SHS, Class of 1974.  We are in the process of planning a casual gathering for our 35th Class Reunion.  With that in mind we would like your input.  If you would, please respond to the following:

If you were to attend our 35th Class Reunion this year (2009) would you prefer it...  A. during the summer   B. during the fall   C. either fall or summer. Contact us at: Classof74.shs@gmail.com  Thank you!"--Dan Mark

"Mark, I would like to impress upon your readers, the residents of Stoughton, two important points concerning the Brickstone Mega-Development, and the hearing before the Selectmen this Tuesday: 1)  The magnitude of Brickstone is like no other! It is really a small town with six 8 story high rise buildings, a150 bed nursing home, plus amenities. It will be built in the middle of wetlands, and conservation land with absolutely NO infrastructure to support it. No roads, water, or sewage! THAT BURDEN will be thrust upon Stoughton. It is the antithesis of Smart Growth, being nowhere close to public transportation, or main arteries. They are promising not even the minimum of new (Leeds) environmental standards. This will forever adversely impact us. Literally thousands of trucks and cars will be flowing directly into Stoughton. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of polluted PPCP laden water will be flowing directly into our water and wells, and the money to maintain the roads, and deal with everything else will be flowing directly out of our pockets. No amount of money offered by Brickstone as mitigation for this is acceptable. 2). We need to create a political imperative to unite in defense of the town. That is why the turnout to Tuesday's Selectmen hearing will have a direct correlation to how united we all are in fighting this. SEE YOU AT THE SELECTMEN'S MEETING TUESDAY, MARCH 17 - GREAT HALL!"--Rick Lynch

"Hi Mark: For the last three years the Stoughton Police and Fire Departments have developed quite an athletic rivalry.  Whether it be the gridiron, the softball field, or the ice, both departments have gone head to head to benefit our community.  Next Saturday night things are going to change.  The hockey teams from the police and fire departments have joined forces to face off against the police and fire departments from Canton.  This benefit has a deeper meaning to those of us hitting the ice.  This game will benefit the family of Boston Fire Lieutenant Kelley who was killed in the line of duty when the engine he was riding in crashed into a building.  Attached is the article from this week's Canton Journal.     As always, admission is free and donations will be accepted at the door.  If people cannot attend the game but would like to donate to the cause, donations are being accepted at the Canton Fire Headquarters.  The game will take place Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Metropolis Rink on Rte. 138 in Canton.  We are going into Canton's territory so we would love to have some Stoughton fans come cheer us on."--John Bonney  

"This has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard, put the COA under the Youth Commission. Lets try it the other way the Youth Commission under the COA.. I will bet that more people take part in the Coa, than in the Youth Commission. Lets get a little common sense back in town.  Also,   regarding the recent article in the Boston Globe on the Moderators from Milton and Canton getting Pensions.. I there any chance that our moderator will get a pension due to his stipend. Ask this at the next candidate night. Get a yes or no,, not a non denial, denial. I am not afraid of saying who I am."--Leo E. Mellyn

"Dear Mr. Snyder: My name is Kevin Smith and I am a Business Technology Teacher and Assistant Hockey Coach at Stoughton High School. During the month of April, we will be holding a free hockey and skating skills clinic for any Stoughton resident in grades 1 – 8.  I was wondering if you would be able to post information about this event on your web site.  For your convenience, I am attaching a copy of the press release of the clinic as well as a PDF of the registration form. Any support you could provide would be greatly appreciated.  Please feel free to contact me if there’s anything I can help with. Thank you."--Kevin Smith

"Mark: I learned recently that the senior class at Stoughton High School had lost their senior privileges due to an incident at a basketball game recently involving a handful of students.  I thought it was unfair, to say the least.  How can a school administrator punish an entire class of students because of the actions of a few?  But, it's worse than that.  Today, I found out that there were kids involved in this incident that were not seniors, and that they were not punished.  I am appalled that the principal punishes close to 300 students in the senior class, and allows the students who were underclassmen to go unpunished! I have a senior at the high school.  She has never misbehaved at school.  She has never been assigned an after-school session.  She has spent four years being respectful, following the rules, and doing what is expected of her.  Yet, now she has lost earned privileges due to the actions of a handful of others, some of whom are bearing no responsibility whatsoever.  My daughter wasn't even at the game! Neither was the majority of the senior class. The administrationat Stoughton High School should be ashamed of themselves.  Making hundreds suffer the consequences for the actions of a few is wrong.  Allowing some of those few to walk away altogether is a disgrace."--- Name Withheld Upon Request

"Hi Mark: Stoughton Board of Selectmen has agreed to put Brickstone Sharon LLC on the Agenda for the March 17 meeting,  It has been on the agenda in Sharon for over two years!  Although we are abutters, we have not been notified since the development will not be in our town.  The proposed entrance, however, will be in Stoughton along with all the traffic. This is the reason Sharon wants the entrance on Bay Road.
As Stoughton residents, we welcome the opportunity to address our Board of Selectmen before Brickstone Sharon LLC  comes to ask for an opening into our town. Our concerns have been ignored by this developer and by our neighbor, so we would like to be heard by our sworn officials. Please ask you readers to plan to attend this important meeting on March 17. We elected our Selectmen to represent us. The residents of Stoughton do not want Brickstone in our town. We did not vote to put the proposed entrance on Bay, and we own the road. The Sharon residents voted to put the entrance on Bay and they don't own the road. An entrance on Bay  impacts the taxpayers of Stoughton while minimizing the negative effects on Sharon."-- Mary Dennett

"Dear Friends and Family: I recently decided to participate in Walk MS, and I'm inviting you to join my team! By joining my team, you will be signing up not just for a day of fun, but also for a celebration of the great things we can achieve when working together for a common cause. Each step we take brings us one step clos er to a cure - and closer to a world without multiple sclerosis. So what are you waiting for? Join my team today or make a donation on my behalf. P.S. Eighty-five (85) percent of the proceeds from the walk provide help for today and hope for tomorrow to 14,000 families affected by MS. Please visit www.MSnewengland.org. Click here to visit my personal page. "--Rhonda Vito

"Dear Mark: One of the teachers at Stoughton High suggested that I forward you an email I sent to the faculty regarding a very exciting opportunity being offered to the choral students next week.  If there is room in the local paper, perhaps it is something about which the community would love to be informed!  Here is the information:
A very unique and special opportunity has arisen for our choral students.  Dr. Christopher Kiver, one of the leading choral professors at Penn State University, contacted me last week to ask if he could bring his Glee Club here to SHS to perform for my choir.  He then offered his services to work with the choirs in a master class.  Dr. Kiver is an internationally acclaimed conductor and educator; having brought his expertise to multiple states in the US, and having been invited to work with choirs both in England and Australia.  He truly is the best of the best and the fact that he offered to come to Stoughton FOR FREE is just astounding!!!! The kids are in for a HUGE treat.  I have worked with his schedule and ours to make use of the choral students' time as efficiently as possible.  His choir will perform for us during F Hour (Concert Choir) on Tuesday, and then he will be returning to work with the students during F Hour on Wednesday.  He also offered to work with the Jazz Choir during G Hour.  This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids to be offered his perspective, and a rare occurence that a professor of his calibur would do such a thing free of charge!  We thank him for sharing his talents and are thrilled to welcome him here to Stoughton. I'm not sure if this is of any interest to you, but if so, here it is!  Thanks so much!"--~Ianthe Marini (SHS Choral Director)

"Mark,  I don't know who told you that Francis T. Crimmins, Jr.  (or Sr.) was a state representative.  He aspired to that office long after Stoughton was Gerrymandered out of its own district.
In the 1950s we were in an Avon-Stoughton- Sharon district.  In the 1960s early 70s, before the reduction in the size of the General Court, Stoughton and Canton and Avon had a two-rep district. Both reps came
from Canton, Paul Schneiders and Michael Curran (?)    In 1974 Stoughton had its own district. Francis T. Crimmins, Sr Charles Ahern, William J. Kelley, Jr.(Moderator), Thomas A. Recupero, Paul Goulston, Richard T. Murphy, Jack Dembrowsky and Charles Yaitanes had ambitions for this seat as Democrats. Henry Rist and Orrin Hansen sought the Republican nomination. In the Democratic Primary Paul Goulston surpassed Dr. Recupero  by 28 votes. Orrin Hansen by 2 to 1 won got the Republican Nomination.   The race divided the Democratic Town Committee. Jack Dembrowsky quit the Dems and ran as an "Independent". Richard C. Sawyer, who wrote for the Stoughton Chronicle, and a member of a strong Republican family also ran as an "Independent" . The reverse of the intention of decimating the Democrats by having a four way race failed. Pharmacist Paul Goulston, Steve Goulston's father, won the race by a wide margin. For the next four years Paul Goulston was STOUGHTON's real State Rep.    The irony of this race: Jack Dembrowsky turned Republican; Dr. Recupero left the Democratic Town Committee because it was "too Liberal." Orrin Hansen became Chairman of the Republican Town Committee; Francis T. Crimmins, Sr. remained a Selectmen on the 7 member Board of Selectmen.   In 1976, the LWV pushed for a reduction in the House and the Town of Stoughton was divided sharing Marjorie Claprood with Sharon, and Bill Vernon from Easton after the 1978 election.  In 1980, Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. still working his way to become a lawyer became disgruntled with the Democratic Town Committee and decided to run for Selectman and lost the first time around. Not willing to leave politics, Frank Crimmins took a second shot at becoming a Selectman and won in 1982 when the BOS was reduced to 5 members.   Frank Crimmins during his Selectmen years, passed the Bar and
opened his own law office. One year he tried to run for State Rep as an Independent and got Republican support. Ms. Marjorie quickly reacted with a mid-decade redistricting hoping to knock Frank out of the district, but failed to realize that Francis T. Crimmins, Sr. lived in Precinct 4, and FTC, Jr. lived in Precinct  7!    Frank Crimmins defeated Bill Kelley by 105 votes as Moderator in 1985. In the 7 years of his tenure as Moderator, Frank Crimmins was challenged 4 times. He became Chairman of the Republican Town Committee and twice challenged Marjorie Claprood for State Rep. Both times he LOST. Ironically, Marjorie Claprood endorsed Attorney Frank Crimmins for his judgeship appointment in 1992."-- Howard Hansen, Town Moderator

(Howard: I stand corrected. I was thinking of Mr. Goulston, and confused two prominent families!---MARK)

"Mark, I just heard about the Stone Ends fire Monday evening.  If there are any veterans from the 23 homeless families, they should call my office.  Depending on their circumstances, my office may be able to provide some assistance.  The number is 781-341-1300 x220"--  Mike Pazyra, Department of Veterans Services   

"Mark, Please pass this along to the Selectmen. The Governor's 141 page Transportation Bill "An Act to Reform, Rebuild, and Renew the Transportation System of the Commonwealth for the Twenty-First Century" is attached and can also be found at www.mass.gov/youmovemassachusetts along with other info on the legislation and perspective of the administration. I have also attached a power point presentation by the Under Secretary of Transportation at the MAPC Winter Meeting on Tuesday 2/24/09 title: "Governor Patrick's Transportation and Economic Security Plan". The thrust of the Governor's direction (see Power Point Presentation) as it pertains to Stoughton and to South Coast Rail (SCR) is that 3 cents of the proposed 19 cents gas tax is for South/West/North Rail Projects.  I understand that 2 cents of the 3 are targeted for SCR - although I don't find it in print.  The argument that some make "Don't worry, there is no money for the project" does not (or will not) hold water.  If the Town wants to act, it had better get its act together - and do it soon! Thank you for your help."--Lou Gitto

"Hi Mark: For two years, Stoughton residents have listened to the Sharon Board of Selectmen and Brickstone Sharon LLC discuss their plans for the development of a 300+ acre lot off Bay Road. To date, the proponents of this mega-development have shown a callous disregard for the Stoughton abutters. We heard how they want to widen the road on both sides at the proposed entrance and install a traffic signal. Now we hear that they are discussing "an 8" CLDI inter-municipal water line..the length of Bay Road," as defined in Sharon's January 23 Amendment to the 2007 Agreement to re-zone the property. The residents of Stoughton are wondering what the Stoughton Board of Selectmen has heard? The people making these plans for Bay Road are neither residents nor taxpayers of the town of Stoughton. More importantly, since Stoughton owns Bay Road and we own the properties on it, we are wondering when it will be our turn to be heard?  Please ask your readers to contact the Board of Selectmen and ask that Brickstone be put on the Agenda so that Stoughton residents can hear their Selectmen's opinions and they can hear ours. Let's not have a repeat of NSTAR - when nothing was done until it was too late."  Mary D

 
"Hello Everyone. The Avon 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is coming to Boston this May and we need your help! Marci Levitan Bailey, my neice Amanda, and several others will be forming a team in Memory of Jessica Bartell. She was one of our classmates from Stoughton High...Class of 1988. Jessica passed away in January 1996 from Breast Cancer at the age of 25. Please help support our team. Each team member will need to raise the minimum of $1,800. Last Year, the money raised from the Boston Area Walk was distributed locally. Mass General Hospital/Harvard Comprehensive Cancer Center received $19.6 Million, Boston "Progress for Patients" received $2.9 Million, Dana Farber Cancer Institute recieved $250,000, UMASS Amherst recieved $510,000 in grants to research the affects of pregnancy and increased risks of Breast Cancer, and Boston Medical Center recieved $5.1 Million to help medical expenses for uninsured Breast Cancer patients. Boston is becoming a better place for Breast Cancer patients because of supporters like you!
Please pass the word! Anyone can be a sponsor for any amount. If you can only give $5.00 or $10.00 that's great! Please consider donating part of your Tax Refunds to a great cause!  My Avon Walk page is ....
http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk2009/Boston?px=4538124&amp;pg=personal&amp;fr_id=1770. If you are interested in helping but prefer to send a check rather than use a credit card, email me at krissygaughan@msn.com and I will provide you with an address to send it by mail! Thank you in advance for helping put an end to Breast Cancer!"--Kristine O'Reilly

"Hi Mark, I am still trying to get some answers as to why Verizon is not broadcasting the locally produced shows that I watched on the Comcast Service. I have been dealing with this for several weeks now, and it is truly amazing that no one can give me a straight answer to my rather simple question. Even Verizon’s own people can not tell me why this can not be done, if you have any ideas on who I should call please just send me a quick e-mail. I do know that Selectman John Anzivino has also mentioned this subject at a meeting questioning why this can not be done, and he did not received a clear answer.
To me this just seems so simple, the shows are taped, so make a copy of the tape and play it on Verizon, or if possible simply share the broad cast signal with Verizon until the new studio is built. I am no techno wiz, so I may be really missing something , if I am please let me know what you think. I do know that all the parties involved should get together and resolve this ASAP, then clearly let the public know just what is going on and what we can expect in the future for service and when. I also think that Verizon should discount all the existing Stoughton accounts until the Shows are aired, because we were told that we would have all the local shows and this clearly is not the case. I do request that you do not release my name. Thanks."-Name Withheld Upon Request.

(To "T", as the Chairman of the Town's Cable Advisory Committee, I can tell you that MANY people have complained that Verizon LIED to them and said they were offering all the local access shows. It seems to me (my opinion, not that of the Committee necessarily) that if the Board of Selectmen put enough pressure on Comcast (that is looking for a renewal) to permission in Stoughton for Verizon to directly tap Channel 9 and rebroadcast it--until the Stoughton Cable Non Profit Studio is up and running--that this would be instantly solved. The Selectmen are the ONLY ONES that could exert the appropriate pressure to get this done. All the selectmen have listed numbers---call them!---MARK)
 
"Hi Mark: To all your readers, if you are against any increase in the gas tax, write to your contacts in the State House: 
Brian.A.Joyce@state.ma.us, Rep.LouisKafca@hou.state.ma.us, or Rep.WilliamGalvin@hou.state.ma.us. Or, visit Governor Patrick @ www.mass.gov/governor/contact. On another item, Mark, the writer that found fault with your remarks about 'Jabour gone fishing'. If my memory is right, that person had difficulty with the police over a gun permit several years ago, talk about holding a grudge. There is also another very vocal PD critic that had a traffic ticket years ago over a broken tail light. Some people just can't move forward."-- Leo E Mellyn

"Hey Mark, This Thursday night (02/12) at 8:00 p.m. My Name Is Earl is a repeat.  If you are looking for something exciting to watch tune into the Stoughton Cable Channel 9 to check out this years Guns N Hoses Hockey game.  Special thanks to Bob Hood for taping the game and Kevin Smith for calling the play by play.  This game will be repeated every Thursday night at 8 p.m. for the next few weeks.  I have also been told that the game will be added into program in other spots yet to be determined."--John Bonney

"To the editor, Opinion page Headline in July 2005................"OPINION - Has Jabour gone fishing? Stoughton Journal July 22, 2005 by Mark Snyder." I guess Jabour did make a "catch".
Well now that Chief Cachopa has been convicted and Sgt. Cohen has been convicted and Sgt. Cohen pled the FIFTH in open court regarding his actions with Chief Cachopa, will Mark Snyder now do an
article on having the Massachusetts Attorney General do a full investigation of the Stoughton police since 1999 when Cachopa became acting Chief to root out all violations allowed by Chief Cachopa?
Injustice must be corrected everywhere it is found regardless of when it occurred. Not to do so allows injustice to be a threat to justice. When even small violations of a person's rights are allowed to exist anywhere, then such raises the threshold of what subsequent wrongs can be done. Mark Snyder, will you speak truth to injustice that has been done to innocent people by those acting under color of law and demand the Massachusetts
Attorney General to conduct a thorough investigation here in Stoughton, or have you "Gone Fishing"?"--Don Schwarz

"Hi Mark: The 3rd Annual Guns N Hoses game played on Saturday was a terrific event.  People do not realize what an undertaking this game is.  Laura Sheehan from Friends Of Stoughton Hockey (FOSH) and Buddy O'Niel of the Fire Department really should be congratulated for a job well done.  This years auction items were amazing.  The game raised a whopping $2,760.00 which is a new record.  To see that amount of money raised in this or any economic climate is a real testament to the people of this town.  I say congratulations to everyone who volunteered their time to organize, participate, or come watch this game.
The on ice action was the closest competition yet.  The police department took home their third trophy with a 2 - 0 win over the FD.  In the first period John Lydstone took a perfect feed from Chris Grover.  Lydstone fired the one timer by FD goalie Paul McCafferty to make it one nothing.  McCafferty was perfect in the second period turning back every effort from the police departments offense.  Halfway through the third period Roger Hardy took the puck from his own end and broke down the right side.  As he crossed over the blue line he blasted one past McCafferty to bring the score to 2 - 0.
A great night was had by all.  The game was video taped with play by play provided by Kevin Smith.  Hopefully we will be able to put the game on the Stoughton Public Access channel in the near future.
Thank you for the publicity you gave the game and we hope to see you next year."-- John Bonney

"Hi Mark: Stoughton residents should know that Brickstone Sharon LLC is now proposing an 'inter municipal' waterline for Bay Road at the proposed entrance to their enormous development. According to the official town web page, there will be a meeting on Tuesday January 27 in Sharon Town Hall to discuss amendments to the Agreement. Of particular interest to Stoughton families is Exhibit D-2  2608 1-16 09, which can be found on Sharon's web page http://www.townofsharon.net posted January 23.The pertinent amendment is 7 A Bay  Road Connection. I am wondering Mark if you, or any of your readers, are aware of the town of Stoughton being approached by either Sharon or Brickstone regarding this utility?"--- Mary Dennett

"Mark, If you love hockey and want to see great saves, sharp shooting, hard hitting, high flying action then I urge your readers to watch the Bruins/Rangers game on Saturday January 31, 2009 at 1:00pm.  However, if that does not quench your hockey thirst and you want to watch a bunch of out of shape men act like boys while helping out a great cause come down to the Canton SportsPlex for the third annual Gun N' Hoses hockey game.  This game benefits the Friends of Stoughton Hockey, a great organization, which helps defray the high cost of ice time for the high school hockey program.  The doors open at 7:00pm and admission is free.  Donations will be accepted of course and there will be a silent auction and plenty of great music.  In years past the auctions have included unbelievable sports memorabilia from the Bruins, Patriots, Celtics and Red Sox.  The fire department has a lot of swagger this year and hopes to take the trophy from the police department.  I hope to see you there."---John Bonney

"Mark   Just a note to let you and your readers know that our website is up and running at www.andersonstoughton.com  and we look forward to a lively campaign. Thank you."-- John Anderson, Candidate for Selectman

"Mr. Snyder, I just watched your TV show for the first time last night (Friday) with my husband. We were having an early dinner, and a woman looked familiar (from Women of Wisdom), so we decided to watch it. The sunglasses were a bit disconcerting, but I have an interest in holistic health. After a short time, they played a tape of your visit to their establishment. Shortly thereafter, someone was giving you a massage. Did you know that your plumber's crack was visible? I almost choked on my food. Perhaps you should give a fair warning. My husband laughed. I was admiring your tan, but a bit put off by the whole butt thing at dinner. I can tell you that this Easton family will tread more carefully on the local access channel. All jokes aside, it was an interesting show. When is it on? I caught it by accident early last night."---Julie B. (Easton)

(Julie, sorry for scaring you. I actually DID give a warning at the beginning of the show. Here's the schedule for Easton, and other towns: (here)---thanks for writing.-- Mark )

"Hi Mark, I have received a number of calls and emails regarding the availability of local programming on Verizon. I spoke to Joe Mokrisky and he indicated the Education and Government programs were now available on Verizon FIOS. He also indicated the in-studio programs will be available once the studio is up and running in Stoughton. I also contacted Verizon and they indicated the Stoughton Government and Education channels are available on the following channels: Channel 26 is the Education Channel and Channel 28 is the Government Channel I thought you might be able to pass this along to the community. Regards."--John Anzivino

"Dear Mark: I am writing concerning the recent hiring of the Town Planner position by the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen. My concern is over the salary given to this new hire.  Although I am sure that he is very good and the right person, my concern is on what Town Meeting agreed to do for this line item within the budget.  I recall $60,000 and it wouldn't be that much because the new hire would not be on board until November or December because of the posting and interview process from July onward till the filling of the position.  Now I read that the position is $80,000.  At NO time was $80,000 EVER discussed on Town Meeting floor.  As you may recall, the Town Planner issue went on for hours and days and concerns evolved around Town Planner vs. Town Grant Writer vs. a position that was responsible for both.  Then one night in the lateness of the evening of Town Meeting discussions took place on Town Meeting floor around having the planner and it passed but it was that $60,000 was the salary and that it would be and I quote the Town Manager "it would probably be less because of the timing. " Now, it has exceeded the actual voted upon line item and unless FinCom has further agreed to the overspending where has the money come from?  I don't recall $80,000 for a Town Planner.  Its been sneaky since day one. By the way why even hire this position during difficulty fiscal times and please don't sell me a bag of goods? Oh, last in first to go should be how we treat this line-item.  I will formerly introduce the elimination of this position on Town Meeting floor this spring.  Somebody please justify $80,000. Thanks Mark for all you do."-- J. F. Baeta

"Hi Mark: If you would let your readers know that we are holding our first meet the candidate on Sunday February 1, 2009, at San John Filarmonica Society located at 845 Washington Street, from 8:30 - 11:30 A.M.
We have also launched my campaign website, www.stagnone2009.com. Thank you."--- John Stagnone, Selectman Candidate

"Hi Mark...was reading the web site and with great interest read about those who are running for selectman.  I needed to write to clarify one thing.  Mike Pazyra is praising Warren West for his donation of $100,000 in pastrys.  Let it be known that all the donations are from Roach, Stop and Shop and Shaws and he delivers them.  I live at Lacivita Court, and have not seen him deliver 1 thing to this location?   
Also let it be known that long before Warren West was doing this, that John Omera and others did it every morning for years and delivered to all locations."--Dave Milley

"Hey Mark, Great article on the JCC situation. One of our two daughters went through early childhood education, and we were once members of the JCC as well. It goes to show you how apathetic, and pathetic, the JCC and CJP have become. I for one will never send my kids to a JCC camp, and nor should any temple in this area give to CJP again. Per usual, they lack the vision, and foresight needed to make themselves a viable
organization."--S.W.

"The Ames Pond Dam has been issued a Certificate of Non-Compliance and Dam Safety Order by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Below is the link to the report on the study done by Amory Engineers on the the Ames Pond Dam. One of the options mentioned in the report is to permanently lower the level of the pond.  On page 3, the report states the dam must be brought into compliance by November 30, 2009. Also, attached is the letter sent to the Stoughton Town Manager from the Easton Town Administrator regarding the Ames Pond Dam."--Diana Germaine

"What great restraint you showed! Those three stooges you met with ARE the weasels you had written about. They have destroyed an entire community, and like Humpty Dumpty, you can't put all the pieces together again in different towns. They have to be united as one. They should all be forced to resign."--Wendy G

"Great write-up Mark, I kept waiting for you to call the unholy 3. flaming constipated ass holes, but alas, you have great restraint. It was difficult for me to sit there Sunday and look at a total waste of 600K in Yiddish donations/year which could have been much better spent on a 'real community meeting place'. As I told a black lady signing up for the YMCA at the old JCC, what the idiots don't realize, as she does, it is nice to go someplace where you are not a total minority, and be forced to overhear some moron cursing the Jews or the blacks for every problem they have/make.  She just looked at me and laughed, and agreed. and said she liked it at the JCC because of the friendly people and never hearing racists or religious comments. Sukhole doesn't have a clue, and Barry is too old to continue the fight and to do the right thing by giving the younger generation an opportunity to experience a little bit of Yiddisha community. (no I didn't spell useless's name wrong). He is a disgrace to the title 'Rabbi'..  Keep smiling."-- Kenny

"Hey Mark, you wrote 'Snyder's Stoughton believes that Stoughton's No Place for Hate should either separate from the Anti-Defamation League or dissolve. Many people who have been involved in NPFH are great people, who want to see the diverse people of Stoughton form one community of tolerance and understanding. I'd like to see No Place For Hate gone, and another group with similar goals, but no ties to any religious organization, formed in its place. What do you think? Write snydersstoughton@aol.com.' Well, I agree with you on that one. I am an artist who created one of the  ads for the group. I was shocked when I visited one of their gatherings in Philadelphia. they talk about no place for hate, but they themselves resembled a Jewish Ku Klux Klan. I was the only asian there aside black waiters. I guess they should give up the name, No Place for Hate, which is briliant. It totaly doesn't fit the description of their organization. Like you said, lots of place for hypocrisy indeed."---Oleg Djimbinov

 

"Mark, in your Town News column on your web site, you now have lowered yourself and your lack of class by referring to "the staff of the CJP/JCC of GB (Greater Boston) as weasels!  I thought Stoughton was a No Place for Hate Community.  In the past 6 weeks you have shown much hatred and sarcasm to Rabbi Sokol, Edie Brown and other well-known and respected and hard working members of the CJP and JCC.  Your tirades against not sending young children to their camps to hurt them financially is both stupid and ludicrous. These two camps have always provided our Jewish youth with fine outstanding summer programs. Parents who will not send their children to either Camp Grossman or Camp Kingswood in Maine as you suggest to hurt the CJP Organization would be merely "cutting off their noses to spite their faces!"  The CJP does a lot more for the Jewish and Gentile community than running JCC's.  It's time for you and your readers to get over it, to get a life and go onto other important community problems.Lastly, if you are so much against the JCC/CJP management why do you keep printing the JCC's link and advertisement on the top of your news column?  Even if they paid for this ad in advance, why not refund their money on a prorated basis?. It seems hypocritical that on one hand you lambaste the JCC management while on the other hand, you accept ad money and continue to publish their ad."--Donald Smith

(To Donald: Thanks for your email.  I did not refer to the "staff" as weasels, but to those leaders of JCC of Greater Boston and CJP who sold out their own people South of Boston. I SUPPORT 100% the staff of the Striar JCC, as many of them know. That is why I am fighting a battle that can't be won.  Hatred?  Shown none toward anyone. Displeasure and emotional reactions to the SELLING OUT of the Jews South of Boston---you bet!  Mr. Sokoll has been acting as a businessman, not a spiritual leader..In only 18 days---with publicity here, in the Journal, and by word of mouth, over 800 members of the Striar came forward to protest the sale.  My readers and I won't "get over" the selling of the JCC anytime soon.  I have tens of thousands of dollars invested in the place, as well as the early education of my children. I can fully understand that the JCC's of Greater Boston want to "get out of the fitness business" (Sokoll's words).  They could have leased the place out, and had Schecter School be a part of that. But, years ago, they had decided on this decision.  And, the Leventhal-Sidman JCC of Newton is still open---despite losing just as much money. The losses at BOTH locations are MORE than compensated by the 2.5 million given to them yearly by CJP.  No matter what rhetoric comes out of the JCC's of Greater Boston and CJP, the local Jewish community has suffered a terrible loss. And, they should feel that SAME loss.  Parents who are angry at the decision to sell SHOULD keep their children out of Camp Grossman and Camp Kingswood.  The JCC's of Greater Boston seems to hear only one language---MONEY.   As for my printing of JCC events-- Obviously, I SUPPORT what they do. I am fighting for them to continue! And, I have a contract with STRIAR JCC  for advertising. When the YMCA takes over, my events page will have plenty of material from them, too. I promote EVERYONE in this community, as everyone who comes to my site regularly (not when CJP or JCC weasels send them there) knows.  My opinions don't affect the publicity I give every organization that asks.  I have hosted nine fundraisers in town during the past few years.  This is a lonely battle. The JCC's of Greater Boston and CJP control the money---and everything else. I am a lone voice in the wind, among a lot of people who were blown away by an ugly decision.---MARK)

"Dear Snyder's Stoughton: As you may have seen driving by the Asain Buffet on Rt. 138 Washington Street, the price for dinner has clearly been marked at $8.99.  This is clear in not one, but two locations infront of the resturant.  This place has horrible service, and is a filthy establishment and should be shut down by the Board of Health.  My friends and I had a miserable dining experience.  They were not on top of their game in any aspect of the resturant business.  They did not only leave us thirsty, but they also failed to clear the table when there was a total of 9 plates when only three were eating.  Then they proceeded to charge us $12 and change, with a total of $37.77.  I was bewildered to see the price per person knowing how they advertised a decrease for their meals.  We then went back inside after checking the signs to make sure they were still there, we kindly asked for our change.  Then they showed us the small and nearly hidden sign stating that Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays is priced higher than the signs outside.  Being decent customers that did not complain about the service (and poor quality in food) they refused to give us our money back and then started yelling at us.  We would like the town of Stoughton and all who visit to know what a horrific view and experience this place, is when looking for a decent meal.  Two ladies at the front threw me and my friend out angerly and shouting at us to never come back and that they do not need our business.  I would like for me and my friend Zach Apotheker to make this known.  Whether it be you putting this issue on your well respected website.  Zach and I would glady discuss this issue maturly on Snyder's Stoughton. I appreciate all you can do to help this matter."--Tyler Dennis

 "Mark: Thanks for printing the column on the new parking passes in Stoughton.  I just picked up my pass this week.  The price ended up being $60 and they only are offering them to residents at this time.  My understanding was they did not advertise and also did not offer many spots so reading your column every week really paid off.   The cost is still a big saving when you take the train every day.  The lot they decided to use, next to the police station, is a little out of the way but I guess its the price you pay for not having to find $4 in ones every day.  The real test will be to see how quickly the lot get cleared out during snow storms. Keep up the good work."--Ed McNeil

"Mark, I read what the group of members from the JCC are doing to try to prevent the sale of the JCC to the YMCA. My family has been members their since it opened. I was devastated when I heard that it was going to be sold to the YMCA. I live one block from the JCC and would do anything to keep the JCC just the way it is. If there is anything that I can do to help you please do not hesitate to contact me."--Richard & Nancy Carlton

"Hi Mark, Could not agree with you more.  We have been sold out.."--Beth R.  

"I refer you to the December 19 issue of the Jewish Advocate to read a couple of rational letters of explanation, one by Jeffrey Glassman and the other by Nina Schneider  concerning the sale of the Striar JCC. Many of us were hurt by the manner in which we received the information but that does not excuse your advice to our young Jewish families to not send them to Camp Grossman. "--Edie Brown

(To Edie, who was a PR/marketing person at JCC: "Rational letters?  My thoughts are MORE than rational. In fact, my column has received over 100 responses---ALL agreeing with it.  It hit the local Jewish population with the truth about how they have been treated. The JCC's of Greater Boston and CJP have abandoned this area, with the excuse of "Jewish flight."  They have SOLD OUT their own people! They will hopefully discover the South of Boston area has Jewish FIGHT, not flight.  No one should lay down and roll over when Jews trample Jews over money. There are NO excuses to be made, Edie. The CJP and JCC's of Greater Boston only understand their wallet. If young Jewish families find other camps, besides the two run by them, they will understand the pain they have inflicted."--Mark Snyder)

"Dear Mark:   On behalf of Firefighter Jim Brackett and myself, Firefighter Jim Rush,  I wanted to say thank you to you and all your readers who responded quickly and generously to my request for donations for the Harry Landman Committee. To say the response was overwhelming would be the understatement of the year.  For those who don't know, the Harry Landman Committee sends care packages to Stoughton residents in the military away from home at Christmas. During the first week of December the Harry Landman Committee mailed packages to Stoughton residents serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign posts. This Committee/Project has gone on for decades and will continue to go on thanks to the generosity of the people of Stoughton.  I want also to include a special thank you to Veteran's Agent Mike Pazyra and the Allied War Veteran's Council for their donation and advice.  Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all."-- Fire Fighter Jim Rush    

"Mark, Just wanted to take the opportunity to thank the volunteers who put together the Holiday Parade this year.  My friends and I participated by planning, decorating and riding on the Mario’s Roofing Float, and I’m not sure who had more fun, us or the crowd watching the parade.  The committee did an excellent job coordinating the parade and they should be commended for the time and effort they put into it.  Also, it was nice to see so many town residents involved and enjoying it!  We’re already planning our float for next year!"--Diane McAuley

"Hi Mark, It seems as though what I have read on your site about the JCC being bought by the YMCA is all negative.  I for one am very excited about it and am looking forward to the change. I have been a member of the Easton YMCA for some time, but love the thought of one opening closer to me. I looked into programs at the JCC for my family and especially my children and found the prices to be unaffordable for our income.  The Y offers discounted membership according to income and discounted programs for members.  My children have been taking swimming classes, karate, cooking, and a variety of other programs at the Y.  They also have a large selection
of affordable summer camps for children with free bus transportation.  In my opinion this is the best thing to happen in our town in a long time.  I think that instead of everybody being upset, they should look at the positives
that the YMCA will bring to our town."-- Heather McGinley

"Mark: Your article, "Selling Out The Area's Jews--One Man's View”, was absolutely accurate. I commend you for expressing what many within the South Area Jewish Community feel. We were sold down the river by the arrogance of a JCC leadership from

Newton who has lost any feeling for middle class families here in the South Area. You should forward your article to the Jewish Advocate newspaper, in Boston, so that the entire Jewish Community could get a sense of our loss."--Arthur, Fran, Rachel and Gary Slate

"Mark, Best article you ever wrote ("Selling Out Area's Jews")-The truth!!!!!--M.L.

"Dear Friends, The great Unitarian preacher John Haynes Holmes of the Community Church in New York once wrote: “Most of us are fleshly beings. We live in the world of physical sensations and material objects. But this is the world in which we can most easily be reached and injured. We delight in the body—but the body can fall sick, and be wounded, and suffer pain, and grow old, and in the end must die. We cling to money—but money can be stolen, or lose its value, or swiftly disappear. We spend a lifetime perhaps in accumulating property—but property can be dissipated, or destroyed, and finally at death must be altogether surrendered. What wonder, then, in such a world, we are unhappy and most of the time consumed with fear?”    But this is not our only world, Dr. Holmes reminds us. At Christmastime, that other world draws closest to our physical world, and the Word is made flesh and comes to dwell among us, and the very Earth is suffused with wonder and enchantment and the very glory of God. Then it is that we have our keenest inkling of this other world—the world of the spirit-- in which we live, and move, and have our true being. This is, perhaps, the sacred truth at the heart of faith—not just the Christian faith or the Jewish faith from which it arose-- but of all the world’s great faiths: Fear not. Be not afraid.    For the Spirit that dwells at the heart of the universe dwells within us, as well. It is the torch; we are the candles kindled from that holy fire. Though the darkness of this world may surround us, we know that beyond the dark (and within the dark) there is that perfect love which casteth out all fear. May you dance with the Mystery again this Christmas season. E lizabeth joins me in wishing you all a joyful, blessed Christmas, and a healthy and peace-filled New Year. God bless."--Rev. Jeffrey B. Symynkywicz

:To: Town Manager, Selectman, Fire Chief, and Police Chief.-- Today in the Boston Globe South there was a article about regional 911 dispatch.  With the Stoughton Armory empty we can combine  3 or 4 towns
together to have regional 911 service.   The state will fund some of the design of having a regional 911 service and the rest of the cost split between the towns.   At the next town meeting I will have a article to request that we look into having  a committee to work with Easton, Sharon, Randolph, and Canton to have one 911 center.  Since Stoughton has the building and is central to the other towns in makes sense to start this.
Here is the article that Boston South had.   What is your feeling to regionalize 911 service?   Lets work together to be first in this. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/12/07/four_towns_look_at_regional_911_dispatch.   Stoughton should take the initiative start the ball rolling and look forward!  This week Stoughton town government should meet and discuss our future and then meet with other towns.   Eventually we will have to be in regional 911, so lets start the planning now! Regards."--- Al Lipkind, Town Meeting member precint 6

"While no one wants to live next to a landfill, prison or even a 'light industrial' area, my question is, if you don't want to, then why did you move to Greenbrook in the first place? The Canton light industry has been there for years, presumably long before you bought your condominium. As for this comment, 'Human needs or even lives don't matter for developers. They just want to make money, the public be damned!', since when is capitalism, private property rights and the concept of maximizing the highest and best use of one's resources a bad thing? Kennefick's demolition business, his vendors and his customers all contribute to the economy at some level. In times like this where we are in a recession, it makes no sense to curse and blame developers. We have zoning rules, EPA and Mass EPA oversight, sometimes to the point of absurdity. That is enough for the '"public' Blaming developer in these times however and trying to stop them makes no sense. Trickle Down Economics, a wonderful concept. Who is John Galt?"--M. Georges   

"I tuned in during the show covering the opening for the Town Planner position. I was particularly interested because I applied for that very position based on  my immersion in the initial Boston waterfront 
development while residing at Harbor Towers and my volunteer position as Director of the IDFA. We ultimately approved more than 25 IRB issues for almost a total of 39 million. No hassles, no politics, no 
lies, no crap! Only benefits to the Town of Stoughton! In addition, I must tell you that living at Greenbrook Condominiums,  from Day One, has been something less than an exquisite and rewarding experience!  Since we are surrounded on two sides by Canton land that is zoned for Light Industry, I have a history of many active appearances at the Canton ZBA, beginning almost immediately with the proposal by Kenefick for the relocation of his demolition business,  including underground storage tanks of diesel fuel and gasoline located up against the Greenbrook property! Human needs or even lives don't matter for developers. They just want to make money, the public be damned!"-- R. Warren Ross

"Dear Mark, I just wanted to drop you a note of thanks for your website.  It is great to keep up to date with what is going on in Stoughton."--Brian Shockley

"Mark, I would like to echo Al Lipkind's support for Marie! Anyone responsible for Marie to feel undermined from above or below should rectify that with her and get down on your knees, and beg her to reconsider - She is nothing but a positive force in Stoughton, professional, helpful, and willing to give above and beyond her job requirements to help and give extra time to do what is in the best interests of Stoughton. Whatever the problem, it is going to become real clear soon, and Stoughton can't afford to lose good people, especially at this critical time when the town needs to position itself for the tough times ahead. If this is some kind of political maneuvering, heads should roll. We have too much at stake for this kind of a fiasco to happen. If this resignation stands, we need to look soberly at our town government, and do some house cleaning."-- Rick Lynch

"To Board of Selectman and Town manager: Gentleman, I recently heard that Marie Chiofolo has submitted her resignation.   If I was a member of the board of selectman I would ask
Marie to stay.  She is a excellent clerk, with the towns best interest at heart.  She has been very helpful when ever I call her or ask for her assistance.   Please gentleman ask Marie
to stay and work with her because she is FANTASTIC!    You need someone to represent the town to fight the State in reference to the train coming, Marie would be the one to win.  Please
see if she will stay, because it is impossible to find a Clerk as good as Marie Chiofolo!!"-- Al Lipkind

"We are writing to you today to share some important news about the Striar Jewish Community Center (Striar JCC). In the 20 years since the Striar JCC opened, the Center has provided an inviting place for South Area Jews to meet for health and fitness, for cultural experiences, innovative family and special needs services, senior programming and exceptional preschool classes.
During this same time, the Jewish population in the South Area, mirroring a wider trend in Greater Boston, has spread out beyond the Jewish hubs of Sharon, Stoughton and Randolph. These demographic shifts have reduced the ability of a central facility in Stoughton to serve an increasingly dispersed South Area Jewish community, and have resulted in far fewer Jewish families being served by the Striar JCC. After considerable work by external experts, review by two volunteer task forces, and consultation with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, we have made the necessary, but very difficult decision to transition our services out of the Striar JCC to a community-based model. Change often brings opportunity as well, and our future plans build upon successes we have already had in other communities. Together with CJP, we are committed to serving the needs of the South Area Jewish community. We have developed a comprehensive plan that will ensure continuity of services and programming, and we are launching an exciting new service delivery model that addresses the changing needs of the South Area Jewish community and provides high quality programming that will reach even more South Area Jewish families. The Striar facility has been acquired by the Old Colony YMCA, which will continue to provide health and fitness services to you as of March 1, 2009. Based out of Brockton and with historic ties to the Jewish community, the Old Colony Y shares with the JCC a commitment of service to the community.  The Old Colony YMCA serves thirty-one communities in Southeastern Massachusetts with programs for all ages and abilities.  We could not have found a better partner to work with in this transition, nor a better provider for our members. Our Early Learning Center will operate without any interruption, ensuring a smooth transition for all families and children.  Preschool classes will continue at the Striar JCC through June 2009; thereafter, the JCC preschool will move to a new location, which we are in the process of negotiating, with the same high quality curriculum, leadership and staff. 
Similarly, the afterschool program will continue without interruption. After the transition, Old Colony Y will run the afterschool and summer camp programs.  The JCC will continue to offer preschool summer camp at our new location and day camp at JCC Camp Grossman in Westwood. We remain committed to providing exceptional Jewish programming as well, through partnerships with other local venues, which will allow us to be more convenient to emerging Jewish communities, more responsive to the changing needs of Jewish families, and more collaborative with Jewish communal partners. We recognize, of course, that this transition is not an easy one to make.  For 20 years the Striar JCC has been an integral part of many people's Jewish life and experience.  We acknowledge that this change will be met with great sadness and we recognize the loss that we will feel as a community. The JCC's mission is to serve the Jewish population in Greater Boston by providing a gateway for involvement in the whole Jewish community and by supporting the aspirations of a diverse and pluralistic local Jewish community.  We look forward to working with the entire South Area community and with the Old Colony YMCA as we implement our new plans.  We are confident that the commitments to our current members will be met and are excited about the new opportunities to engage even more people in Jewish life across the South Area."--Jeffrey Savit, JCCGB Board Chairman & Mark Sokoll, JCCGB President & CEO

(NOTE FROM MARK SNYDER: After reading the above letter, I have put on my boots. The B.S. is piled way to high for me to avoid stepping in!)

"Dear Mark, I read with great sadness your article outlining the new changes at the Striar JCC.  It will certainly be a great loss for the Jewish community of the South Shore. Regarding the concern for the future of Jewish Preschool in Stoughton, I want to remind the community that Shaloh House Preschool & Kindergarten is a nurturing Jewish school operating in Stoughton since 1978.  We offer care for children age 15 months through kindergarten.  Our classrooms are all high quality, developmentally appropriate and fun places for children to fall in love with yiddishkeit and learning!Our staff are the best! Licensed by the state and continuously involved in educational workshops, courses and continuing ed. programs; our teachers are committed to meeting the individual learning needs of the children in our care. The school is open for early drop off at 7:30am, individual classrooms begin at 9 am and the morning program ends at noon.  We provide an optional lunch hour and a variety of extended day options.   The school closes after extended day at 6:00pm Monday through Thursday and promptly at 3:00pm on Friday.  Our scheduling options are available to meet every family's individual needs. Best of all Shaloh House Preschool & Kindergarten is not owned by another entity.  We have been here since 1978 and will continue to be here.  Information for the upcoming school year can be obtained by calling 781-344-6334.  Our website address is WWW.ShalohHouse.com."-- Marilyn Rabinovitz, Shaloh House Preschool & Kindergarten Director

"Mark: On Friday, November 28 Scoutmaster Mark Racicot and the scouts of Troop 516 participated in the annual Senior Citizens Salt & Sand Program.  They had one of their best years ever, delivering 51 buckets of salt and sand to seniors throughout Stoughton. On behalf of Stoughton Friends For Seniors, I want to commend Scoutmaster Mark Racicot and Troop 516 for another successful Salt & Sand community service program.  We were honored to have Troop 516 partner with us in our efforts to assist our senior citizens. The scouts gave up their Friday holiday to help make the lives of the elderly of our town a little safer from slippery walks and driveways this winter.  They are to be commended for their hard work and truly knowing the meaning of “giving back to the community”.  The Scouts are a credit to their troop, their parents, and themselves.   We are truly grateful for all their hard work."---Stoughton Friends For Seniors, Lorraine J. McCarthy, Secretary

"Mark, I would like to inform you that long time Stoughtou resident Roger Pushee (Pushee field), has started a petition drive to save Stoughton little league. Roger is one of the original founding fathers of little league in our town. Roger along with several other volunteers cleared the land and built the seven little league fields, that the Stoughton children and their parents have been enjoying for the past 56 years. Roger has asked to be heard at the December 2nd, Board of Selectmans meeting. Roger has asked for support in keeping little league history alive in our town. Everyone interested in the future of little league baseball, a non profit, is asked to attend the selectmans meeting, or call and inform the selectman that 56 years of baseball history deserves more than the slap in the face it received at the meeting of Oct. 21st.  Mark, could you please inform the people of Stoughton that some of us plan on keeping little league in Stoughton. Thanks. Peace."-- Bill Ward

"Mark, I hope this note finds you well.  I just wanted to drop a line to you about our upcoming football game.  This is a big week for Stoughton.  After the speeches at the pep rally have been made, after Stoughton walks all over Canton on Thursday, after everyone has eaten more desserts than vegetables on Thanksgiving, after you have made it through the busiest shopping day of the year on Friday, and after you have finished the leftovers on Saturday, Sunday at the Community Field will be the site of the most fierce competition this side of the of the Neponset River. At last years Police/Fire football game we collected over 100 toys for Toys for Tots.  We hope we can top that this year.  The police department has not prevailed over our friends on Freeman St., but this could be our year.  On Sunday, November 30 at noon, come down and cheer us on.  Admission is free, but we will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and good luck to the Black Knights on Thursday."-- John Bonney, Wide Receiver

"Dear Mark, The Stoughton Firefighters, along with the Harry Landman Committee, will be accepting names of Stoughton residents in the armed forces away from home at Christmas time.  These soldiers, sailors, airman and marines will recieve a Christmas Care package thanking them for their service and sacrifice on behalf of all Stoughton residents.  Names should be submitted in writing no later than Monday December 1 to the Fire station at 30 Freeman Street to the attention of either FF Jim Rush or FF Jim Brackett.  The only requirement for a package is that the serviceperson is a Stoughton resident.  These packages consist of gum, candy, cookies, toiletries, books, babywipes and a Christmas card from all Stoughton residents.  A special thank you to all those people who responded generously to my previous email to help keep this great project going strong.  Happy Thanksgiving!"-- Sincerely, FF Jim Rush

Funny Business at Page Place? " Mark, we met at last Thursday night's zoning board meeting. Briefly, we discussed that Attorney Stephen David, trustee of the Page Place Condo Trust, did not see that water and sewer bills were paid to the Town of Stoughton. In turn, the individual condo owners had a special assessment on their  property tax bill issued this month. This is unfair on the part of both the Page Place Condo Trust and the Town of Stoughton in view of the fact that the water and sewer fees were components of the monthly condo fee paid by the condo owners to the trust. I discussed this situation with an agent of Camber Realty, the realtor handling unit sales for the Page Place developer. She confirmed that the fees in question were covered by the monthly condo fee, I understand that some of the unit owners have independently sent letters to the condo trustee about the unfair special assessment and other issues such as infrequent trash disposal, safety issues such as missing bulbs in the elevator, incomplete painting of common areas, and lack of heat in the halls. The whole situation is very distressing, especially to some of the owners who are 40B owners and or seniors. By the way, the $194.95 special assessment, per unit owner, consisted of: Interest- $6.63, Water-$86.94, Sewer-$101.38. It looks like the Page Place developer is trying to unfairly recoup some of the monies  paid out for the clock in the town square. If you learn of anything, please advise."---Name Withheld Upon Request

(Addendum: " Mark, It turns out that the condo association has remitted the water and sewer fees to the town. In turn, the town marked the condo owner's tax liens as paid, It shows what the power of the press can do.' --Name Withheld)

"In honor of Veteran's Day, the O'Donnell Middle School held an assembly that celebrated the contributions of our veterans from Stoughton.  I would like to thank Joe Devito for helping to organize the event, along with the veterans that spent the morning with the middle school students sharing their courageous stories.  Following the assembly, the veterans joined students from the O'Donnell Middle School that currently have a loved one serving our country for a luncheon sponsored by area restaurants.  Town Spa, Nocera's, Panera Bread, X & O, Peppercorn's, Denneno's and Papa Gino's all donated dishes to this event."--David Guglia, Assistant Principal, O'Donnell Middle School.

"Dear Mr. Snyder: Recently my mother and cousin bought Best Pal's in Stoughton, formerly the Stoughton Coffee House.
I want to host a free Thanksgiving dinner for people who can't afford it or just don't want to spend the day alone. I was hoping you could mention it on your show so people in elderly homes and other lonely or struggling people in Stoughton will hear about it. It will take place from 12 to 4 and the diner is located on 79 Canton St. If anyone wants more information or would like to help with donations or making food they can contact me at 781-727-9457 or e-mail me. Thank you for your time."-- Anna Fegan

"Hi Mark--Happy Halloween! I happen to hear from someone today at work that there is a plan underway to construct up to 150 condos on Lambert Avenue near the senior center? Do you know anything about these and with what looks like a small area of land, is this future project going to be a high-rise brick monstrosity? With all of the new complexes that I read about, are there plans to add teachers and update our school infrastructure? Thanks Mark "--Jim Pernock

"Mark: Let me ask you a question. I remember you writing extensively about the way that Gerry Goulston got rid of Chief Cachopa a few years ago. Yet, the selectmen are doing the same thing to our poor town manager. They have had no public hearings regarding firing him, yet they are huddling behind closed doors trying to pay him off and send him out the door. Why aren't you all over this, or are you just turning a blind eye to this because you agree?"--(Name Withheld Upon Request)

"Dear Stoughton Town Official or Concerned Citizen: I write to you today to relay the latest information available to me regarding how the current national economic crisis has impacted the state budget and what that may mean to Stoughton.  As you know, and likely are experiencing, the current national economic crisis gripping our nation has spread from Wall Street all across the nation and to your hometown.  The sudden economic downturn has left many states, Massachusetts among them, facing the prospect of substantial budget deficits for Fiscal Year 2009.  The Department of Revenue has reported that first quarter tax collections fell $223 million short of the benchmark for a balanced budget and anticipates this trend to continue.  It is clear that a balanced budget will require shared sacrifice across the state and at all levels of government. The state budget for FY09 is $28.2 billion.  Since 2001, state spending has increased by $6.7 billion, which translates to an average annual increase of 3.5%.  Of this increase, $5.6 billion came in two areas:  $5 billion in Medicaid and health care costs, including health care reform and $600 million in education.  There has been a 16% increase in funding for Ch. 70 combined with an average $200 million increase in general aid to municipalities which helps offset the need to increase property taxes, fees, etc.  The remaining increase in spending for all other areas of state government over the last eight years totals only $1.1 billion, or approximately 1% growth each year. Confronting the reality that we are facing at least a $1.4 billion revenue shortfall this year, Governor Patrick announced budget cuts totaling $822.5 million. The cuts were spread across all areas of government, although education, health and human services were hardest hit, as they comprise the largest portions of state spending – 21%, 36%, and 13%, respectively.  At this point local aid and Chapter 70 school funding have not been reduced. This is thanks, in part, to the healthy balance in the state’s Stabilization or Rainy Day Fund, which in 2007 ranked as the nation’s 2nd highest with $2.3 billion in savings. Although the Legislature and Governor have committed to looking to local aid only as a last resort, the situation remains fluid. State Treasurer Cahill recently announced that he expects Lottery revenues to drop by 1.5% this year potentially resulting in a $17 million shortfall in local aid.  While this potential shortfall represents only a fraction of the over $4.6 billion in local aid budgeted this year, it is indicative of the mounting fiscal pressure we face at every level of government.  I will continue to seek to protect local aid accounts to the greatest extent possible while providing you and your town officials with the most up-to-date information to assist your budget planning as we navigate this fiscal crisis. On November 4th, Massachusetts voters will be faced with a question that will have direct impact on the future of local aid, state services, and taxes – Question 1 – the repeal of the state income tax. The repeal of the income tax would wipe out $12.5 billion in state revenues and require across-the-board cuts of some of some 71% in areas of non-mandated spending, which would include local aid.  This devastating drop in revenue would affect not only state services, but cities and towns, who will be left with few resources as they try to keep schools open and police on the streets.  I am thankful for the opportunity to be your advocate in the Massachusetts Senate and I welcome your input as we look for innovative and efficient solutions to our fiscal crisis.  Please know that I am working hard to ensure that we continue to protect our seniors, invest in our schools, and increase public safety without overburdening state and local taxpayers.  I always welcome your thoughts, suggestions, or questions and can be reached through my office (617-722-1643), my home (617-696-0200) or via e-mail (Brian.A.Joyce@state.ma.us)."--State Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton)  

"Dear Mark,  We are calling on the residents and your readers for help.   As you know the Harry Landman Committee, which consists of Firefighter Jim Brackett and myself Firefighter Jim Rush, sends Christmas packages to all Stoughton residents stationed away from home at Christmas time.  The packages consist of candy, cookies, gum, toiletries, popcorn, etc,.   Harry Landman was a Stoughton resident who would see soldiers off at the train station as their nation called them to serve in the armed forces.  When he passed away the Stoughton Firefighters took over his mission.  This project has gone on for decades.  Since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in 2001 and 2003 the number of soldiers we send a package to has at least doubled every year.  The budget we have is very small and has been seriously depleted.  We are asking for donations in the form of money or gift cards to Shaw's, CVS, Stop and Shop, Walgreens.  There is no fundraiser and there will be no phone calls.  We are just in need of some help to continue sending these care packages to let these brave soldiers, sailors, airman and marines let them know we are grateful for their service and sacrifice.  Any donation, made out to "Harry Landman Committee" would be greatly appreciated and can be dropped off or mailed to the Firehouse at 30 Freeman Street to the attention of either FF Jim Brackett or FF Jim Rush by November 27.  Thank you for your continued support."--FF Jim Rush 

"Hi Mark, I read recently in your column that there are issues with the town taking over the t station due to costs. What if the town took over the station and sold naming rights to the station. The "Target T Stop" has a nice ring to it. I don't think it would be too hard to figure out the annual cost of operating and maintaining the building. We could then allow a local coffee shop to rent space in the building. If we could get some of our big companies to commit to advertising etc. it could work. I would think Ikea could be convinced that having a shuttle from the t station to Ikea would help business by drawing city customers without cars to the store as well. Just a thought."-- Brian McGivern

"Hi Mark,   Just few additional words about the transition and the selectmen meeting.   For the past several years the Stoughton Little League Board of Directors has reviewed and discussed potentially moving from our affiliation with Little League; this year we made the decision.  The decision was not taken lightly, we interviewed the Cal Ripken District Administrator, towns which have recently made the change, towns which are in the transition process, towns which have been affliated with Cal Ripken for several years, along with the Little League District 8 Administrator.  We continue to seek feedback from surrounding towns, league coaches and parents as we move forward with our transition.     As the current board, our mission is to constantly pursue the best path not the easiest path.  This means making decisions for the betterment of the 550+ children in the organization, not just a select group.  We will fulfill alI obligations of the Elm Street Complex License Agreement and I eagerly look forward to the next chapter as Stoughton Youth Baseball. In parting, I would be remiss not to acknowledge all the time, effort and hard work previous Stoughton Little League Boards and league members have dedicated.  I will promised that I will do everything I can to lead Stoughton Youth Baseball to the next level while creating an environment all members can be proud of."---Dan Skiba

"Hi Mark,Stoughton residents should know that Bay Road is still the "preferred access" for the Brickstone Sharon LLC development (Sharon Hills).  The October 16 meeting is on sharontv.com but here are some of the more interesting points.  John Twohig Esq; for the developer confirmed that:      *  there have been 2 meetings with the Town of Stoughton and he thought "dialogue would be ongoing"      *  Brickstone Sharon LLC will apply for an access permit from Stoughton Public Works Department in order to bring the proposed "Sharon Hills Driveway" (the entrance) onto Bay Road, ( therefore, into Stoughton).       * the proposed "entrance" is within 100 feet of Stoughton wetlands and will require a "determination" from Stoughton Conservation Committee.There are also very important documents on the Town of Sharon web page, relating to the October 16 meeting, which show Stoughton roads that will be impacted by the "anticipated" construction traffic. The proposed site plan is also available. (www.townofsharon.net)  Sharon residents are very anxious that the driveway onto Bay should be constructed as soon as possible. Stoughton residents should ask....... ........WHY???"--  Mary

"Mark, I called the tax office at the town hall today to find out when I will be receiving my Tax bill, because it is overdue. I also wanted to know if the town assessor has dropped the home values in proportion with the housing market free fall of home values. Well the answer that I got was a real shocker. They told me that home values have been adjusted, but our taxes were raised, so we will be paying more in taxes this year than last. "We need the money to run the town" she said. I also was told that the tax bills will go out around the 24th of October. Now because the town could not get the tax bills out on time, they are going to have to borrow the money from The Bank of America at a 4% interest rate. Is that any way to run a town? They don't care how they spend our money. Have they been under a rock for the last eight months? There are only two conclusions. Either they don't know what they are doing or we just can't trust them. Take your pick."--Richard Carlton

(Richard: I wrote an extensive column on that, and spoke out against the increase at the Selectmen's meeting where it was announced by Assessor Paula Keefe.--Mark)

 

"Hi Mark: The comment from Mr Yaitaines has been duly noted by the School Department .    The problem Mr Yiatanes is alluding to has been on going for a year now. 
The School Department has been and remains in the process of repainting the seating for the past year.  Currently 2/3 of the seating has been re-painted. The problem , although annoying , does not present a health risk for patrons attending Stoughton Sports Activities. Mr Sarno has stated that he will continue to address this problem and have the remaining seats completed in the very near future!"-- Allan Mills-Chair-Stoughton School Committee.

"Mark, Last Friday night I attended the High School football game.  My son's mite football team had a scrimmage with the other mite team for a halftime show. This was my first game in years. The fiberglass seats on the bleachers are producing dust, so much in fact I feel the the stadium should be shut down until the problem is fixed. It was actually drizzling fiberglass in the air, you could see it.  My throat was killing me from it.  The person next to me had a dark blue sweatshirt on and it looked as though it had been sprayed with glitter.   I talked to other parents that said they knew people that had rashes from it last year...Imagine? Rashes? Isn't anyone complaining that the safety of the students in the band and the parents and friends that sit there on those bleachers is being jeopardized?  Anyone can contact me to let me know what needs to be done to fix this problem so that we can fix it, call me at 781-341-4747.  I have concerns not only for today but I have 4 small children that are headed to SHS in a few years and their safety is my concern.  I have sent a similar letter to the principle and asst principle of SHS and to other key people so as to bring attention to this matter.  On the positive side...the game was great, SHS won and the halftime show of the mighty mites and the performance by the band was better than fantastic."-- Phil Yaitanes

"Hi Mark, my hope, at the start of all this, was for the students to feel a connection to the people they were learning about and to bring that connection home to Stoughton as a way of increasing their pride in their community, as well as, enhancing their sense of civic responsiblity.  We may not have gotten our squares but my goal, as their teacher, was certainly met.  I attached a copy of the letter that the students will be sending to Pazyra and each of the town selectmen.  We wrote this together  in class and they will be signing their names to it.  Thank you for posting my initial email on your site - the kids loved the recognition."--Mike Ingrao, Stoughton High School

"Hi Mark, I was at the Gibbons School today and a parent asked me what happened in my neighborhood (Pheasant Hill Development.)  I had no idea and then she shared that someone had driven on some of the lawns.  I drove through the neighborhood today and saw what she was talking about.  It is horrible. People have doughnut marks from tires in their front yards and one yard actually had tracks that went from the driveway to the side, around the back of the house, and out the other side.  Have you heard anything about this?"-- Beth Rawl

(Beth, there are idiot kids in every town. I think one visited your part of the woods.---Mark)

"Dear Colleague: As you all know, the national economy -- and the financial system on which the economy relies -- is under significant stress. As the impact spreads to local businesses and families, it has now spread to the state budget. By the end of September, state revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year are $223 million below benchmark, excluding non-recurring receipts; when you count those one-time receipts, we are $143 million off. While these numbers reflect only the first three months of the fiscal year, and are only a fraction of a percent of our budget, they signal worse news ahead. The national economic slowdown, tightening credit and its impact on business activity and consumer spending, market volatility and its effect on capital gains all require us to take further steps now to assure a balanced budget. These results do not catch us by surprise. Since March, we have implemented spending restrictions, imposed hiring controls, eliminated non-essential spending, and enacted a host of streamlining measures throughout state government. We come to this moment prepared to address the challenges we face. Today I have directed the Secretary of Administration and Finance to recalculate the revenue estimate for this fiscal year. She will complete that task by October 15th. On the basis of that new estimate, I will cut spending under Section 9C. I fully anticipate that this will affect both programs and our workforce. In addition to short-term spending cuts, I have proposed a number of reforms to address our long-term fiscal health. We will work with you to assure that the outcome is fair, reasonable and responsible for you and our fellow citizens of Massachusetts. And we will do our best to keep you informed of our efforts and decisions as we work through them. I do not take these steps lightly. I have not and will not lose sight of the value of your service to the Commonwealth and the benefit of your work to your family. I know the road ahead will be rough. But we must keep going. The responsibility we have and the commitment we make is to govern for tomorrow, not just today. Now, more than ever, we will lean on the sense of community and shared responsibility that I have always believed was critical to assuring a better future for us all. Thank you for your continued dedication to the people of Massachusetts."--Governor Deval L. Patrick

"Hi Mark, This is probably too late to have it announced in your column this friday, but South Shore Habitat for Humanity-Stoughton LPC will be having a collection on Saturday, October 4 at Shaw's.  As you know we are building the first Habitat home in Stoughton and still need funding.  If people want to stop by and make any donations or sign up as a volunteer, they just need to go down to Shaws Saturday and see one of the volunteers. Also, we'll be doing our first build on Saturday, October 18th.  We have the volunteers and we are very excited about starting the building of this home. And lastly, perhaps we could come on your show again and this time have the architect present the final plans of the home?  We could update people on what's been going on over the last few years our committee has been meeting."--Denise Lochiatto, Outreach Coordinator, South Shore Habitat for Humanity-Stoughton LPC

"Hi Mark: Any chance you can get a status on the Bay Rd repairs for next week’s article?   I haven’t seen anything in some time and can’t find anything on the web.  I’m also wondering what the “temporary” route would be.  I know that the Sharon police are targeting anyone from Stoughton / Easton who cut through their neighborhoods and it is a major inconvenience for anyone living in the area.  I laugh that it could take up to 18 months to fix this thing.  It took the Army Corps of Engineers 2 years to build the Bourne Bridge, maybe we should get them in here. Thanks."--Paul L.

Mr Snyder,  I am a history teacher at Stoughton High School and I am excited to bring to your attention a project my students have been working on for several weeks.  I teach an elective course for upperclassmen entitled "The American War in Vietnam" and my students have studied Stoughton's local heroes who fought and died for their country during the Vietnam War.  10 soldiers died in the Vietnam War from Stoughton and only seven of them currently have blue memorial squares dedicated to them around town. All 41 of my students (including some of their parents and friends) have written letters requesting memorial squares for the 3 soldiers who died fighting for their country and have yet to be honored in town with such a square.  These letters were sent to the director of Veterans' Services and to the Board of Selectmen in hopes that a dedication ceremony this November 11th could rectify this situation.   I write to you in hopes that you might bring my students' efforts to the attention of your readers/viewers and put further pressure onto the Selectmen to honor these men this November.  I have talked with both Mike Pazyra (Director of Veterans' Services) and Selectmen Joe Mokrisky and both have indicated that granting a request by non-family members is very possible. Mr. Mokrisky has also indicated that he would like to come into my class and speak with my students about the specifics in order to have a dedication ceremony on Veterans Day in November.I appreciate your anticipated help in this matter and I thank you for your time."--Mike Ingrao, Stoughton High School, Social Studies Dept.

"Mark, on behalf of Stoughton Friends For Seniors, I want to thank everyone who supported our 10th Annual Charity Golf Tournament.  The support we received from our Corporate Sponsor, Canam Steel Corporation to the many local businesses, families and friends, too many to name, who come out every year to support our fundraising efforts is so greatly appreciated.We are so thankful to our many local officials, Selectmen Steve Anastos and Joe Mokrisky, School Superintendent Tony Sarno and Acting Police Chief Tom Murphy who continuously support so many charitable events in our town.  And also to you, Mark, thank you for always advertising our events on your web page and in your newspaper column.  Your continued support means so much to our organization. Again, thank you to all our supporters who partnered with us this year to make our 10th Annual Charity Golf Tournament a success.  I hope you will consider joining us again next year."--Stoughton Friends For Seniors, Lorraine J. McCarthy, Secretary

"Hey Snyder, take off your sunglasses and look around. It doesn't matter about that suit by Manny against Joe and Gerry. It is going nowhere. You should be writing about the continued extension of his criminal trial, now heading on four years, and the taxpayers of this town paying the bill! The selectmen need to step up and shut off the faucet from our pockets to his. Enough is enough." (Name withheld upon request)

"Hello Mark- We were wondering if we could get the announcement for Mass Khaos Fast Pitch Softball in your column or the sports section. We play competitive fast pitch tournament softball and basically practice all year round. ( Indoors once every two weeks at Extra Innings) I have been doing this for 3 years and after starting out with a U12 team, we now have a U10 , two U14's and a U16. The plans for the upcoming season are (2) U14's a U16 aU18 and a U12. These teams are based out of Stoughton with some players and coaches from Norton and Sharon. Tryouts will be as follows; Saturday September 20 @ West School on Central St. in Stoughton from noon to 2:00 for U18 and U16 , and from 2:00-4;00 for the U14 and U12. The girls birthday as of January 1, 2009 will determine what classification. Please call Paul Casano at 781-510-9146 for more details. Thank you for any assistance you can provide."-- Sincerely, Tim Manning

"Mark, a new position has been created to ensure that the students in the  Stoughton Public Schools are all legal residents of the town and therefore eligible for educational sevices from us. The position is part time that encompasses 20 hrs per week. I conduct residency checks on new enrollees and on any students that possibly may be from another district but attempting to attend Stoughton schools. In addition I am in charge of truancy and alerting the truants parents/gaurdian of the matter.The discipline for truants is handled at the building level. Mr. Sarno and myself think it is important to get the word out to the community that there is an individual who is checking for both residency and truants. Students from outside the district not only impact the taxpayers but also causes building administration to use valuable educational time on these matters. If you could let your readers and viewers know of the value of this new position perhaps they will report residency issues so that I can handle them. There is an anonymous Residency Tip Hotline for anyone to report possible residency violations.{781-297-1050}. People may also report residency violations to: building Principal, Central Administration, Administrator of Special Education, Athletic Director and to myself at the following . Thank-You for your help in this matter."--Bruce Jackman, Residency/Truancy Officer, Stoughton Public Schools

"Mark, On response to your looking for the last Stoughton Little league team to go deep in the District 8 Championships was the 1986 Stoughton American team who won the district 8 Championship. Clint Mathews was the head coach. Thanks"-- Pete Everett Jr. (Member of this team)

"Hi Mark--I just read your online article on Woodbridge Crossing and I am amazed. Did our former infamous board members strike again and give consideration to another apartment complex which will bring "way more than twenty children" into our school system? Maybe I am mis-understanding the situation, I don't know? Didn't you just post some comments from Mr. Tonis where he was discussing the Gill property and how difficult it is right now with so many immigrant families squeezing way over the legal limit of people into their homes and apartments? And these fine upstanding developers that care only about Stoughton of course, are telling us that possibly just 20 children will be added!!! Ya right! How many children in their kids classrooms back in their pretty little suburban towns are there I wonder? I also wonder if they have possibly proposed a similar project in their own communities! I am certain they want what is best for their own towns as they do for Stoughton! Right? Let us be honest with our selves here. If Woodbridge Crossing is built there will be many, many students added to our schools and our traffic NIGHTMARE, will continue to get worse if not become unbearable in that area. Not to mention the very good point and very true point about the crimes that eminate from these apartment complexes that are springing up all over town. We are the new "city" on the block! How far do we plan to stretch our town services? I don't understand Mark, did we reach the 10% mark or not? Can we not say no to this project or not? I do not think we will have any trouble proving our traffic situation do you? Stoughton is just the dumping ground for Boston I am telling you. I know it sounds crazy but if you take a look at the trends in the city right now and the redevelopment of old blocks in what used to be pretty bad neighborhoods, you will begin to understand! The Randolphs, Stoughtons, Brocktons, Avons, Tauntons etc... of the world have been chosen to absorb all of the displaced out of these inner city neighborhoods it is fact! It is pretty clear when you see it is cheaper to live in Stoughton than to live in some pretty tough neighborhoods in Boston! There is no other explanation in my mind and no matter how it impacts the citizens here or how much proof we provide to back up our arguments, it will not stop! This town is getting to be downright uncomfortable to live in! Just to get home or to school or to work you have to take your life in your hands maneuvering the streets. There are three words to describe what our past town leaders and state representatives have done to the very good people of Stoughton and those words are 'SOLD US OUT'. Thanks Mark"--J.P. (Name withheld upon request)
 

"Mark: I just read your article about the Building Inspector being grilled by the Selectmen on the Gill property. Although I was in attendance at the Selectmen’s meeting that evening, I was terribly disappointed in the Building Inspector. He did not at anytime mention my name during the public portion of his presentation. However, he waited until you followed him out of the meeting and during your interview in the hallway he accused me and Town Counsel with not getting back to him on the subject of the Gill property. Evidently Mr. Tonis believed he needed direction from me and/or Town Counsel on how to proceed with the court order. The court order was very explicit and laid out all the steps he had to follow to carry out the judge’s order. He had received a letter from Town Counsel informing him that Mr. Gill and his attorney were not happy with the judge’s order and might appeal it. Please note the reference to “might appeal it”. Mr. Tonis did not need to hear from myself or Town Counsel to carry out the court order. Why does he now try to put the blame on other people. He told Selectmen Kowalczyk that he spoke to me on a daily basis about the court case. We did not speak on a daily basis, but did talk of the progress of the court case quite frequently. When the judge handed down her verdict I congratulated Mr. Tonis on a job well done, thinking he would pursue the court order. It was his responsibility to see the court order enforced. The possibility of an appeal should never have stopped him from proceeding to enforce the order. Mr Tonis may not have a badge, but he had a very specific court order to enforce. Why he waited to hear from me or Town Counsel doesn’t make any sense. Mr. Tonis fought for that court order like a pit bull and after he received it, he sat on it (for seven years, waiting to hear from Town Counsel). If you believed the property was such a danger to public safety, wouldn’t you keep calling Town Counsel until he paid some attention to you? I certainly would have. Mr. Gill and his attorney never filed an appeal, because the Town (through its Building Inspector) never took any action to enforce the court order. Isn’t it strange that seven years later Mr. Tonis needs to blame me and Town Counsel for his inability to perform his responsibilities under the law. Thank God no one was injured or killed during those seven years that passed and nothing was ever done by the Building Inspector."--Jeanne Fleming, Retired Town Manager

Hi Mark, I just wanted to comment that I drive through the center of town several times a day and I am thrilled to see the work being done on the old movie theatre building.  I know the property was recently sold and
although I don't know who purchased it, I am glad they did.  It seems that they are looking to improve the building, thus improving the Center.  It is looking great already and I can't wait to see what becomes of
it when it is done.  I just hope that we will someday see the Theatre reopen.  Thanks very much to the new owners."-- Heather McGinley

"I am writing this letter in response to an article that appeared in the Thursday, July 10th Boston Globe South Weekly publication entitled "Ex-Stoughton Officer is denied a new trial". First of all, to clear the air, I am David Cohen's father and I attended my son's trial from the beginning. I watched as court officers stationed at the inside entry way banned courtroom access to all but family members during the jury selection process.  I cannot for the life of me understand how Judge Barbara A. Dortch-Okara could possibly rule in her findings, "that the courtroom was not closed to the public even though court officers at times closed the doors when the courtroom was crowded." Judge Barbara A. Dortch-Okara presided over both the trial and subsequent evidentiary hearing and during that hearing, the judge heard the testimony of 18 or so subpoenaed witnesses, who stated under oath that they were banned from the courtroom during the jury selection process. One additional witness was the head court officer, Larry Sullivan, who stated, again, under oath, that it has been the court practice (over the past 25 years) to close the courtroom to observers during the jury selection process. My understanding is that denying access to the courtroom during jury selection is unconstitutional (depriving the accused of his/her constitutional right to a fair and open trial) and as such, can jeopardize each conviction. Imagine when the word of these past closings gets out how many convicted individuals will then be able to successfully appeal their convictions and be released. Perhaps this is the very reason why the IN-JUSTICE SYSTEM is dragging its feet on the appeal process. David Cohen, who was convicted for doing his job, should not be in jail as the appeal which is feared for the above reasons will bear out."---Roy Cohen

"Hi Mark,  my name is Rick Foye, I am a Stoughton resident and a Master Sergeant in the U.S Army currently serving in Iraq. I ran into SGM Kelly over here in Iraq a while back. I have a picture of the two of us together taken just outside Baghdad International Airport which I have enclosed. By the way, I read your article about SGM Kelly online. I enjoy reading the articles on your website, it's a great way to stay in tune with what is going on back home in Stoughton."-- MSG Richard A. Foye

(You can write Rick in Iraq: rick.foye@us.army.mil Let's let him know that his fellow Stoughton residents are thinking of him! ---Mark)

Hi Mark---I wish that I had a lot more time to dedicate to the challenges that I perceive our wonderful town of Stoughton seems to be facing, but unfortunately, your column and my making some comments is all that I can do at this point in time. Today while taking a look through the Pennysaver, I noticed the accouncement regarding the town meeting on the 200 units of apartments and another strip mall that some,what I am sure are, out of town developers are looking to put in across from the Hansen School on Central Street. I remember a couple of years ago going to a meeting to voice my concern about 200 condos and a storage facility that developers were looking to put there and I am wondering if this is the same group? In any case Mark, I certainly hope that our good leaders and concerned citizens come together to fight this newest potential travesty. Like my comments or not, as I have said in the past, Stoughton is on a path to becoming a little Brockton, no offense to the good citizens of our neighboring city, but I don't want my town looking like a city or having city problems, (crime, drain on services, out of control traffic and urban sprawl ugliness). If I remember correctly, the original project was conceived by developers from Westwood or their lawyers arguing for it were from Westwood! I would like to know if they would ever consider putting a project such as they are trying to put in our town in Westwood? I doubt it very much. The people in that town would string them up by their toenails! Really though Mark, The traffic in that area is way beyond out of control as it is in many other areas of this town. Our schools, especially the very outdated West and Hansen Schools cannot handle so many more students and the last thing we need to look at is more brick 3 story buildings full of people that are mostly there because it is the newest cheapest place that the state will put them up in. On top of that, we most definitely do not need another strip mall! Has everyone seen all of the vacant store fronts around town including the new Planet Fitness Plaza that is totally empty with the exception of that gym. We do not need to look at more vacant buildings. I also believe that Stoughton has reached or surpassed the 10% affordability target! Has Westwood, Easton, Sharon and Milton? I don't believe so! Mark, these apartment complexes are bringing in a type of citizen that is not interested in what is best for this town,it is fact! Of course there are some good people, that goes without saying, but just like everything else, moderation is key and Stoughton has done its' share at this point. A couple of years ago the mayor of Taunton attributed the sharp spike in crime in that city to there being so many affordable units being added. Unfortunately, regardless of the fact that there are good people that take up residence in apartment complexes, there is also a large number that aren't so good that do as well. That is where the moderation comes in to play that I speak of. Limit the numbers of these large complexes in one town and be better able to control the cons of having them. It is time for the aforementioned communities do more now! Stoughton has done enough. Mark, I work delivering mail  here in town and I can tell you this. When you hear the pro-development folks talk about how these types of developments are good for the citizens of this community, that they will give the people of Stoughton access to housing that they cannot afford they are mistaken. I deliver the mail to all of the new apartments in town and I would have to say that 80%-90% of the change of addresses that I see for people moving into these developments are from the inner city neighborhoods of Boston, not Stoughton or even local communities. Stoughton is one of a number of communities in my opinion that the good mayor of Boston is utilizing to push people into that his re-gentrification of the old Boston neighborhoods is driving out. It is cheaper to live in Stoughton than it is to live in what used to be considered very bad neighborhoods of Boston. That is all fine and good but where is the money to handle what is being pushed on us? When will we be able to update our very outdated school system or better yet, how about building some new facilities. Brockton for some reason has 5-7 new schools and Stoughton can't even get money to update science labs? Before we go adding potentially hundreds of more students to our system, let's worry about cleaning up all of the run down neighborhoods and graffiti and trash around the center neighborhoods. Lets clean up our schools on the inside and get our kids the tools that they need to be successful. Let's utilize already developed but vacant sites before we level more land and forest to add more that we cannot handle. Lets take Stoughton back before we become the next Brockton, Taunton or New Bedford. This development is one to fight but I am also wondering about the large complex proposed by Conroy Development in North Stoughton? The poor people on that end of town can't even get out of their driveways anymore! Is this development a go or is there time to stop it as well? I believe Conroy spoke of extending the "T" bus line from Randolph to their new nightmare they are proposing as well? That should be helpful because it will just be a transplanted Boston neighborhood anyway! Marjk-Please leave my last name off of this message! Thank you."--Jim (Last name withheld by request)

"Dear Town Manager, Selectman,  and Town Clerk: In reference to the selectmans meeting on August 26, 2008 there was a discussion on the Community Preservation implementation for the town of
Stoughton.    There was disscusion on how many members that should be on the community preservation board.   I feel that having nine members would be  positive.  Having the addition four members from the town to represent the public interest would be a wonderful.   However assigning one of the four to be a selectman might be a conflict of interest and political.   Any resident can request funds for CPA projects including a selectman.    None of the other boards in town are required to have a selectman as a member, including the powerful Stoughton Finance committee. Lets keep the politics out of the CPA board. Regards."-- Al Lipkind

"Mark, do you have a mailing address for Sgt. Jimmy Kelly in Iraq. I would like to encourage fellow Stoughton residents to send him a little gift basket from time to time. Perhaps you could find out what kinds of things they need over in Iraq. Even if Jimmy doesn't personally need anything, I'm sure he can find some fellow troops who would appreciate a little gift from home.  As you know, Jimmy has been around a long time. I believe he has 20 years of service in the Army. Life is difficult and dangerous in Iraq and as you have stated, I'm sure Jimmy would like to hear from the people back home in Stoughton. I first had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy more than 15 years ago when his kids and my kids played soccer and little league together. I know he felt strongly about serving his country in Iraq. He is a great guy who has voluntarily put himself in harms way. Stay well Jimmy, Thank you for your service, and come home safely."-- Norm Wortzman

(Norm, nice thought. I asked Jim if he wanted the town to send him anything, and he said he has everything he needs. But, he can always use emails from his friends and fellow residents. He can be reached at james.kelly@iraq.centcom.mil---Mark)

"Mark, The top of the Stoughton news page is out dated and sloppy looking. For starters, how long must we endure viewing the "Cable Survey", the "Sex Offender Link" and finally "Walgreen's Plaza being sold".  This is old news.  Who cares already about Walgreens Plaza being sold?  Also, why the ads before the local news?  Vewry sloppy presentation even though it might pay your bills. Enough already about the number of hits you receive. You do an excellant job on fairly reporting the local news and events.  Don't let your ego get in the way!"-- Donald Smith, Knowlsbrook Resident

"Hi Mark: In an attempt to reach additional golf participants, this year Friends For Seniors sent out a mailing for our 10th Annual Charity Golf Tournament being held on Saturday, September 13th at the Lakeville Country Club. It was brought to our attention that a significant number of people never received our mailing.  Last Monday, after even more people including one of our board members said they not receive it, we knew we had a big problem.  Due to this situation, we sent out a second mailing only to realize that the return date for the discount on a foursome had passed and we needed to change our "reserve your space date". Due to the mailing problem, that was of no fault of Friends For Seniors, the fee for a foursome to golf will stay at $450.00.  Also the date to reserve a space by is now August 30th.  I am attaching a new golf application flyer to reflect the above As we are not funded by any town or state agency, we rely on participation in our golf tournament and donations to not only raise funds to support the events for our seniors but also to help support the student organizations that do their community service helping the seniors.   We are hoping the good people of Stoughton will come out to support us this year as they have done in years past. This year we have increased the number of our “Hole In One” prizes to include:
Ø      Hole #2:  $20,000 CASH
Ø      Hole #7:  5 Day/4 Night Golf Vacations To A Fabulous Fairmont Resort
Ø      Hole #9:  TAYLORMADE Burner Driver And Burner Fairway Woods (3 and 5)
Ø      Hole #16:  TAYLORMADE Burner XD Irons (3-PW) And Rac Wedges (56 and 60 Degrees)
Ø      Hole #17:  5 Day/4 Night Golf Vacations To A Fabulous Fairmont Resort

 

Also a great supporter of Friends For Seniors, Len St. Jean will be joining us at Lakeville.  Len, one of the most solid and dependable offensive linemen the Patriot Football Franchise ever had will be signing autographs and playing in our tournament.  We also have some great raffle prizes. These are just a few: Overnight Stay and Dinner for 2 at Foxwoods Casino and Resort; Overnight Stay and Breakfast for 2 at the Marriott Courtyard; Mass Bay Lines Harbor Cruise for 6;  Autograph Patriots Footballs; Autograph Celtic Jo Jo White Picture Matted; and Framed pictures of the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtic Players; 2 Patriots Players Association, Greg Norman Golf Shirts Donated by Len St. Jean; Sport Wine and Gift baskets. Attached is our flyer reflecting the changes.  If anyone has any questions they can call my husband, Dennis or me at 781-341-0158.  They can also E-mail me.  My E-mail address is:  lorrainemccarthy@comcast.net . Mark, we want to thank you for always supporting our organization and all the seniors in our town.  We would appreciate it if you would consider posting this e-mail and our revised flyer on your web page. Thank you for your consideration."--Lorraine McCarthy, Friends for Seniors

"Hello Mr. Snyder,  This is a true story, that I believe, shows just how 'political' segments of the town of Stoughton can be. I had heard in the past that you had to know someone to play the “Concerts in the Park” series of concerts that are held on Sundays during the summertime, but I never knew how connected you had to be.   I am a local musician who has lived in Stoughton for over ten years.  The band that I play in has won awards in Tennessee and so has its singer.   Last January, I went to the Town Hall and spoke to a very nice person who gave me the contact number for the person from the Lions Organization.  I called that number and spoke to the person’s wife and was told to call back in a week, so I did.  When I called back, I was told that no decisions have been made yet and to call back in a month, so I did.  When I called back that time I was told that the Lions were having a meeting the very next week and that I should call back after that, so I did.  The person that I spoke to, the same person that I had spoken to from the very beginning, said that they were very busy and that they were giving up the position of booking the bands and that I should wait to find out who is taking over.  So in one week, I called back.  I finally got to speak with the man in charge of booking bands.  He roughly told me that the Lions Club was out of money and that if they got any more that he would call me.  He also said that he booked bands that have been there before because they have always played there.  When I asked him if he had my number he replied, “If we took your number, we have your number”, then, he hung up.I called a selectman to find out what was going on.  He said that he would check into it and indeed he did.  He told me that people he spoke to said that the Lions Club was out of money.  Only three concerts could be put on because of the limited funds.  The Lions Club, like a quasi board, has soul control of the Concerts in the Park series, they raise the money as a private group to fund this series and they choose the bands they play there.  The Lions Club chose a band from Brockton, another band from Brockton, and a band from Boston.  Oh yeah, one of the bands from Brockton played in the park a second time so they must have lost my number, surprise! Am I supposed to just be quiet, not make any waves, and let the same old same old continue?  What ever happened to showcasing local talent?  Bands in this town need support too.  Maybe change is needed when only outside bands are selected to play. I don’t appreciate being lied, I don’t appreciate being spoken to roughly, and I don’t appreciate what is going on.  This needs to change."--Joe Lemire

(This letter was also sent to the Board of Selectmen): "Gentleman, We have many committees in Stoughton, Conservation, Finance, Open Space, Cedar Hill etc.   Why don't we have a Alternative Energy committee that would be responsible to getting solar and wind power to the town.   We have to live in the age of alternative energy and today is the time to look forward and not wait till it passes us by.   Milton recently recieved solar panels for its Town Hall and High School.  What is Stoughton going to do today for tommorrow? Here is a interesting article on solar and match funds.   Lets start work today and implement a process."---Al Lipkind

"Hi Mark. Thanks to Rob Germain's comments in your website's letters section, I went to that web site to read the various Sharon complaints.  I would like to share the following with my fellow Stoughton neighbors.  Firstly, it is my understanding that Bay collapsed because hundreds of gallons of water flowed down from Sharon property and went underneath the road at the Walter's Way location.  Stoughton did not close the road for a political point.  Water flowing from Sharon is responsible for causing the road to fail.  Secondly, at this time, the town of Stoughton has yet to be officially notified by Brickstone about anything! Thirdly, Sharon's Mountain (off Bay) Road residents want the entrance to the proposed development and the construction traffic on Bay,  (Stoughton residents know why.)  Brickstone owns no property in Stoughton but owns 337 acres in Sharon.  Brickstone pays no taxes to Stoughton, nor will it ever, even with the proposed opening (on/off)? Bay. If I lived in Sharon I would ask myself these questions (a) where is the water that destroyed Bay coming from and how much will it cost Sharon taxpayers to fix the problem before Stoughton can attempt to reinstate the road?  (b) why has Brickstone not approached Stoughton ? (c) what if Brickstone starts the application process but it gets voted down by the people of Stoughton? and (d) why are there STOP BRICKSTONE  signs on homes of Stoughton families?"-- Mary
 

"Lots of whining going on in Sharon…Bay Road detour, Brickstone using Mountain Street for construction, developers looking to lift liquor ban…Man, these people brought it on themselves and now they complain."--Rob Germaine

 "Mark: The House of Representatives just voted to accept the conference committee report on the transportation bond, and there is $1,000,000 allocated for the repairs to Bay Road in the Town of Stoughton. When the Senate approves the report, it goes to the Governor's desk for his signature."---Regards, Ted (Edward R. Philips, Legislative Aide, Office of Representative Louis L. Kafka)

"Dear Friends, Neighbors and Supporters: The Stoughton Allied Veterans’ Council has been active in the Town of Stoughton since its inception with a focus on all issues related to providing assistance to veterans and their families. During the past 5 years this has become a much more demanding task, due to both the current war and an increasingly aging veteran population. Therefore, we are proudly developing a program for our brave soldiers serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters, as well as for all our veterans. Funds raised will be used to supply our military men and women with calling cards to call home to their loved ones, and care packages consisting of items welcomed by the troops. These include disposable cameras, baby wipes, playing cards, American coffee, magazines, footballs, soccer balls and foot powder among many different items. We also hope to raise enough funds to provide scholarships and assistance to their spouses, children and families as needed. Finally, we hope to provide for those veterans and their families who fall outside the scope of available assistance programs. This includes providing disabled veterans with items like wheelchair ramps and grab bars. We will be hosting an appreciation night for the troops on Friday, September 26, 2008 at the Stoughton High School. Expect a fun filled evening with a “Tribute to the Legends” Concert. We are also publishing a “Salutation Book” which will be dedicated to the young servicemen and women currently serving their county in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will be contacting businesses and residents of Stoughton and the surrounding area for advertising and donations. Your anticipated help is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support."--Michael L. Pazyra, Stoughton Allied Veterans’ Council, Telephone Number: 617-212-5006

"Hi Mark. Slight correction to your Journal article this past Friday. The offices of CHARMS Collaborative,  which provides special education services and transportation to the towns of Canton, Holbrook, Avon, Milton, Sharon and Stoughton, are moving to 710 Turnpike St, Stoughton (the old Schechter school) in August.  In additon, the current CHARMS programs located at the naval yard in Weymouth will be moving there."-- Leslie Cain Tamarkin, CHARMS Transportation Director

"Mark, Enjoy your article in the Stoughton Journal and your TV show as well .I was at the Town Spa the other night and a big discussion occurred about where traffic lights are needed in town. It was unanimous that they are definitely needed at Walnut and Park Streets;Washington and School streets; Washington and Plain streets; and Canton and Central streets. There were a couple of other spots as well but these are what the majority thought. Is the town planning lights at any of these spots,.especially Walnut and Park streets? Thank you."-- John DiStefano

(John, I have asked former Stoughton Police Safety Officer, now Detective James O'Connor your question. "I don't think there are any plans at any of those locations to install lights. You'd need approval from MA Highway. But, I don't disagree with Mr. DiStefano that those locations are problematic. The State has criteria like trqffic, accidents, visability, etc." Safety Officer William Healey is on military duty.)

"Hey mark, just a heads up. Verizon was in our neighborhood selling their new cable and a sales guy (a real young one) approached me with a package of cable, tv and internet for $69! I couldn't believe it. But, being a rabid fan of your TV show (I watch each episode twice just to make sure I don't miss anything!), I asked him about your show. He told me that I can get your show on Verizon, no problem. I thought you said that local access wasn't going to be on Verizon for a while longer. Did the salesman lie to me?"--(Name Withheld Upon Request)

(Dear ------: The salesman was certainly premature. There will be NO LOCAL ACCESS on Verizon for the foreseeable future. No selectmen, no town meeting, and none of the locally-produced shows like mine. They are only on Comcast, at the moment---MARK.)

"Hello all. As some of you already know, there have been developments at Brickstone!! See Sharontv.com and find Meeting Replays, then the Board of Selectmen (BoS) meeting of June 24. Fast forward until 2 hrs 15 mins and watch Selectmen Hietin and Roach until Chairman Powell closes that part of the meeting. ( its not long,)  If you have time, try and watch the whole Brickstone presentation - you will not be sorry!Brickstone has come back with some requests!!!!!!!! They want to alter the position of the three high-rise blocks  and "twist" their orientation. They are also talking about Mountain as the construction access/site and the Mountain people are outraged. I guess they always knew that they were getting a high service water district and a new fire sub-station, but they just assumed, until now, that everything was going in from Bay..........but, it may not be. So, there will be another public meeting on July 29 when they will probably pick a date for when these alterations to the Agreement of May 2007  CAN BE PRESENTED TO THE TOWN AT A TOWN MEETING! I am not sure what  Sharon Town Meeting can do, but if you watch the June 24  BoS you can see that Roach is angry, and Hietin is so nervous that he actually asks the developer's attorney Twohig if "they" can get the construction traffic onto Bay, as soon as possible, because it is not wanted on Mountain.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They also talk about a new water line "loop," which Hietin suggests Stoughton residents may tie into since some of their water needs "will be dire"At the July 8 meeting, Roach makes another speech about not understanding why there would be any traffic on Mountain. With that, the Mountain people applaud because as long as they think everything is going in from Bay, they appear to be satisfied even though they will have those gigantic buildings in their back yard! Remember, Bay Road belongs to Stoughton and nobody can make an opening ONTO Bay Road without the consent of the people of Stoughton at a Public Hearing. This fact is not preventing the developer from making promises to the people of Sharon about new turn lanes on the road, and new lights and tree cutting to improve the line of sight for the proposed Brickstone  development at Sharon Woods. More importantly, everyone in Sharon is under the impression that the only access will be via a driveway  "off of" or "off" or "located of" Bay. (These are all terms used by Sharon and the Developer, without actually saying "ON".) Therefore, Sharon residents are correct in thinking that Brickstone on Bay will  become Stoughton's problem. Please ask your neighbors to watch the June 24 meeting on sharontv.com. The Brickstone presentation starts about half way along, but if you only watch from 2 hrs 15 mins until the end of the Brickstone part, you will have a good idea about what went before. Please let me know if you want STOP BRICKSTONE signs  for friends in Stoughton and Sharon or Easton,  as their water is at risk also since one of their town wells is in that area. You may want to read Norm MacInnis.' letter  to Rick Lynch on www.snydersstoughton.com, (which has a link to Roach's comment on June 24."--Mary

"Hi Mark, After reading the emails to the website today, I was pleased to see that a resident, Mr. Matt Woodard sent in a letter regarding the Community Preservation Act of which I was an opponent (on the Snyder show).  The reason I am happy is that it shows that people are starting to see that they should have listened to the opponents and voted this down. It is true that the 100% fantasy figure that was advertised to be the determining factor has dropped to 65% effective with Fiscal Year 2009 which starts this month.  To everyone reading this, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!  Please continue to voice your opinions of this unnecessary TAX on this website and PLEASE watch it.  Eventually ALL of the matching funds will disappear. My father raised me to be smart enough to believe if something looks too good to be true then it is just that!  Please educate yourselves on this and call your Town Meeting Representatives.  This is the only way we will be able to get rid of it when the time comes.  It is important that we do NOT allow the proponents to use this 'fantasy' money to finance more money for 'their' projects. I quote Mr. Morton from an email that you can read if you scroll down on this email list... 'I admire any citizen, Including Phil Yaitanes, who feels strongly about an issue and is willing to work hard, and honestly to present his views to the public.' The key word in that quote was honestly.  I failed to see it used in the advertising that was done by the group that pushed for this...100% matching funds? Now the match is 65%...next time it will be less until it becomes just what I have called it since the beginning...It is a TAX !"--Phil Yaitanes

"Hey Mark. We tuned in your TV show Friday to watch clips of the fireworks and was surprised it wasn't on. Saturday, we tried again. Did you get canceled? If you did, We'll be getting FIOS. The only reason I keep Comcast is because of your show. We also wanted to catch the new lady restaurant owners."---John and Jane.

"Mark, if Comcast is not going to provide the local cable access why should anyone stay with them when the competition starts accepting new customers? It's ludicrous for them to be so arrogant about their lack of performance. Any worthwhile provider of services would bend over backwards to right whatever wrongs that might have occured. This doesn't appear to be the case here. I'm currently expecting to be switching over to Verizon as soon as possible. If I want to see the Board of Selectman, I can drive to Town hall and see it live. Other than your show, We the People and the BOS, there is nothing else I watch on local cable. Hopefully Dick Murphy's feeble, fiction based, weekly entertainment hour will stay with Comcast while all the respectful local cable will move to Verizon and a Stoughton based studio. Great Job Comcast... NOT!"--Bob Barbell

"Dear Mark: Kodos to Stoughton School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural for voting against the policy change that eliminated user fees for nonprofits that utilize the Town of Stoughton public school facilities.  At a prior meeting, the school committee voted to raise the price of school lunches.  Mr. Mills and Mr. Milgroom should get their priorities straight.   The availability of reasonably priced lunches for all children comes before providing a free venue for sports, etc. for some children."-- David Camacho( Former School Committee Member and Former Finance Committee Member & Chairman of the Education Subcommittee.)

"Many of you have been wondering about the status of Stonegate.  The federal court ruled in favor of the town of Stoughton on Thursday July 10th and stated that WSG's civil rights were NOT violated. A victory for the good guys. This is great news. As you may know, West Street Group (WSG) was suing the town for 7 million dollars in damages because they said their civil rights were violated. WSG accused many of the towns' board members of conspiring against them when, in reality, these Board members were only trying to do their jobs and protect the town and it's citizens. The Town's lawyers vigorously fought this ridiculous lawsuit and their efforts were rewarded when the federal court ruled in the town's favor. We want to the thank the Board of Selectmen for authorizing town counsel to defend the Zoning Board.  WSG can appeal the decision or refile with the State and it is important to remember they still have a permit for 80 units. We will be addressing this shortly. It is also important to remember that the abutters still have their appeal in place for the approval of the 80 units."--Barbara

 

"Mark, You and your press friends may want to be at Town Spa on July 11 at 11:00 a.m..  The State is coming to close the downstairs and issue fines for their lack of following a number of orders to fix their handicapped access.  Case has been open since 2000. I can not give you more right now because the state is the issuing agency not the town.  Dave Tonis could give you more info right now than I can.
Press on this issue would be really great for the cause."-- Carin Klipp

"Hi Mark, Just thought I would pass this along.  It was just a few months ago that the town was divided on the Community Preservation Act.  If my research on your site was correct, the CPA passed by a slim margin (1932 votes in favor and 1850 votes against - with 355 blank ballots).  One of the main focal points of the debate was that the state would/could match 100% of the contribution amount.  As you can see by the attached link, that percentage just dropped to 65% effective with Fiscal Year 2009 which starts this month. Thank You,"-- Matt Woodard

"Mark, Why can't Stoughton get some love from the Enterprise or Ledger. We had the best celebration on the South Shore and I did not read one comment or see one picture of the event in their papers. I have heard nothing but praise to the events committee for this year's tremendous show. My hats off to all of them."--Tony Bickerton

"As a member of Randolph's Cable Advisory Committee, I have read your contract and all that I will say is that no way would I ever go with what COMCAST IS OFFERING. Good luck with your new contract, you will be living with it for a long time. "---Gerry Hershoff.

"Mark,  I thought you might enjoy sharing this story with your readers.We are proud of the courage that this young man showed during his rescue and are proud of our members of the service they provided. The firefighters on this call felt compelled to provide this brave young man with a new bike after treating him at the scene of his accident."--Peter Denneno, Stoughton Fire Dept.

"Hi Mark, I've attached a word document that I received from Chuck Heshion of Brookfield Engineering detailing a public meeting (probably the final meeting) to be held at the Stoughton Police station on Thursday, July 10 at 7:00 PM. Brookfield Eng. released a lot of contamination into the ground in their former location at the corner of Cushing Street and Simpson Street. The company and Chuck Heshion in particular, has worked diligently and spent several million dollars to retrieve and mediate the contamination. This is one of the companies that purchased homes along Canton Street and demolished several of them. They gutted one home and filled it with pump-and-treat equipment and filtering equipment to treat and remove the contamination. They recently received approval from the Conservation Commision to tear down the pump-and-treat building and eliminate the equipment. The meeting will inform Stoughton residents of the treatment being used to eliminate the underground contamination and change the test readings to Zero. Could you feature this meeting on your web site and in your column in the Stoughton paper? It would be great if someone from the paper could cover the meeting. Thanks for anything you can do to make peolpe aware of the meeting. The Concom should attend as they had lots of questions for Brookfield when they applied for permission to remove the filter building. Selectmen?"--Dave Duross, Precinct 8 rep., Stoughton Citizens Association

"Mark, Two rebuttals/comments regarding recent articles:1. The first is the one that usually comes out around graduation time, listing all of the excellent schools     that Stoughton High students get accepted to.  Plus the fact that they are accepted to the same level of schools as private ones.  Well, it goes a little beyond that, and there are reasons some parents send their  sons or daughters to private or catholic schools.  Our sons went to a catholic school for the purpose of being in an academic faith community.  Its endeavor is to instill in the students a mature commitment to the demands of Catholic Christian witness and a lifelong love of learning.  Personally, I also felt it was a  very good fit for them, and they thrived.  I am happy for all the Stoughton High students and wish them  well in their future studies. 2. The recent article regarding Chris Ciampa's retirement dinner at X&O.  The focus of the article should have been on Chris and all of the work he did for the town through a trying time, and not on the fact that the food at X&O was left on the plates.  It should have been an article saluting Chris, not a food critic's  restaurant review."--Rich Almeida

UPDATE ON BRICKSTONE Project in Sharon. Here's a letter from Norm MacIniss to Rick Lynch that tells the story! "Hi Rick, it’s been a while since we spoke but a situation has come up in Sharon regarding Brickstone that you and the neighborhood coalition should be made aware. A storm of protest erupted at the Board of Selectmen meeting this week with Brickstone. The developer told the town that the Mountain Street entrance will be the main access for Brickstone construction,  this is to be done in two phases of two and a half years each. The Bay Road entrance will not be utilized until the final phase, basically finish work on the buildings interiors. According to the developer EPA will not allow the bridge to be built over the Bay Road wetlands from Bay Road. There was a shockwave in the room when the developer plotted the course of construction vehicles through the center of Sharon from I-95 and 24 to town center and East Street to Mountain. They stated up to 700 construction vehicle trips per day including cement mixers, steel girder trucks and anything else you can envision would be using this course. Selectman Roche was visibly upset and stated that he may have not made the same decision if he had known about this. Apparently everyone who was in favor of this project thought that since the entrance had been pushed to Bay Road it would be the main construction entrance and the construction vehicles would be using the streets of Stoughton not Sharon. Selectman Heitin also discussed a proposal as part of the project that would bring town water to Bay Road and that the town of Sharon would coordinate the construction. He also envisioned bringing town water to a select few in Stoughton that would need it. Mr. Roche thought it was too early to discuss that possibility as Bay Road belongs to Stoughton in this section and that Stoughton officials were not talking with Sharon officials. After the way Stoughton citizens were treated at Town meeting, I’m not surprised the officials are not talking. The selectmen then directed Brickstone to go back to the planning board and bring as much of the construction project through Bay Road, Stoughton as possible. They also called for a special town meeting in a month before moving ahead. This seems unfair to me, Stoughton will see absolutely no benefit from this project when it is completed. There are going to be safety issues for the Stoughton families along the construction route. Will the town of Stoughton have oversight and responsibility? Perhaps most galling is the fact that the Sharon people in favor of this project want the money it will bring but don’t bring the big, dirty trucks plowing through their precious streets and endangering them! I know how hard you and the coalition worked to stop Stonegate and the problems it would bring to the Plain and West Street community now it seems your neighbors in Sharon are attempting to bring  this problem back. The meeting will soon be available on the Sharon town website. Please let your friends and neighbors know what’s happening. Take care, I hope all else is well with you."--Norm MacIniss (VIDEO of SHARON SELECTMEN MEETING REFERENCING STOUGHTON (here) (Thanks to Robert Germaine for sharing.)

"Hello Mark. It's great to read your articles here in Bagdad, and be able to keep up with what is happening in Stoughton.  My assignment is very interesting. I am the Sergeant Major Advisor to the Iraqi Sergeant Major of the Army. I am assigned to the Iraqi Ground Forces Command. So I get to meet all of the Commanding General's and Senior NCO's of the Iraqi Army and National Police Forces all over the country. My 1st day in country and we were inspecting Iraqi Army and National Police check points in downtown Bagdad. It's an interesting assignment and they keep me busy. I've attached a picture of me at a local check point on the way to visit the National Police. You can see when we are on the road, our uniform weight is greatly increased due to the body armor. (Compounded by the heat and it, well I cannot write the words here.) Well I have to run. Take Care."-- Jim Kelly

(SUPPORT OUR SOLDIER IN IRAQ! Write to Stoughton's Own Jim Kelly! Email him at james.kelly@iraq.centcom.mil)

"Hi----I saw your review and was not going to try the resturant, however after listening to several of my friends, and heard rave reviews I decided to try for myself----It was excellent.   This is only a suggestion but maybe you went at the very beginning and it would be nice if you tried it again. Everyone spoke English---they were waiting at the door when we came in---several tables were filled and the service was excellent----This is merely a suggestion and everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion----Thanks"--Marcia Goldberg

(Marcia, thanks for writing. I was there a week ago. It was open for awhile, at that point. Ten people wereworking there that night. One spoke English, and she was too busy to respond to a menu question. The food was horrid, the service was worse. The manager was unresponsive--whether it was a language problem or not caring, I couldn't tell. Since my review was posted, management there hasn't said a word. Maybe they don't care? I am glad you had a good meal.---Mark)

"Mark, The fire at 1688 Central Street last Friday changed quickly from an outside porch fire, to engulfing the entire rear of the building, ultimately destroying the entire structure.  What needs to be mentioned is that the Gill property is less than half a mile from Stoughton Fire Station 2.  Had Station 2 been operational, Engine 3 and Ladder 2 would have been on scene minutes sooner.  Considering the difficult access to the property, the extra time needed to establish a water supply and the size of the building, those minutes that could have been saved by having Station 2 open would have been critical.  This was also true with last years fire on Erin Road.  A simple brush fire spreads to a car port, then to the residential structure, causing the building to be gutted, making neighboring buildings uninhabitable and destroying many vehicles .  Erin Road is less than 1 mile from Station 2.  Engine 3 could have been there within minutes and kept it to just an outside fire. The Town Meeting Representatives made it clear how they feel about Station 2. It will remain closed for the foreseeable future and the district that Station 2 once protected will have to endure longer response times.  As was seen in just these two incidents, those extra minutes waiting for Fire apparatus or an ambulance can make a big difference. Thank you."--James Brackett, Stoughton Fire Department

"Mark, The Stoughton Fire Department did a tremendous job on the Gill house fire.  The Towns that assisted with Mutual Aid also played a big part in making sure this fire didn't spread and no lives were lost.  This was a difficult property to access with its long narrow driveway and minimal room to maneuver around the burning structure.  Once again, the Fire Department was there doing a great job. I hope all the residents/property owners in Stoughton bear in mind that when your house is on fire is not the time to put the job out to bid.  Call 911, the Fire Department is there 24/7 and they will get the job done."--Deborah Varney

 
"Hi friends and neighbors, The Stoughton Neighborhood Coalition is hosting a celebration on Sunday,  June 22nd. We have all worked very hard, and achieved much, over this past year. This will be a time for us to relax and have fun with one another. We can also discuss our plans for the future. STOUGHTON HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ STUDENTS ADDMITED FREE. BRING YOUR INSRUMENTS, AND SIT IN WITH THE BAND! This event will be held from 1:00 - 4:00 PM at Club Luis de Cameos at 76 Porter Street. The J.P.Jazz Collective (a well known group that plays all over the Boston area) will be performing. A buffet brunch will be provided. A cash bar will be available for your enjoyment. This will be a great time! Tickets are $20.00. For tickets, you may: e-mail stoughtonnc@yahoo.com or call 781-696-1920. Tickets also available at the door Talk to your neighbors."--Rick Lynch

 "Good morning Mark. As of 2007, Massachusetts residents and businesses were paying 67% more for their electricity than the national average. But this summer, they may get hit even harder. It was recently reported that electricity rates could jump up to 7% because of the rising prices of fuels used to generate electric power. Many consumers can therefore expect to pay, on average, 12% more than they did last summer. But in a deregulated market, what can we do? I am contacting you on behalf of the Campaign for Fair Electric Rates. The campaign is attempting to bring reform to a faceless, bureaucratic wholesale electricity market that overcharges customers and shuts out competition. The campaign is a grassroots advocacy effort focused on educating the public on the failures of restructured electricity markets. Here’s a little background: In 1997, New England’s electricity market was deregulated with the hopes of creating a more competitive market, ultimately lowering costs for consumers. From 1997-2007, however, electricity rates in the Massachusetts have increased more than twice as fast as the national average. These outrageous rates are hurting local residents and businesses. Therefore, the Campaign for Fair Electric Rates is hoping to meet with members of the media in order to educate the general public. Please let me know if you’d be interested in a briefing with Joe Nipper, Senior Vice President for Government Relations at the American Public Power Association, the organization that is heading up the campaign. More info about the Campaign for Fair Electric Rates can be found at www.fairelectricrates.net. Thanks for your time."-- Michael Frisch

Regarding the Central Street Fire Station: "I have numerous professional licenses such as Master Plumber, Stationary Engineer, etc. Having been in the heating and plumbing industry and being a 3rd generation boiler man, I have developed considerable experience over the years in residential, commercial and industrial applications. Recently, I was given a tour with others of the Central Street Fire Station. I observed many irregularities and inconsistencies in the heating and cooling systems. After considerable thought, I may have come up with a solution which could safely allow normal occupancy of the building with a method costing far less than those already proposed. Clean all duct work (abate mold, mildew, etc.); cap off and abandon use of heating and cooling systems. Received one quote of $5,000 to clean all ducts from American Clean Air Corporation. Also received a quote of $3,000 to cap off all heating and cooling ducts. The furnaces could be removed and given to the Public Works Department for use where needed, thus giving more usable space in those areas. (2). Install 2 small redundant high efficiency gas boilers and provide forced hot water heating zones as deemed appropriate. (3). Install ductless split A/C units as needed in various occupied
areas.( 4). In special areas utilize some existing duct work to vent areas such as radio rooms, elevator mechanical room and other specialized areas. Existing ducts could be modified to provide circulation to these areas from the rooftop. To Summarize: I believe that to invest in the previous plan (revamping as pointed out for $450,00-$700,000) will only solve the problem initially. It is known that there are many distribution shortfalls in the duct system, however, the issue is not only the duct system but the climate at ground level. Thus, according to that plan eventually we will revisit the same problem--erosion of air quality and reoccurrence of the mold and mildew issues that we have today, in addition to this amount of money being gone. I believe that the above suggested remarks will achieve a longer period of stability and durability of the building and its usefulness.
I would be happy to confer with anyone on other ideas I have for the betterment of the building and Town of Stoughton. Thank you for your consideration to this very important issue."-- Bill Horan
 
"Regarding the OMS Idol Contest: I can understand why you thought the girls that won second place were so good, or as you said 'They didn't miss a note'.  They didn't, in fact, it wasn't their voice that was heard at all.  I Was also fooled, imagine my surprize when at dress rehersal they walked away from the mics and the vocal tracks were still coming thru.  The people maning the pa system were unable to remove it from the cd the girls brought in for them to use.  The judges were not there during dress rehersal and I can't imagine they knew.  But, the girls knew and some other more deserving participant lost out because of it."--Robin Peters

"In answer to the questions about Chief Cachopa's trial delays, I submit this from the Court."--Ed Defelice (via phone) <SUBMITTED DOCUMENTS (1) (2) (3) (4)> (They are EXTREMELY show loading)

"As you know, there will be a meeting of the Canton Planning Board on Wednesday, June 11th at 7:30 PM.  Take a moment to reflect upon our Nation's history and the fact that so many Patriots died in the War of the Revolution that secured our independence from England. A tangible and lasting legacy of Paul Revere and his family is at risk at the hands of the Napleton Development Company of Chicago, Illinois. Please reflect upon the legacy of Paul Revere and attend this meeting. Word has to spread and Attorney Paul Schneiders and his clients need to be held accountable for their plans to destroy our national heritage.  Let them know how ashamed we are at their behavior and the potential for this loss and needless destruction. Take a moment to visit the Paul Revere and Sons website (http://revererollingmill.googlepages.com/home). Send the link throughout your entire email list so we can sound the alarm to every city and town.  We are the modern "patriots" fighting for our history and for future generations to have and enjoy this place made by Paul Revere.
Thank you!!!!"--- George Comeau

"I hope the members of the finance committee are watching the news of the train wreck in Newton. If this was to happen in Stoughton, they would see in their words the "over paid firefighters" working to save lives. I wonder what will happen in the future with a Human Resources person. If the finance committee doesn't like a contract, they wont approve it. I think they are getting carried away be their egos, especially the chairperson. Thank God for our excellent Fire Department."--LM

"Hello, My name is Mr. Jan and I am contacting you from Liberia for a mutual business relationship and investment.  I have some funds realized through contract dealings and I need your cooperation to invest the funds.  The first stage requires transferring the funds to your account for subsequent investment.  I therefore want you to work with me as a partner.  On receipt of your response, I will send you full details of the transaction and more information about myself.  I am waiting for your prompt response.  Please send your reply to rlwjan@yahoo.es. Regards."--Jan

"Save the date! The next Ames Pond Citizen's Committee Meeting will be Thursday June 12th, 2008 at 7:30pm. Light refreshments will be served! Please let me know whether or not you will be able to attend.
Location: TBD. I will send you an update as soon as the location is finalized. Latest news:  Jim Conlon, our conservation agent, is very busy working to meet the June 3rd deadline for the Mass DEP 319 grant.  A key component of this grant is community support, demonstrated through an active Citizen's group as well as the 40 percent match which can be in-kind  - paying or giving with goods or services (as opposed to cash).  If we start planning now for next year's grant, we should be able to apply for a much larger amount.  At the June 12th meeting, let's talk about what issues you have noticed with the lake, improvements you would like to see, and ideas for the in-kind match.  We can use this information as a starting point for next year's 319 grant (and other grants!).  You can look here:  http://amespond.wordpress.com/studies/  to see the 2001 study done on Ames Pond and read about the issues discovered during that study and proposed solutions.I will also bring some information about hydroraking.  If enough residents are interested, maybe we could get a group rate.  Jim has done some legwork already with regards to what to do with the raked-up material, such as having the material taken away for use as compost. Thank you."-- Diana Germain

"Mark, I would like to take a minute and add a few of my own thoughts about the report on Wednesday nights town meeting. The part I would like to comment on is the last statements made in regards to the Central Street fire station. As most people know this fire station was closed due to mold issues in September of 2006 and remains closed today. Some reports throughout the media have stated the station has been closed for a couple of months. It has been a year and a half. In the eyes of public safety this is unacceptable. It is stated in your report that 750,000 is throwing money down the sewer. This building was opened in 2001 so it is a newer building and can be used for another 70 years if all goes well, so in the long run I don't think it is really throwing money away. Unfortunately this is what happens when cities and towns use low bidders for projects. I live in the town and don't want to put any tax payers money towards this, but I think it would be more of a shame to nev er open this building again and deprive the citizens of fire and medical services. In any form of public safety seconds, not minutes or hours really do make the difference. Another comment made was selling the building off and looking into the Armory site in North Stoughton. As stated there is alot of development in that section of town, but it would not make sense to take away a fire station on the west side of town just to put one up north. In 1934 (not a typo it was 1934) ISO, the insurance rater for the town reccomended a staffed fire station in north Stoughton. That was 1934 and still today there is nothing. The town gave the dept money for a study of the needs of the dept buildings. The chief has those results and brought them forward to be placed on the warrant but we all know what happened there. The study called for a fire station on the west side (the current one) one on Park Street outside the square and one in north Stoughton. The Freeman Street station would be closed . Lets take the first of many steps and fix the Central Street station. The people deserve the protection they had. The what ifs have already happened since the closing. Medicals outside the station and building fires. Soon enough something has to be done with the Freeman Street station. The building was built in 1926 and still has some of the original windows, we do throw new cardboard up now and again to keep the drafts out. I don't know how ADA laws read, but I think there may be issues just trying to get a wheelchair over the curbing to ring the front doorbell to open the apparatus door to get into the building. Just a few problems on a very long list. Hopefully the town starts to do the right thing. Thanks for your time."--Don Chipman, resident precinct 3, member of Stoughton Fire Dept

"Hi Mark: As you are aware I am the president of the of the Stoughton Boosters Club which was initially set up to raise funds for several worthwhile projects including raising funds to start a Girls volleyball team.  We met with Mr. Gay who is heading the setting up of the volleyball team and agreed to help in the fund raising. We had a fundraiser at McDonald which raised $189.00 which we are still waiting to receive as the original check was sent in error to an address on Washington Street.  On May 13, 2008,  I had a meeting with Mr. Sarno, Mr. Kelley, Ms. Dickens, Ms. Lopes, Mr. Mills, Mr. Bickerton and another school official (which I apologize but do not recall her name of), the $1,600.00 already raised and/or commitments received were fully accounted for.  I was under the impression that the issue had been fully resolved.  I have since spoken with Mr. Sarno regarding the issue and he states that he is satisfied with the accounting and if anybody had questions they could contact him directly at the school.  Upon the request made at the meeting, the Stoughton Boosters website was taken offline and the other issues have been addressed and communicated to Mr. Sarno.   It was never the intention of the Boosters Club to come into conflict with any other group or entity and had previously made changes to correct any conflict when such was expressed and thought those issues had been resolved. We had and will always welcome the input of individuals, school and other groups within the Town of Stoughton as you know by my dealings with you after the School Committee meeting in April. As to the Advisory Committee and support for other Youth groups, the Boosters had not made contact with them because we were still a work in progress.  Once the organization was fully accepted, it was my intention to contact all of them individually and discuss how involved, if they wanted to become involved, they could be.  They would not be required to be involved but they could always become involved in the future."--Amantino Lopes, President, Stoughton Boosters Club  

"Mr Snyder, I wanted to relay a story to you regarding the Stoughton police department. My daughter was involved in a minor traffic accident and thank God there were no injuries besides the one to my wallet. Needless to say, my daughter was very upset. Officer Tracy Sisco responded to the scene. I got the story from my daughter and closed the issue in my mind. The next day I had a few questions running through my head and wanted to hear from Officer Sisco. I called the police department and left a message for her with the officer who answered the phone (Officer Bonney). I fully expected to hear back from her within a couple of days not knowing her schedule or how quickly she would get the message and also due to the fact that I asked for her to call me without any detail as to why. Within the hour my phone rang with the return phone call. She was professional and courteous and answered every question I had. She even mentioned that my daughter was upset and told me that she was trying to explain to her first the importance that no one was hurt and also knowing that she was new to driving gave her advice on how to handle dangerous intersections. While talking to her, she also gave me information that I was not aware of in dealing with the claim process.
     Bottom line, Officer Sisco's performance in handling the accident with my daughter and answering my follow up questions was outstanding. As minor and common place as this may be in the day of an police officer, its this type of interaction with the community that is important. Even when the events aren't positive.  Thank you Officer Sisco."--- Name Withheld Upon Request

"Mark, The discussion on town meeting floor regarding salary for elected officials was spirited at best.  In your news report of the meeting 5/7/08, you mention that the Board of Registrars and the Assessors are paid a stipend. That is true, however, they are not elected, they are appointed.  The Housing Authority and its budget is covered by the state, not the Town of Stoughton, so there is no financial impact to the Town. 
On another matter, if an elected official of the Town (Town Meeting members voted in by caucus) have not taken an oath of office, can they legally serve?  Just a pondering since the oath was not given to new representatives until Wednesday's session.  Those members sworn in Wednesday voted on all matters Monday evening at the Special Town Meeting within the Annual."-- Dori Frankel

"Dear Residents: Please be advised that there will be a crucial meeting at the Police Conference room 26 Rose Street Thursday, May 8 at 7:30 PM. An amazing powerpoint presentation will be given by Dick Cazeault, of the Webster Lake Association (WLA), entiltled Fun with Dick and Jane.This presentation is about the  residents who formed a powerful lake association in the nearby Town of Webster, Massachusetts.  The WLA is a self sufficient enterprise that has managed their lake with pride and success! I have seen the presentation and was WOWED! It is thorougly enjoyable and entertaining. Topics discussed are: Fundraising, Grants, the importance of political leverage, meetings, publicity, outreach, social aspects. Having Fun while moving foward is a key note to their sucessful record.  One take home message was that such an association should hold social meetings in a restaurant with a bar and good food! Dick is good enough to assist our community by coming to the Town of Stoughton and speaking to our residents  "FREE OF CHARGE"! Lets please give him a warm welcolme and a good turnout for helping us move foward in recovering, managing and preserving Ames Pond! Governor Deval Patrick atttended the last meeting WLA upon invitation last week.  In addition, WLA is planning a waterskiing event in the upcoming weeks in their community that will be attended by Senator John Kerry and other important political figures. The group excells in fundraising. Corporate sponsorship is the newest successful development which has helped the WLA evolve into on of the most successsful community lake association in the Commonwealth. This is truly an honor to host Dick in our Community next Thursday evening! Please spread trhe word by sending this e-mail out to all interested parties! Special Thanks is in order to the Massachusetts Coalition of Lakes and Ponds!"--- Cordially, James Conlon,
Environmental Affairs Officer of the Town of Stoughton.

"Regarding your article on law day I noticed Julia Steinberg name was not highlighted. I also noticed in your review of High School Musical you refered to her as another singer from the jazz choir. Let me inform you of a few things. Julia has been an officer or section leader for both jazz choir and chorus for her entire four years at S.H.S. . Futhermore she was the only high school performer to sing with the Jubilate Chorale last year. Julia accepted a lesser role to sing for the school and gave up an a chance to sing Bernstein with Jubilate the same weekend as the school musical." -- Arthur Steinberg  

"Hi Mark, "I just wanted to reaffirm your positive review of Stoughton High School's 'High School Musical.' What an excellent effort put forth by these kids! Each and every cast member was so excited to play their part, and their enthusiasm radiated throughout the auditorium as the audience clapped and sang along with them. The musicians, and the stage crew, it just all came together so brilliantly. After the show, I was able to speak with some of the other parents whos children were in the cast and crew, and like me, they were so very proud of not just their own son or daughter, but everyone who was involved in the productions great success.  The cast, crew, musicians, and directors should be very proud of themselves as Stoughton High School cetainly shined last night because of them.  This was one of those many moments that our kids make us feel proud to be part of the Stoughton family. Congratulations Mandi, Mom and Dad love you!!"---Jeff Ledin

"To the parent who complained about their child being hoarded into the HS cafeteria to do nothing when a teacher is absent needs to understand something. In the perfect world, the child would have a substitute in the classroom giving the student their lessons for the day. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Substitute teachers are in short supply, esecially at the upper grades.    Teachers are professionals who have worked hard to obtain what they have. Unfortunately, they do get ill or have to be out of school for different reasons that are legitimate. When a substitute can be found, the teachers class is covered. When a number of teachers are absent it becomes more difficult to find class coverage and something must be done to assure that the child is in a safe environment. Unfortunately, these large "study hall" situations come about. This isn't perfect, but, there isn't any other choice.    Why is it difficult to find an adequate number of substitute teachers? Pay has risen but it still isn't something one can depend upon to support one self. People look for steady employment, especially with rising costs of everything. A steady income is needed. Could you live on 2-3 days pay a week? When students are on vacation you have no income. Secondly, a substitute teacher often times is shown very little respect by older students, and, many who could substitute feel that the aggravation is not worth them going in to work on a part time basis or for such low pay.     If this parent is so upset at the situation at the high school, why don't you make yourself available to substitute occationally? You may find that your attitude may change. Its not like you think it is. Don't ridicule the school system until you've seen what its like.    I am a Stoughton High graduate (and proud of it) who also taught in the system for many years (and I'm proud of that also). The administration and staff work very hard to provide your children and the rest of the residents children a very good education. Could it be better? Most definately. Instead of complaining become an advocate for the system to make it better. Over the past 6-8 years your School Committee has had to deal with budget cuts, level funded budgets so on and so forth. Funds are getting tighter and tighter. Energy costs are rising that are negatively effecting ALL school systems. Right now, you should be looking at the positives...your graduates are going to some of the finest colleges in the country, you've got a Music Department SECOND TO NO ONE!!! The schools are in good shape (my grand daughter goes to an elementary school that is over one hundred years old). The professional staff is top flight, being able to continue providing your child with a great education.   Unfortunately, your complaint is probably going to remain in the near future. I will tell you, though, I sat at School Committee meeting for 5-6 years. Each year this problem was brought up by the committee. They are very well aware of the problem and have tried, in the past, to correct it. Until additional funding becomes available and more people become available to substitute teach, the problem will not go away. Its not a perfect world."-- Peter Everett   Morrisville, VT

"I would like to know why it is that when a teacher is absent at Stoughton High School, instead of students remaining in class and BEING TAUGHT BY A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, they are herded into the cafeteria to do NOTHING, unless the teacher has left work to be done in his/her absence?  Personally, I am sick and tired of hearing this scenario played out over and over again.  Perhaps, instead of wasting thousands of dollars on fruitless superintendent searches that involve travelling to the other side of the country, only to end up back at square one and have NO CANDIDATE worth hiring, our illustrious school committee could implement some sort of plan that actually EDUCATES our children when their teachers are absent from school!  Isn't that what the taxpayers in Stoughton are supposed to be footing the bill for?  TEACHING our kids?  From what I can see, too much of our money is wasted and not nearly enough of it is going toward the intellectual advancement of the children of Stoughton."--(Name Withheld Upon Request)

"Hi Mark, Now that the annual town election has been held and I no longer have to be politically correct, I'd like to get something off my chest.  I want to inform the residents of Stoughton that many, if not all, of those "Town Hall NO PLACE FOR Levine" lawn signs that appeared two days before the election were put up by John 'Stretch' Fallon, an employee of the town of Stoughton. I know that everyone was incensed at those signs that ridiculed all the wonderful work that No Place for Hate has accomplished in Stoughton.  Unfortunately, the installation of the signs by Mr. Fallon and to the residents who displayed them, has done much to negate those efforts.  As long as there are people like 'Stretch' Fallon in Stoughton, this town will never be able to come together for the good of all of its residents. Mark, this is in no way to be considered as sour grapes.  I lost the election to two fine candidates who I know will continue to work on behalf of the town.  I have no regrets for the past nine and one-half years that I proudly served the residents of Stoughton.  I only wish that the signs were not the main topic of discussion on such an important day for Stoughton.  It only detracted from what had been a very cordial and professional campaign among the candidates involved.  
Thanks for the opportunity of allowing our residents to voice their ideas, comments, and concerns on your web site."-- Dick Levine

"Dear Mr. Snyder, On behalf of Stoughton Friends For Seniors, I want to thank you for attending our Dinner Dance and your continued support of our events for the senior citizens of our town.  Your willingness to always advertise our events on your web page helps us get the word out to the seniors and their families.  Stoughton Friends For Seniors are not funded by the town or come under any town department.  We are under the auspices of the Stoughton Clergy Association.  Our organization is committed to the development of our community by service to our senior citizens.  We advocate community partnership between the generations.  All of our members are volunteers.   From our Executive Board, Friends For Seniors Members, Office Staff of The Immaculate Conception Church, Advisors and Stoughton High School National Honor Society Students, Town Merchants, to our fabulous "Kitchen Crew" their ability to always lend a helping hand is one of the reasons we are able to provide the seniors with a fun filled afternoon.  They are to be commended for their hard work and truly knowing the meaning of  "Giving Back To The Community".  But most importantly, if it wasn't for the support of Rev. Joseph P. McDermott, Father Joe, we would not be able to make any of our events possible.  Again, we want to thank you and everyone who helped to make our Dinner Dance a success."--Stoughton Friends For Seniors, Lorraine J. McCarthy, Secretary

"Is the town going to hold NSTAR responsible for completing their agreement? They should and should be aggressive about it! I have lived in this town for only six years and am completely disgusted with the town politics and lack of backbone on certain issues. Having to pass the NSTAR monster everyday (I live on Pine St) is a constant reminder that choosing Stoughton for a home may not have been the best choice. Add to that the gas company now...yikes!!"---D.B.

"Hello Mark: I read with interest the recent letter from Phil Yaitanes that you posted on your web site.  I thought that I should respond because Phil challenged some of the estimates that I cited when I appeared on
your TV show. I think the best response is to refer to the actual distributions that participating towns of our approximate size and assessment value have actually received from the CPA over the past several
years.  While no comparison is perfect, I think that towns such as Acton, Chelmsford, Grafton, Hopkinton and Sharon  might be as close as we can get. I chose these towns because they were as close to us
in size and value as I could find and they all had approved a surcharge between 0.5% and 2.0%. As you know, Stoughton voters recently approved a rate of 1.5%.  Attached is a table showing distributions to those towns for the years 2004 through 2007. The actual dollar distribution figures for all participating towns are available at the following web site: http://www.communitypreservation.org/CPAMatchingFunds.cfm.
The percentage surcharges adopted by each participating community is available at the following web site: http://www.communitypreservation.org/CPAVotes.cfm. There are no secrets here.  The numbers are available to anyone who cares to take the time to look them up. As for Certain buildings in town being 'Historic Buildings,'  I said on your show (and others) that any building constructed before 1958 (that is, over 50 years old) qualifies to be considered for classification as a Historic Building.  All it takes, is filing an application and stating the reasons that the building should be put in the classification.  These applications are very seldom
refused.  I am certain that we could categorize portions of our high school and the old Fire station as a historic building . . . all we have to do is apply. I have seen Peter Ventresco on the street both before and after the
election.  I did shake his hand (by the way, the closing shots on your CPA broadcast show me shaking his hand on camera) and thank him for his work in reference to the CPA.  I admire any citizen, Including Phil Yaitanes, who feels strongly about an issue and is willing to work hard, and honestly to present his views to the public. Their opposition required us to sharpen our arguments and dig deeper to present the real benefits of the CPA. The good news is that the majority of the voters in Stoughton understood the enormous opportunity presented by the CPA and voted to approve it.  As a result, all of Stoughton citizens will reap the
benefits of those matching funds, including those good citizens who voted against it. My sincere thanks to the many, many people who committed so much time and energy to help the citizens of Stoughton understand the
importance of the CPA  - and to those voters who elevated Stoughton into the list of enlightened communities who have accepted the CPA.  Because of them Stoughton can now reclaim the dollars which we
have been paying into the CPA pool  all these many years - only to hand them over to others."-- John Morton

"Mark, After watching your show that I was on regarding the Community Preservation Act, I realized that Mr. John Morton used some incredible fancy mathematical figures. Not only was the math all wrong but the wording was too!  The key words were 'Assumed' and 'Estimated'.  He said that the Town of Stoughton had put in 900,000 in the past 4 years and would have received back 'an assumed' amount of 2.5 to 3 million dollars.  Well, I am not a calculator but I know that 1+1=2 not 3 or 4!  If we put in $ 900,000 and we were matched 100% it would equal $ 1,800,000 dollars.  He also said on the show that the average homeowner that puts in $ 38/year will get back an "ESTIMATED" amount of around $ 150.00...Ok, SOoo all of you Stoughton High School graduates...Please do the math!  The ads that the 'Pro CPA People' placed in the pennysaver were wrong.  The high school is NOT a historic building and NEITHER is the Fire Station. They haven't been approved by the State. The funds will NOT get matched dollar for dollar and I REALLY AND TRULY CANNOT BELIEVE, that with the economy being the way that it is, that the people of Stoughton fell for this, Hook Line and Sinker.  Mr. Peter Ventresco should be thanked by all for his 'LONE' effort in making signs and hanging them at the schools by himself and paying for an ad in the pennysaver against this.  If you see him on the street, shake his hand, pat him on the back and say...'Thank you' to Peter.  He tried to save all of us a lot of money. I already thanked him for his efforts, you should too (even if you were fooled and voted for this tax)!  To the all of the town meeting representatives, don't ever use this as a basis for another Bond, that way in 5 years, we will vote it out and put our money back where it belongs. We already pay enough property taxes, we didn't need to pay more!"-- Phil Yaitanes

"Mark, Wanted to take a minute to first let you know that I enjoy reading your news in town both on your site and on the Stoughton Journal site. Although I live in Mansfield, I still keep up with the news around town via your outlets. I also wanted to thank you for the fair reporting when it came to my father. It was very unfortunate that he was the only incumbent running and thus had to endure the wrath of disgruntled townspeople alone. No one should have to endure the “below the belt tactics” that came about over the last week by anonymous, spineless people with an axe to grind. I am extremely proud of my dad (not just for his politics but as a person). He is probably the most ethical person I know and seeing his reputation dragged through the mud for perceived “dirty back room glad handing” acts was a very difficult thing to watch from the sidelines. 
The voters wanted change and their voice was heard loud and clear. I hope the newly elected officials know what they are in for. I’m sure the natives will get restless in a short amount of time. I pity both Scott and John as they certainly have their work cut out for them.Thanks Mark; keep up the good work. Best regards,"-- Mark Levine

"Mark, I would like to thank everybody who voted in this election. I especially like to thank all that voted for me. I will do the very best I can for our fine Town. I thank Carolyn Campbell and Dr Dave Fisher for their service to the Stoughton school system. Finally Mr Klein. There is still room for that old time solid thinking as his votes showed. Sometimes we have to go back to go forward. You did a great job bringing out points we should all be thinking about. I look forward to working with Erdem and the other Committee members in helping to take the Stoughton Public Schools to the top."--Tony Bickerton

"Mark, I want to thank you for your show to allow us to debate the issues.   It was a very close vote and I wish to thank all the people that came out to vote on the CPA.  Both for it and against it.   Now lets bring the town together on this and we will make it work for the benifit of the town! Everyone should get behind this and the CPA committee will with Town Meetings approval make this a better town and keep it a small
beautiful place to live !! Thank you all for voting."-- Al Lipkind

"Dear Mark: Thanks for the great news. I am delighted to be chosen to serve on the School Committee. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members towards improving the education of Stoughton children. As you know, I campaigned for making the Stoughton schools to be the best in the area. The fact that I received the most votes indicates that Stoughton voters have the same priority. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the supporters of our campaign: people who placed signs in their lawns, those who held signs at the town square and at the polls, those who wrote cards, those who came to our breakfast event, and to Mr. Steven Wilkinson, our campaign treasurer. I am also grateful to candidates running for other town-wide positions for their valuable advice. I commend Bickerton and Klein for running positive campaigns and congratulate Tony Bickerton for also winning the school committee election. Special thanks go to Mr. Stan Zoll, our campaign manager, without whom this campaign would have never gotten off the ground.
I will continue to update my web site www.stoughton2008.org with education, and school committee issues."--Dr. Erdem Ural

"Mark, I want to respond to Rick Lynch's letter. I understand the feeling you describe Rick as the 'Festival of the Oppressed'  There can be SO MUCH emotion wrapped up in fighting for what you believe in or what you believe is not right. Only a few years ago many people throughout town worked VERY hard against a similar feeling of oppression. We knew things were not right and the residents voted OVERWHELMINGLY for a new start. The people voted for Dick Levine at that time and although the decisions he's made as one member of the board do not align 100% with my views, I think he's been key in bringing an Out of Control situation under control. Change solely for the sake of change doesn't get us anywhere. Dick has spent many years, as long as I can remember and I grew up in Stoughton around the same time as his 3 sons, being an activist for the youth and future of this town. He has shown over and over again that his years of experience are an asset to the community.Regarding the statement 'an impulse that can not be contained', well that's just a matter of keeping your emotions under control. 'Can not be contained'? Yes, it can, it's a CHOICE. It's an easy mistake to make for some. I, personally got caught up in the 'emotions' last year and did an anti-Gerry Cappazolli email blast at the 11th hour as these anti-Dick Levine signs have been done at the 11th hour. If it wasn't clear to Gerry when we talked last year, let me be clear, I apologize here to Mr Cappazolli and anyone else I offended with that email. My mistake is an example of LETTING our emotions get the better of us... let me repeat that, my mistake is an example of LETTING our emotions get the better of us and it has no place in politics. These rude and obnoxious signs are exactly the same situation. We all need to be mature, responsible adults, try to learn from our mistakes. If we can't do that much, there is a good chance we're part of the problem, not part of the solution."--Bob Barbell

"Mark, although I am certain that no campaign was responsible for the signs in question, I am personally convinced, that it is an impulse that can not be contained. It is like a boiling pot, that is finally blowing the lid off!
It's commonly called the 'Festival of the Oppressed', or in this case, 'the intimidated'. All you can do is let it blow!"-- Rick Lynch

Mark, I was disappointed to see the negative signs today. While everyone has a right to express themselves, our campaign certainly does not condone this style of expression."-- Steve Anastos

"Mark, I have always considered your reporting to be fair. However, as a member I take offense at how quickly you stated as fact that Local 1512 was responsible for a political sign appearing around town. Further more, your reporting of the wording was incorrect. In the past you have demonstrated a higher level of  journalistic integrity than publishing hearsay as fact. I respect your true concern for the town and trust this is an isolated incident. Thank you for your apology. I have seen these signs and take them for what they are, a citizen or group exercising their right to expressing a political opinion. In no way should Anti-Semitism be implied, even the suggestion of that is nothing more than sensationalizing. This years election has been characterized by passionate opinions, each with the towns best interests at heart. At this late hour of the respective campaigns, there should be no place for that suggestion."-- Scott Mellyn

"Mark,   David Camacho, in his reply to my comments, offers one possible scenario as to my support for the re-election of Dick Levine. Unfortunately this sort of narrow thinking usually occurs when one is
trying to find ghosts where none exist.  There is far too much of that in Stoughton and, quite frankly, it is the root of many problems.  In the interest of balance allow me to offer another possible motivation.
Having worked in Stoughton town government for just over five years I had the opportunity to be very involved in many of the important issues that the community faces.  I was also privy to many of the
detailed reports, analysis and potential solutions to many matters of very significant importance.  It is my opinion, based upon first-hand knowledge and observation, that Selectman Dick Levine always
approached these issues in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner.  I observed on many occasions his willingness to make very tough decisions in a fair and consistent manner.  These are the kind of
good, old-fashioned and idealistic qualities that one hopes to find in their elected leaders.  I am very happy to report, as one who was up close and personal to the process, that Selectman Dick Levine uses
these important qualities in every decision he makes.  Sorry David but there are no ghosts here.  No self-serving interests!  No personal gain!  No tangled webs to be spun!  And I most certainly do NOT know it all!  What I do know, however, is that Dick Levine deserves the support and the vote of every individual who cares about Stoughton."-- Paul Dawson

"Mark, I do not condone the (anti-Levine) signs and I do not choose to have my name associated with it. I cannot stop people from expressing their opinions by placing signs on their lawns.  The signs are not part of my campaign or my campaign message."--Donna Locurto

"Tomorrow (4/8) is the election and we know how the number of voters don't show up all the time.  Ask one neighbor to do you one favor.  Vote tommorrow for Question #2. Be sure that neighbor likes you !!  If you have a email list of neighbors in town, ask them also to vote for question #2  with a Yes. Thanks all for everything."--Al Lipkind

"Hello Mark:,We've been impressed with the positive campaigning that all of the candidates have engaged in. There has been mutual respect shown all during this campaigning season ... until now. We've noticed that there are negative lawn signs being placed side by side with signs of some of the candidates for selectman. We've been told that a firefighter was seen putting one up, and it sure sounds like 'sour grapes' to us! We would question whether the other candidates would choose to have their names associated with this!"--Diane Sousa and Dori Frankel

"Mark, this town is going insane. We talk about the divisiveness started in 2004 and the need to come together as a community. Seems as though some, claiming to want the healing are sometimes feeding the flames of divisiveness. For an adult to publicly try to make their point with such language as 'I'm really not as stupid as Mr. Dawson' is ONLY counter productive. Believe in what you believe, share your opinions and give others their oppurtunity to speak, but use facts and be mature when stating your opinions. Mr Camacho's words will probably not change how many, if anyone, votes. If anything, this can only HURT whomever he DOES support... it certainly doesn't help. Personally, I'll be voting for Dick on Tuesday. I'm not asking everyone reading this to do the same... ALL I ASK IS FOR EVERYONE TO VOTE! And tell your friends, family and neighbors to do the same. I also would like to ask residents in Precinct 4 to write me in for Town Meeting rep. I had not taken out papers, so I'm not on the ballot. There are 8 names on the ballot so I know this is probably a long shout, but I have wanted to be a Town Meeting Rep for some time now. This foolishness has inspired me to try to be more a part of the solution. I can assure the residents of Precinct 4 that I don't have all the answers and I guarantee I won't be perfect, but I also guarantee to give my best effort to understand all the articles to be voted on and do what I believe is best for ALL the residents of Stoughton, current and future. For a write in to be counted, it HAS to include the address. Mine is 92 Columbus Ave."--Bob Barbell

"Dear Mark, It appears that unlike Mr. Dawson, I am a fast learner.  Could it be that Mr. Dawson is protecting his own interests?  If 'Dick' Levine is re-elected, could it be that Mr. Dawson sees himself as Stoughton's next Town Manager?  I'm really not as stupid as Mr. Dawson, C.M.M.C./Former Town Clerk and Former Assistant Town Manager would have others believe.  Of course, Mr. Dawson appeared to always know it all, so I guess he may know something the rest of us don't know.  What a tangled web we weave!"--David Camacho 

"Hi Mark, I would not typically respond to false allegations made about me but I feel it's necessary to reply to my 'Dear Friend' David Camacho.  As is his mode of operation, only half the facts are told.Regarding the Judge Rotenberg Center, I NEVER negotiated anything with that entity and I certainly NEVER held any cookouts and meet the neighbors as he has testified,  What I did do, along with then chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Joe Mokrisky, was to hold an open forum and discussion so that residents could air their concerns regarding the Center moving into Stoughton.  That evening, every resident of Stoughton, and even some from Canton, had the opportunity to talk about their concerns.  Like so many other State mandated programs, the town could do nothing to stop them from purchasing homes and setting up residences.I can understand that Mr. Camacho's memory is failing him, however I never, ever used any profanity toward him.  The incident that he is referring to occurred when I approached him at the conclusion of a finance committee meeting, and asked him if it were true that he was spreading false rumors about me around town.  He gleefully admitted that it was, in fact, true.  I then told him that if it continued to do so I would bury him politically.  I made that statement one time, not four times as he claims.  David Camacho has been spreading false stories about me and trying to discredit my reputation for years.  Thankfully  his allegations have fallen onto deaf ears and residents understand where the allegations are coming from. I know that the voters in Stoughton are wise enough to know that false charges by people like David Camacho, and the timing of them, are only meant to sabotage my election to the Board of Selectmen."--Dick Levine

"Mark:  I read with a great deal of interest the comments written by David Camacho about Selectman Dick Levine.  While Mr. Camacho may be upset by the fact that the Judge Rottenberg Center has purchased 5
properties in Stoughton, it seems to me that he is directing his anger in the wrong direction.  Under Massachusetts Law, educational facilities are exempt from paying real estate taxes on any property so
long as it is used for "educational purposes."  No Board of Selectmen (and certainly no individual member of any Board of Selectmen) can change that.  Ironically, in his attempt to discredit Dick Levine, Mr.
Camacho has actually served to credit him with more power than he actually has    Mr. Camacho also attempts to discredit Dick Levine for his involvement in the No Place for Hate Organization.  It seems pretty
clear that, through action rather than words, the No Place for Hate Committee has done so much good for Stoughton.  I recall vividly attending an event sponsored by this group and listening as a
Holocaust survivor told the story of his escape from death at the hands of the Nazis.  I watched as people young and old heard that man's message of tolerance.  It was as emotional as it was riveting.
The importance of that educational meeting can not be overstated.      This organization has also answered the call when the hateful acts of vandals occurred right here in our community.  When symbols
and messages of hate were spray painted on the walls of the Jewish Community Center, Dick Levine and many, many others reacted immediately to assist.  The sad moment, however, was used as an
opportunity for a community to react in a positive way.  I for one am very glad that such an organization exists here in Stoughton.      As a former town official, I have had the opportunity to work
closely with Dick Levine and the other members of the Board of Selectmen.  From first-hand experience I can speak clearly and honestly about Dick Levine's integrity, commitment and experience.  It
is second to none.  He has the best interest of the Town of Stoughton at heart.  I find that refreshing at a time when that type of leadership is often lacking.  That is why I will happily vote to re-elect Selectman Dick Levine on April 8th.  I ask those in this community interested in moving Stoughton forward to please join me      Mr. Camacho, in his mean-spirited attack, only continues to propagate the divisiveness he pretends to despise.  This type of attitude will only hold this community back.  Instead, let's move forward and return a voice of experience to the Board of Selectmen by re-electing DICK LEVINE!"-- Paul Dawson ( "P.S.  It seems that Mr. Camacho also has a case of selective memory. Mr. Camacho has told me, on perhaps a dozen occasions, that he does not even know how to turn a computer on.  Knowing that one can only
imagine my surprise at discovering that he is now surfing the web and sending e-mails to commercial web sites.  Could there possibly be a ghost-writer in his household?  Just wondering.")


"Dear Mark, I have some comments regarding Dick Levine.  I received a Dear Friend post card and that did it for me.  I really can't keep silent any longer. Dick Levine was such a good negotiator with the representatives of the Judge Rottenberg Center when it purchased the first property in Stoughton (cook outs and meet the neighbors, etc.) that the school eventually purchased 5 houses in Stoughton.  That's approximately $2.5 million in real estate value that is not subject to taxation, trash fees, etc. because they are a school.  Should we really have welcomed an organization that has a controversial history of using electric shock to control behavior?  I think that they paid approximately $2,000 one year instead of taxes.  What a bargain.  Good job, Dick! Dick Levine boasts that he supports a No Place For Hate Community.  He must have forgotten that when he told me 4 times after a Finance Committee meeting that he would bury my f------ ass. Dick Levine has been a divisive force in this community for years.  It's people like Dick Levine that have given Stoughton a bad reputation and cost the taxpayers millions of wasted dollars. Please….No more Dear Friend cards."--David Camacho

"Mark, I am presently watching the "we the people" show and John Morton is on it speaking for the cpa tax, promoting us to vote for it and i just had to write to you.  First, he is saying that it is an average of $38
per household.  I have a small cape, 1100 sf, and I saw on the selectman's meeting that our property taxes at last year's meeting woulld only increase approximately $50. Well mine increased $600.  So how
much will they increase now? Second, I understand the town is in financial trouble, but don't you think that is partly due to the fact that we continue to pay town employees that are put on leave due to legal
issues, for months, years, etc. Third, John is saying that the money will be allocated by the selectmen, town reps, finance committee.  Why is this different than how the money is being allocated out now, it's
the same people."--Jeane B.

"Hi Mark, I read your comments on the selection of the Algonquin Advisory Committee(AAC) on tuesday night. Like you, I applaud the Selectmen for forming the committee and for the composition of the committee. 
There is much work to do but not much time remaining before Algonquin makes their submittal to FERC. I also agree with you that many competent volunteers were left off, including you. As a member of the 
newly formed AAC I hope that those not selected will continue to advocate alongside the AAC for what is best for Stoughton. I am certainly interested in listening to and speaking with anyone who would like to be heard. I can be reached via e-mail at Anastos2008@aol.com or by phone at 781 341 4981."---Thanks, Steve Anastos (candidate for selectman)

"Dear Mark: I find it sad that the previous letter writer wished to remain anonymous on a position that must certainly be supported by all.  Who could possibly advocate for yet another giant utility project if we had the choice of fighting it entirely?    I understood your speech last night needed to be said for or to the Algonquin/Spectra reps, just as arguing against it needed to be avoided in front of same.  However, if in any way people in attendance or otherwise were left with the impression we can fight to keep this out of Stoughton, particularly at this late date,  that would be a travesty and this is why:  To consider fighting for any route that bypasses Stoughton you must look at the lar ger picture.  There was discussion last night about the Algonquin's existing I-3 Route that traverses north of Stoughton through Canton, Randolph, Braintree and into Weymouth.  This is the Route that we argued early on should be used.  That was last summer before we had all the facts or the other town’s positions.   To fight for this route now would mean not only fighting Algonquin and FERC, but also Randolph, Braintree, Weymouth and maybe Canton with the three former preferring the Edison route because the existing route that they are already stuck with has vastly more significant impacts than the Edison proposal.  The existing route passes so many more homes and schools by such closer distances that its review is merely obligatory.  Choosing this fight without the support of the other communities would fail.   I've heard several people say they don't trust Algonquin and are suspicious of their purpose for coming through Stoughton.  This too may be at least partly alleviated by looking at the bigger picture.  Currently, Algonquin has a gas transmission pipeline running east from Medway to Weymouth.  From Medway to Canton that line runs along the existing Edison easement, even in a short section of Stoughton just to the south of the condominium complex off of Island Street.  At that point it is diverted north of us through Canton.  Why?  It's an old pipeline that may have had fewer impacts on that route at the time it was built.  I don't know, but I do know that FERC advocates and encourages grouping utility easements together in corridors.  Looking at the plan as a whole from Medway to Weymouth, Algonquin’s proposal to redirect their pipeline back onto the Edison Easement through Stoughton and east makes perfect sense.  What doesn't make sense is how and where it impacts Stoughton with regard to the NSTAR station, The Sinai Hospital, the Dawe School and the multiple protected lands it would run through, thus the work around.  We can't change their existing pipeline location in Canton and we can't change where they need to get to in Randolph.  The only viable work around connecting point A to point B that arguably makes the most sense is the Glen Echo route.  It's the only plan second to the Edison route that Algonquin is willing to submit as their PRIMARY Route.  Why is that important?  For all intensive purposes, FERC is the Federal equivalent of what the EFSB is to Massachusetts...they are both siting authorities.  Anyone close to the NSTAR case or any siting case for that matter knows that the alter native routes may be deemed preferable or better for any or all of the review criteria and still loose out to the Primary Route if the difference isn't considered "clearly superior".  Make no mistake that FERC makes the final decision, but FERC does not choose routes, they review the routes submitted against the Primary Route.  Algonquin has made it clear that only one of two routes will be t heir primary....Edison or Glen Echo. Those are the choices. We have precious little time left to deal with this.  Don't waste it with the red herring that we can just say 'no'"---Nancy Munroe  

(Response To Nancy--You have referred to me as treating Spectra/Algonquin as the 'enemy'. THEY ARE. We do not EMBRACE a company that as their FIRST CHOICE wants to endanger our children, our teachers, patients at our hospitals, etc. They are motivated FOR PROFIT and not for the people of Stoughton. We DO need to fight. We need to be strong even to negotiate. I respect very much the work you have been doing quietly negotiating with the enemy. But, the people of this town---and those elected to represent us---need to be strong and garner every bit of mitigation possible before surrender Yes, their alternate route is a better choice than their NSTAR easement rout, but it still presents a myriad of problems. I'd like to see them stick to their current route, which has NO impact on MY town. It has an impact on their bottom line (aquiring property for wider easements), but that does not concern me..---MARK SNYDER)

"Mark, You spoke loud and clear! Now see if you can get the rest of the town off their ass, and just say no, use the existing route that does not go through Stoughton. They already have the easement in place and I assume that they have addressed all the environmental issues, so do the required engineering and put it there. You can make anything work if you want to. I really question their motive for wanting to go through Stoughton. We have some really great people in this town, that give and give, now we need to get our elected officials to take a stand with us (by the way what have the Selectman been doing for the last year) and not allow this to happen. People need to speak up, write letters, make phone calls, etc. or we will be thrown under the bus."--Name Withheld Upon Request

"Mark, much is being said about the proposed Algonquin project. I've read some letters and emails and I've discussed this with friends. It's obviously a very important subject to the future of our town, first, for safety reasons and secondly, property values specifically in the affected region of Stoughton and to a lessor extent, throughout the town. I understand the fears and concerns. Recent history has not been good in this area. Nancy Munroe lead a hard fought battle; vs. and along with a previous leadership of the BOS to try to keep NStar out of Stoughton and/or put the town in the best position of a bad situation. She warned all who would listen of a scenario exactly as what Algonquin might provide - the ability for power production at the current site of NStar and all the issues surrounding this possibility. Dick Levine, as noted on Mark's Latest News section under the heading "Is Town on the Same Page?" has scheduled a meeting to be held with Algonquin and INVITED the Conservation Commission and School and Open Space committee's on March 31st. We as citizens need to be heard, we're the most important group of all involved. With the four Stoughton groups invited (all made up of fellow Stoughton citizens) I believe this is the most logical and should be the most productive way to have the process move forward. I, as many of us do, know personally members on each of the 4 groups and know they will not stand by if the town were being led down a path not in line with the shared vision of our towns future. My advice to all involved is to not spend time blasting the leadership for what they think is a bad idea for a meeting. Frankly, I think town government, when it is at its best looks exactly as this meeting is setup to do. I think too many people have their minds already made up on this issue because of other issues that have nothing to do with Algonquin. Until at least March 31st, we should trust the leadership of our various town boards to do the work they're there to do, looking out for the citizens best interests."---Bob Barbell

"Mark, I attended the Algonquin / Spectra 'Open House' on March 24th at Stoughton High School. I left the meeting extremely disappointed and very offended. I had anticipated a meeting where a panel of Algonquin representatives would be available, in an open forum, to address the very real concerns of Stoughton residents. I had expected a public dialogue where all sides would be able to present their opinions. I had hoped that we might all learn from one another. Instead, we were all greeted by dozens of smiling, polite, P/R reps from Algonquin. They even served cookies! They were ready to answer any questions 'individually'. The design of the room (long, blocked off corridors of room dividers and maps) was such that no one could hear, or participate in, conversation or debate with anyone other than their own personal Algonquin representative. Algonquin intends to file their proposal with FERC in May. Their meeting, by design, was intended to separate and isolate the citizens of Stoughton. It was intended to diffuse any real questioning of their proposals.
On March 24th, Algonquin / Spectra told the town of Stoughton that we have only two choices. They are proposing two variations of routes that would go through our town. Already, there are Stoughton residents who are beginning to debate, and take sides on, the two Algonquin proposals. This is just wrong! It is backwards and way too late. Choosing between two unacceptable plans is no choice at all. Algonquin/ Spectra is happy to pit Stoughton residents one against the other. Doing so diverts our attention from where our focus should be. We should oppose any route through Stoughton at all. Why once again, do outside developers treat Stoughton like an easy mark? Why have we allowed this? There has been no leadership from the Board of Selectmen to develop a position and a process that would unify the town. This should have happened a year ago. Our residents deserved an opportunity to express their concerns and grievances, and to have real input in these proceedings. The Chairman of the BOS has called for a special strategy meeting about the pipeline with various town boards on Monday, March 31st. Algonquin has been invited to attend. They will have a voice at that meeting. The public is NOT invited to participate. WE will not be allowed to speak. Algonquin will have their voice in the proceedings, but not the Stoughton residents? How much more could you botch a process? Is this the benefit of 'experienced, proven, leadership' that we are asked to 'celebrate' in Dick Levine's ads? Stoughton is a diverse town with talented and determined people. We have expertise in many areas, and a history of citizens who aren't afraid of a fight. We should choose to develop a coordinated plan to oppose this assault on our town. At the very least, we could then negotiate from a position of strength and leverage. We would not have to fall back on a choice between the lesser of two evils. If our board members, our town employees, and most importantly our residents, choose to find common ground and unite behind an open opposition to any route at all through Stoughton for the Algonquin pipeline, we could prevail. Together, all of us could win! We could send them somewhere else, or back to their original Braintree route. We could just say NO! Not here. Not this time. Not in Stoughton!"--Rick Lynch

"Hi Mark, I  am making efforts to build up membership of the Ames Pond Citizen's Committee.  Below is some descriptive text, from the attached flyer. I was wondering if you could please post something on your web site? FYI  - I am on Stoughton Conservation Commission. The Ames Pond Citizens Committee would like to invite interested residents of Stoughton to join their distribution list. The Committee is NOT looking for donations, just the contact information of residents who are interested in restoring this lovely recreational facility. There are grants and other assistance available for the restoration of the pond, however without the support of local citizens, advocating for state grants and local funding becomes near impossible. We need your membership!  To enroll simply e-mail your contact info to: amespond@gmail.com. Members of the Ames Pond Citizens Committee will receive updates and information relating to the efforts being made restore the pond."--- Diana Germain

"Hi Mark: While no one would dispute the fact that the rail car accident was an unfortunate accident, I would hope that people do not use this as an opportunity to attack the Cohenno family and Cohenno, Inc. I have personally known the Cohenno family for years and they are honest, hard working and conscientious individuals. Let us not forget the fact that in the past, it was Cohenno Trucking's flat bed trailiers that were often used to build reviewing stands for parades (what old townie doesn't remember the 1976 Bicentennial parade with the Cohenno flatbeds parked on Washington Street draped in red, white and blue bunting). Furthermore, we cannot forget the longstanding financial benefit the company brings to the town in the form of tax revenue and employment opportunities, to say nothing of the fact that they provide a valuable service that ultimately benefits everyone (after all, we all have lumber in our houses). We all empathise with the injured, and are greatful no one was killed. We cannot forget however, that CSX, and not Cohenno, Inc. owns or leases the rail car."-- Michael L. Georges

"Hi Mark, I have already received some great feedback from the posting of our 2008 Charity Golf Tournament on your web page. If it's not too much trouble could you correct our organization's name. 
It is:  Friends For Seniors. It is listed on your web page as:  Friends Of Seniors.  I know this appears to be a small difference but when it comes to donations and golf fees paid in check form, it makes a big difference. 
As always, "Thanks for all your help!"--- Lorraine McCarthy, Friends for Seniors

"Hi Mark, I just read on your site that the March 31 BOS meeting will not be the long awaited public hearing, but rather another meeting for the Town Boards/committees to discuss the gas line/Spectra project and to see if they can come to an agreed position.  Why is it to the Town's benefit for Spectra to be present at a meeting in which there is not yet a united direction?  A year and seven public meetings later and still no public hearing.   Stoughton is listening to "facts" provided only from the developer.  At the last open house (Monday), I once again found inaccurate, dated and misinformation within their presentation documentation including maps and matrix.  In at least one case, the maps had been updated three times since the correct information was acquired yet still omitted from the mapping.  This is what the Town is hearing/seeing with out challenge to base their position on?   In the eleventh hour they are attempting to come to a united position before they even hold a public hearing?  Sounds to me like the cart pulling the horse."--- Nancy Munroe

Hi Mark, There is an error on your web page concerning the Stoughton FF issue.  See this quote: PFFM members descended on the Town of Stoughton at the VFW on Washington Street on Friday, February 29th in show of support for Brother Doug Campbell.  PFFM President Bob McCarthy chastised the Stoughton Board of Selectmen as "the Most Unpatriotic Politicians in America" for not paying brother firefighter Doug Campbell while he is on active duty in a war zone.   McCarthy never sayd "the Most Unpatriotic Politicians in America" - he referred to Stoughton as "the Most Unpatriotic TOWN in America".  Now, I'm sure that he WISHES he had made this distinction, but the fact is he insulted the TOWN and all of us townspeople, and THAT was a huge part of the controversy that they created.  For the record, I'd correct that quote as it is incorrect and seems to "spin" the truth in favor of what the PFFM would have preferred to have happened.  I remember when this came on the TV news, I nearly fell out of my chair in shock - and took his comments quite personally. "---Name Withheld Upon Request
(Mike: The State Firefighters Union sent out a media news release stating the town was the most unpatriotic in America <which was picked up by a number of media outlets---including this one.>. At the press conference, which I attended, McCarthy had amended the original statement and talked about "The town manager and board of selectmen are the most unpatriotic politicians in America."  i did, however, print your letter on the site.---MARK)

"Mark, I was quite surprised when I tuned in to Dick Murphy's show to see my two opponents on his show. I expected to see Steve Anastos which I eventually did.  I was never invited to participate on the show and share my ideas and thoughts. Seeing Dick Murphys show endorsed my two opponents on a previous show I guess it only fair to try and sway the election in their favor.One question that did catch my attention was fees. I thank Bill Klein for telling people I am against fees. WHICH I AM. How to solve fees? First I would look at retired teachers and the hiring of new teachers. There is a gap in salary. New teachers make less than retired teachers based on the step structure in the contracts. This year about $300,000 dollars. Also gate admission fees. Basketball and football gate fees  Where does this money go and how much is involved. Only way to get the answers is be part of the school committee and demand answers.  I will explore all avenues to reduce fees."--Tony Bickerton

"Mark, Concerned Citizens of Stoughton is delighted to announce that we have received another generous grant from New England Grassroots Environmental Fund. The residents’ group has supported Stoughton’s Open Space Plan’s mission to preserve the Goddard Property between Washington Street and Sumner Street. A 40B Affordable housing project threatens to develop the land with more than one hundred new houses on the marginal land. Concerned Citizens of Stoughton continues to oppose the proposal. At this stage, the project is in litigation, and the residents remain confident that the regulations regarding the presumption: that the Open Space is a priority, will prevail. Donations are greatly appreciated. Please send donations to Concerned Citizens of Stoughton , Care of Paula Grubenskas, Co - treasurer , 127 Benson Road, Stoughton, Mass 02072."---Donna Ayers

"Mark, I was just reading through your website and I found that the Community Preservation Act is on the ballot again.  Why can't these people that are pushing this TAX give it up?  The people have voted against this TAX twice.  In very simple terms, It is a TAX.  Your readers need to look through the wording the supporters are using to make it seem like a wonderful thing. Wonderful for who? Me? You?-- or the people that choose to live near the woods? I have been told that I don't care about the future of Stoughton because I am against this.  I have four young children that my wife and I are raising in this town, so I assure everyone that the future of Stoughton is truly my number one concern.  Basically the rising cost of living is enough without having to deal with this TAX on the ballot. This TAX will be forever, it isn't a one time thing. If you read this, spread the word...This is a TAX.  I urge the voters of Stoughton to always vote against it."-- Phil Yaitanes

"Hi Mark, Just curious if you have heard of purse snatchings from mothers cars picking up their kids at local schools.  My wife's purse was taken from her unlocked car as she picked up our children at the Gibbons School two weeks ago.  The police said that it has happened quite a few times. The thief waits for moms to pull up to the day care or school and when they get away from their cars, he (or she) opens the door and grabs the purse. My wife's was found at a CVS dumpster in Easton two days later. Everything except the cell phone and cash was there. Let me know if you hear anything. I was told Hugs Plus was hit hard. Kids sports was another and the day care on West street (at the Academy Gymnastics Place) too.  There has to be a way to inform the parents of this happening here.  Too many are taking their safety and security for granted in Stoughton.  They leave the car open with the bag in the car and assume that it is just the parents that are around them. Thanks." (Name Withheld Upon Request)

"Mark, this may be untimely.  However, after reading your article regarding proposed hazardous product storage by Barrett Dist. Ctr., I wanted to clarify where the adjacent brook flows.   All water in the southeast 
side of Stoughton is in the Taunton River Watershed and flows south  through Brockton.  There is another, smaller brook flowing on the east side of this Industrial Park that flows into D. W. Field Park and the Brockton Reservoir.  The brook adjacent to the former Hoboken  plant eventually crosses South Street then behind T.J. Maxx and into Brockton and becomes Lovett Brook, I believe.   It is difficult to walk this stream and the USGS topographical map is incomplete in this  regard.  I believe the flood insurance map, available at the Town Hall, may be the best reference map.  I also think the flood insurance map will show that Campanelli Industrial Park (this area)  is in a 100-year flood zone as a result of the brook that flows by the Hoboken building."--Harold Frost

I will be hosting a meeting at my house  (541 Sumner Street) tomorrow evening (March 19) at 7:30 pm to continue our discussions regarding the Community Preservation Act. I hope that you can attend and that you might bring along one or two (or more) others who might help out in the campaign for the passage of the CPA. The more folks learn about the CPA the more they support it. In the absence of the CPA, the Town is facing some grim alternatives such as further reductions in services, increased borrowing to finance its day-to-day operations, and the continued transfer of necessary costs fro the tax-deductible real estate tax base to the non-deductible fee-for-services base. I hope to see you and others that you might invite at the meeting. Thank you for your help."- John Morton (johnhmorton@verizon.net)

"Dear Mark: Please ask your readers to contact me at 341-1300, extension 262, or send me a note if any are aware of tire dumps anywhere in town in the woods. Tires are a huge source  of mosquito breeding and harborage. Free swimming, air breathing larvae known as "wrigglers" in staggeriing numbers escape predation in the water in these tires. The species which prefer th ese "low oxygen" conditions  are those which carry dangerous viruses such as Eastern Equine Encephalitus and West Nile Virus. Dragonfly nymphs water beetles and other aquatic insects  are natural checks who feed on the "wrigglers" in natural healthy ecosystems of ponds and swamps. With the assistance of a group of organized individuals in the community TBA, we hope to clean some of these dumps up in honor of upcoming Earth Day Festivities. Our Household Haz-Mat/ Used tire and used needle collection will be held Saturday April 12 from 8:30 to Noon at the O'Donnell Middle School. Thank you very much Mark for helping us get the word out!"--Jim Conlon

"Mark, This is the actual email that we received from the union's attorney, Joe Sandulli.  Subsequent to receiving his email, our attorney had several discussions with him in which he lobbied for the parties to stay with the original plan of NOT issuing statements beyond what would be in the joint statement previously agreed upon.  He was however ultimately unsuccessful.  It was after these discussions that Attorney Sandulli sent the email to our attorney stating that they would issue their own statement.  Perhaps Mr. Denneno should get together with the union's attorney so they are in concert as to what their decisions are.  So far they have not been on the same page."--- Dick Levine, Chairman, Stoughton Board of Selectmen

"Dear Mark, I did not think that this type of propaganda was going to take place any further in the public as was stated by Mr. Levine in an earlier comment. I cannot stand by and let lies, insults, and misinformation be published without a response. I must let you know that I had no intention of sending any type of letter to this forum. My intent was keeping our exchanges gentlemanly as was also agreed to by Mr. Levine. It only took 4 days for that to go out the window with the letter he sent to you today. To answer, I must assure you we in no way shape or form feel that a mistake was made in holding our press conference on February 29; In fact I have gotten a wonderful response from most residents that I have spoken with. Most understood that the unpatriotic theme was directed toward the Board of selectman and Town manager. They were trying to force an agreement to be signed that had never needed to be signed before. We showed the Board documentation that other town employees received similar benefits while they were deployed without a signed agreement. I did call Mr. Levine on March 4th, not because we felt we were wrong, but to resolve the issue as soon as possible for both sides. This local had and was already prepared to send a message to the residents regarding our press conference. I sent a copy to the town but they did not like what was written and chose to rewrite it for me. I expressed my displeasure with having my words rewritten and was told that the Town no longer wanted a joint statement.(I will attach our version of what we were going to say and then the towns version). Mr. Levine’s insistence on an apology is simply an attempt to draw negative attention away from himself and the board of selectman. As for negotiations there never should have been any. It should have been as simple as what has been done for others. What they should have said is, We will do it for you stay safe Captain Campbell and don’t worry we will make sure your family is cared for BUT NOT IN STOUGHTON AND NOT WITH THIS BOARD."--Peter Denneno, President, Firefighters Local 1512

 

"Mark, Attached is the Town's letter to the Union which sets out the agreed upon resolution between the Stoughton Board of Selectmen and the local firefighters, IAFF Local 1512 regarding Captain Campbell's military leave.  On Friday, March 14 at 7:48 PM, Union President Peter Denneno sent an agreed upon email in response indicating that the Union did not object to the Board taking the action referred to in the Town's letter.   These actions were agreed upon by both the Board of Selectmen and the local union.  The attached letter, by the way, describes the same benefits for Captain Campbell that were offered, consistent with the Town's policy, to the Union several months ago prior to the Union's press conference.  The Union, however, refused to accept the Board's offer leading to months of unnecessary confrontation.  Although it had been my hope that the recent resolution would allow both sides to move forward, it didn't take very long for an erroneous statement to appear in this morning's edition of the Boston Globe.  After describing the press conference that was held, Peter Denneno, President of the Union, is quoted as saying, "the press conference sparked new talks and that an agreement had been reached".  Mark, what sparked the new talks was the Union, apparently realizing that it had made a tremendous mistake in their outrageous comments about the Town of Stoughton being unpatriotic, calling me and asking if we could get together.  Of course I agreed.  Peter, myself, and attorneys representing both the union and the town met last Friday at which time the above mentioned resolution was reached subject to the Board of Selectmen's and Union's approvals.  At that Friday meeting, both parties had agreed that a joint statement would be issued in an effort to avoid any further back and forth in the press, but the Union later backed out.  Also agreed upon, at my insistence, was that the Union apologize to the Town of Stoughton for calling it,"the most unpatriotic town in the country".  It remains to be seen if the will renege on that initial promise as well. In response to my statements today, the Union will likely contend that their only opposition all along was to having to sign an agreement regarding Captain Campbell's benefits.  If that were truly the case, then the Union would not have kept proposing written agreements back to the Town in response to the Town's offers and would have also raised that issue long before Friday's meeting."-- Dick Levine, Chairman, Stoughton Board of Selectmen

"Dear Mark: Last Thursday Algonquin Gas/Spectra Energy representatives conducted two meetings and made an offering in both of various routes the gas line could take. The first meeting was held with the Town of Stoughton and attended by various department heads and Board/Committee representatives and the other meeting was with me (my third meeting held at Algonquin’s Norwood office).  Algonquin reviewed all the route options considered over the past year and narrowed the field down to three routes as they relate to Stoughton or its work around the area.  They are: 
The initial Proposed Route also identified as "the Edison Route",  the Q System Cross Country Alternatives also identi fied as "The Glen Echo or Gibson Route" (with three optional adjustments through the Gibson property),  the I-2 Replacement Alternative also identified as the route that follows the existing gas pipeline east into Canton then south through Stoughton parallel to Rt 24.   Of these three routes, Algonquin proposed that they are prepared to submit  the Glen Echo Alternative route as their Preferred Primary Route within their formal filing to FERC in May, 08, if and only if they receive support for this route from the Town and/or those affected.  Should they not hear from the Town or receive support for this alternative, they will file the Edison Route as their Preferred Primary Route.  They will consider no other routes as their Preferred Primary, but all alternative routes will be considered by FERC and arguments to support other routes can be made directly to FERC.  Please know that The Glen Echo Route was proposed as an alternative to accomplish four main goals:   To circumvent passage through the Dawe School and Hospital property.  To generate settlement funds to help acquire the Gibson property for open space.  To reduce social and environmental impacts and to divert the pipeline crossing away from the NSTAR switchstation thereby greatly reducing the probability for future utility expansion in our town.  I am an advocate of the Glen Echo/Gibson route, second only to Spectra's current existing easement and pipelines that omit Stoughton or pass south through Stoughton along Rt 24.   To date FERC and Algonquin have heard from the Stoughton School Committee and Richard Levine as the BOS Chairman both requesting thorough review and weakly suggesting preference for the Glen Echo/Gibson Route.  The Stoughton Open Space Committee submitted their position opposing all routes through Stoughton and strongly condemning the Glen Echo/Gibson Route.  Though I applaud the committees work and efforts to secure and protect this property for open space, their arguments do not offer a fair analysis of our options.  For instance, the Edison Route would pass through acres of already protected open space and conservation property including land in perpetuity north and west and east of the NSTAR switchyard, The Dawe School recreation fields and nature walk trails and the Reynolds Farm.  The Glen Echo/Gibson route passes through no property protected to date.   The Edison route travels through an IWPA protected water supply and the States Mapped Habitat for Rare Wildlife, neither of which are located along the Glen Echo Route.  Most important however is that the Town is being given a choice to protect our children and workers of the Dawe School and to shut the door on future utility expansion proj ects within our town.  When you weigh all these issues is there really a choice at all?  Protecting Glen Echo is a worthy and important endeavor that should be pursued with or without the pipeline.  Keep in mind that gas pipelines currently pass through state parks and protected open spaces all over this state including miles of pipeline laid through Blue Hills reservation.   Finally the Town has been given a choice.  All we have to do is speak up and let our position be known.  I can assure you Canton will.  Lets not be left in their wake.  I have asked the BOS for a year now to please hold a public meeting on this issue.  I've submitted yet another request to be placed on their next available agenda as it is imperative that the Town makes its position known prior to Algonquin's formal filing to FERC in May.  I am also collecting peti tion signatures supporting the Glen Echo Gibson route second only to the Canton work around.  Please watch for and sign this petition.  Please tell the town to speak up on your behalf.  Algonquin w ill hold its third open house sometime within the last week of March/First week of April at undetermined location that may be sited in Canton.   Please watch the papers and SnyderStoughton for updates."--- Nancy Munroe
 

"Hi Mark, I would like to take this opportunity through your web site to thank all of the residents that voted for me in the preliminary election.  I am very excited for the opportunity to move on to the annual election to be held on April 8.  Congratulations to the other finalists and I look forward to an invigorating campaign over the next 4 weeks. I would reach out to any resident who has confidence in what I stand for, and is willing to support my campaign through hard work, to contact me.  I promise it will be a rewarding experience. Thanks for printing this, Mark."-- Dick Levine

"Hi Mark--Thank you for posting my letter, as always I appreciate it very much. I also appreciate Dori Frankels rebutal. Being able to voice ones'opinion is a very American thing to be able to do. I am a Christian and of course I find absolutely nothing wrong with churches being built and people coming together to celebrate their faith. Who could find something wrong with that? What I do have a problem with is the fact that in an area where there is so much possibility for many different kinds of businesses that may be a draw for out of towners to come into our great community to spend money supporting local business, we are faced with a situation where small churches are going into major business blocks instead. Randolph I believe had a similar problem and they corrected it from getting out of control in their central business district by zoning certain areas for certain types of businesses. I don't know if what I am saying is right or wrong, others in town can speak up if they would like as well and Dori is certainly open to her opinion. As far as schools are concerned, I know how great our system is. I have a daughter that takes full advantage of the sped program here and other children who are excelling as well. My point is the schools are falling apart on the inside and in many cases the kids are learning out of text books that are way outdated. If you want to attract the type of resident to Stoughton that is professional and has a desire for their children to get the best education they can, then we had better start focusing on getting funding to the schools. Stoughton has always been a community open to all, but the town is becoming more and more a place for poverty than for a professional family. We have to have a healthy mix of resident. If you think I am a well to do person who just doesn't want to mingle with the lower classes, then you are wrong. I am low income living in an apartment with my wife and four children. I am far from a snob, and although you consider me pessimistic, I consider myself a realist. I know what it is like to scrape by! I do it every week. I also know that it is about more than just me! For this town or any community to be healthy in feel, finance and environment, there has to be a healthy mix of resident. To much poverty and there is a large drain on town services including the school system, police and fire. That is reality.  It is great that Mr Levine wants to focus on the positive. I don't think that any candidate anywhere could get elected by just focusing on the negative, but to just talk about the good without talking about what needs to be fixed is not going to get us anywhere either. Mr Levine talks quite a bit about diversity which is a wonderful thing. My wifes family are from the Azores and my grandparents from Europe as well. My opinion is however that to much reminding about all of our differences is a bad thing. How about talking about the fact that all of us came here from different places and we now all share our American culture and have united as one. The word diversity has become to me one the the most overused, politically correct words in our vocubulary today. The word was put to use for a good cause and now has become a symbol in this community and this country of a reminder that we are not alike as Americans, but very different. That is a bad thing. Again, this is just my opinion. Stoughton is and always has been a true American town. Blue collar, white collar, black, white and whoever and whatever else has always been welcome here. With that said, the drastic increase in crimes, the falling apart infrastructure of our schools, our square slowly turning into Main Street Brockton and out of control development and traffic needs to be addressed. Like I said originally, I do not support or know any candidate. Mr Levines ads caught my eye and I wanted to respond. I may vote for Mr Levine, I don't know. I will vote for the candidate who tells me that they will care about the residents of North Stoughton and the out of control development that they are faced with. I will vote for the candidate who tells me he will work to clean up the graffiti and blight converging around our town square. I will vote for the candidate who tells me he will stop another large apartment complex coming in which will drain ours chools and town services even further. That is the kind of representative I want and I am sure others do as well. Thank you Mark and Dori. Someday, when I am freed up more I would like to put my money where my mouth is and do more about what concerns me. Thank you."--Jim Pernock

"Good Afternoon, Mark: As both co-chair of Dick Levine's campaign for ReElection to the Stoughton Board of Selectmen, and as a proud citizen of Stoughton, I felt the need to respond to Jim Pernock's views about our town and Dick's focus of the campaign.  At the beginning of our campaign meetings, we felt that the more positive aspects of our town, and its focus on the future was the best avenue to help our townsfolk generate that pride in ownership of our community.  We have definitely focused on 'Celebration' as the theme because it will accomplish our goals. Lets take a look at what Mr. Pernock says is wrong with Stoughton: (1).  Our schools are old and outdated and have a problem with drugs and violence.  Wow, that's a big difference between Stoughton and every other community in the Commonwealth!  That's not irresponsible, its realistic.  The problems occurring in the schools are being jumped on by all avenues possible.  The School Department has done a terrific job of keeping up the facilities on limited funds without requesting a 2 1/2 override or a debt exclusion.  Their joint work with the Police Department should be commended, not critiqued. Working to keep on top of these kinds of issues, and finding short and long term solutions to them is a high priority for Dick and the entire rest of the Board of Selectmen and School Committee.  If Mr. Pernock is unaware of the many programs set up for these issues, he should talk with the powers that be to be brought up to date.  (2).  Our Square:  A good Christian would be happy to see churches of all denominations springing up wherever they can.  Religious connections ground our peoples, and have for millenniums.  It is not the place of worship that is important, it is the worship in all places.  Mr. Pernock gives more credit to Dick than he deserves, as Dick Levine is not the landlord of any properties in Stoughton Square, unlike some other candidate.  (3).  Diversity:   We celebrate the diversity of our residents in both social and ethnic categories because it is what allows our residents to know and understand the various cultures and traditions of our townspeople.  Diversity breeds growth of spirit, and that's what this town needs.  We will continue to exemplify that fabulous trait of our town. America was built of a nation of peoples from all over the world, that's what makes America the best country in the world. Just the fact that there are six people wanting to be a Selectman in Stoughton should be celebrated. We have a great town here, and with a positive outlook and realistic views of the issues we face, I know Dick Levine will be able to continue the good work our town management has achieved in the past number of years.  Mr. Pernock needs to lose the pessimistic attitude. That's what is keeping him in the dark."--- Dori Frankel

"Hi Mark--I have written before but felt the need again. I am not endorsing any candidate, but feel the need to make a comment about the ads run by Dick Levine. Each week in the Pennysaver, Dick is celebrating everything good about Stoughton, but I think some of his thinking is off. I understand that to focus on negative things isn't neccesarily the way to go to correct problems, but to ignore them and make it seem as though all is great is also wrong and not a way to fix the problems this town is experiencing. Dick mentions our superioir school system. There are a lot of great things about our schools from teachers to students to programs, but our schools are in a lot of trouble as well. The inside of our schools are run down and outdated to say the least. The schools are also starting to experience a lot of problems with violence and drugs. To ignore this and say all towns are having their issues is irresponsible. Dick talks about our beautiful town square! Really! I am a Christian by faith, but to allow churches to spring up all over the center in vacant store fronts and low end dollar stores is damaging to say the least. Stoughton Square is looking more and more like Main Street Brockton every day. We are a town with a beautiful historic train station and village type set up. Instead of taking advantage of these things we are allowing nothing but poverty and blight to set in. One more major apartment complex to go in like the one planned in North Stoughton, and you can say goodbye to Stoughton and hello to Brockton! Our schools and our emergency services cannot handle this out of control development. Mr Levine also needs to stop celebrating diversity in his attempt to win elections and realize that to keep reminding all of us about how different we are from one another we need to remember that for all of us that are here responsibly and legally, we are first and foremost Americans. That is a message not heard to often lately due to the political correctness that has gripped this town and this country. Thank you Mark."--Jim Pernock
 

"Mark, At last night's selectmen's meeting (3/4), two Stoughton brothers, Daniel and Jack Goldberg,  who are Boy Scouts, received  public recognition for a  good deed.   . .    During a recent storm, the rope on the flagpole at the Historical Society broke and the American flag fell to the ground.    No one was in the building at the time.   The boys were riding by, noticed the flag on the ground, and had their mother stop so the flag could be retreived.   They took it home, cared for it and the following Tuesday, their mother  returned it to the grateful members of the Historical Society.    These days we read so much about young people's negative actions, it was felt that these boys should  receive recognition for their  observation and action to protect  the American flag.    A Commendatiom from the Selectmen was read by Joe Mokrisky, a Citation of Thanks  from the Historical Society was read by Joe DeVito, and  Commander Charlie Wade of the local VFW  offered words of congratulations as well.     The boys are the sons of Greg and Joanne Goldberg.  Their parents and Scoutmasters should be proud."--Jeanne DeVito, Board of Directors, Stoughton Historical Society.    

"Mark, the Board of Selectmen's hostility towards the Stoughton Fire Department is evident in the political backpedalling they are doing now as a result of their actions (and inactions) with regards to Captain Campbell's activation and subsequent deployment to Iraq.  The fact of the matter is that the Stoughton Fire Department is not politically convenient to them.  As firefighters, we offer nothing to them with regards to money or power or political endorsment.  The only use they seem to have for us are parades, block parties... and God forbid if one of us is killed in the line of duty, they show up to the firehouse, news cameras in tow, pat us on the back and say how much they support us.  As cynical as this sounds, the proof is in their actions and in their lies regarding the issue of Captain Campbell.  To the citizens of Stoughton, you have always been there for us and we will certainly always be there for you. Thank you."--- James Brackett, FF/EMTP, Stoughton Firefighters Local 1512

"Mark, I find it interesting that when the selectman have something to state it is supposed to be considered fact.However, when the firefighters  present a document from the town it is considered a lie and no one the board has ever seen it. If our lawyer is sending something on our behalf it is presented to us for review before it is sent. I would not expect any different reaction to this document by the board. This was presented to you to show just how unwilling the board was to work with us on the matter. I also do not want to continue this in media but felt I needed to reply to the earlier comments.      Another interesting thought is are there any other towns in the state that have language in contracts regarding military deployment. I know there is language for military leave; some offering two weeks,weekends etc. I do not believe there is a town or city in the state that requires a agreement for active duty deployment. When some one is activated for military duty they report it to their town and their town enacts what ever policy it has in place. I will repeat again that we are looking for no more than what has been done in the past for other employees. Thank you again."--- Peter Denneno

"Mark, Could you look into how many employees of the town recieved the 2001 benefits without needing to sign an agreement.I already have and I am wondering why the firefighters need one when no else did.As we have said from the beginning all we wanted was the voted benefit and nothing more until we were being forced to sign a agreement.We have reqested this information through our lawyer from the town but you probably could get it faster. thank you."--- Peter Denneno, (Stoughton FF Local 1512 President)

"Hi Mark, I concur with the comments of Dick Levine. An agreement is between 2 or more parties. We never got an agreement. This is incredibly unethical and you seem to be helping to promote this misinformation."--
John Kowalczyk (Selectman)

"Mark, I just thought I would add my 2 cents. I agree with Dick. I really have not followed what has been printed on sites and blogs about the issue other than the extensive postings on the bostonherald.com. I went on your site and read the agreement you have posted. IT IS WRONG.  It is the first time I have seen that proposal.  It is obvious the Union is giving you the same dog and pony show that they presented to the media this past Friday.  There is a proposal out there that the Selectmen agreed to and is waiting their signature. You heard them at their own press conference, they said they won't sign it. We are not the bad guys here. Its sad that the union has decided to take this course of action."--Selectman Joe Mokrisky

"Mark, In the last few days I have read some disgusting remarks about our fire department.  I can truly say the main reason I chose to buy a home in this town was because of our public servants, including our fire department.  I have seen first hand how these men and woman work and I am so impressed with their knowledge and professionalism.  I have seen them take someone on deaths door step and bring them right back to life.  I have seen them walk into burning buildings while everyone else is running out.  I have seen them go into freezing cold water to save a woman's life.  I have seen them work tirelessly to free a man who was trapped under a large slab of concrete while keeping the man calm and confident that he was going to be alright.  I don't mean to belittle other towns ALS response, but you really get a picture of how amazing this group is when they can't respond.  If their ambulance is tied up on another run, probably saving someone Else's life, and another town has to come in you can really see the difference.  Their response time to calls is unmatched.  I have spoken to police officers in other towns that do nothing but complain about how long it takes their fire departments to respond to accidents or medicals.  Whether it is 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning our fire department responds quickly and are ready for what ever lies ahead. I am not going to say that people don't have the right to speak their mind because they do.  I guess we could say thank you to people like Capt. Campbell for that freedom.  I would like to remind people that ignorance and it's voice offers nothing.  Many town employees, whether it be police, fire, public works, or teachers, live right here in Stoughton.  We pay the same taxes.  How many people out there can say they pay there own salaries?  Thank you Capt. Campbell and thank you Stoughton Fire Rescue."--Officer John Bonney, Stoughton Police Dept.

"i was a brther with campbell at otis and i am still with camb fire i stand with my brothers and sisters and if your union has to give days to make it happen and has problem maybe state should see if other brothers/sister can pool time in the cause. anything i can do let us know yor cambridge brother." --Richard Turcotte

"Mark, The hostility of the Board of Selectman towards the Stoughton Fire Department is what caused yesterday's rally for Captain Doug Campbell.  Negotiations with regards to Captain Campbell's deployment were in fact delayed to the point that the first offer from the Board of Selctman was not received until 1 week after Captain Campbell was out of country.  Why the delay?  Because they do not care.  The offer that was presented to the Stoughton Firefighters was deemed unfair and harmful to Captain Campbell with regard to his rights as employee of the town and as a member of Stoughton Firefighters Local 1512.  Captain Campbell is not away on vacation, he's not on a leave of absence for personal reasons... he is deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, serving with the Mass. Air National Guard.  The specific area where he is right now is frequently shelled and mortared.  The fact that the Board of Selectman have chosen to nickel and dime the issue and delay it to the point that he was already overseas when their first offer was received is the reason we have deemed this Board to be unpatriotic. Here's a little history regarding past actions by the Board of Selectman.  Firefighter Ian Kurtinitis.  Last September, at the age of 36, he joined the United States Army Reserve.  He was away for almost 6 months for boot camp and school.  The Board of Selctman chose not to do anything but hold his job for him until he came back.  The reason that the Board of Selectman gave was that if  benefits were extended to him, then everyone employed by the Town of Stoughton will be joining the military.  What a shameful attitude to have toward an individual who chose to join the military and put his own life and safety at risk.  Will they have the same attitude when his reserve unit is activated and sent to a war zone?  Given the history this Board of selctman has towards reservists and National Guardsmen, yes. They will most likely do nothing for him as well.  While Firefighter Kurtinitis was away, members of Stoughton Firefighters Local 1512 worked enough of his shifts to cover expenses at home while he was gone.  How about Firefighter Joe Visser?  In 2002 his reserve unit was activated and sent to Kuwait for 6 months.  The Board of Selectmen opted to do nothing for him as well.  Members of Stoughton Firefighters Local 1512  stepped up and worked every one of his shifts until he returned.  Joe's wife and three children had his paycheck and health insurance uninterrupted for the duration of his deployment.   
Yesterday's rally helped to make public the shameful and unpatriotic actions of the Board of Selectman with regards to supporting those Stoughton Firefighters who also serve their country as reservists and National Guardsmen.  There will more then likely be nothing done for Captain Campbell (much to the relief of this Board of Selectmen). Not to worry...  The members of the Stoughton Fire Department have once again stepped up and have been working his shifts for him so he not only receives his paycheck, but that his family receives health insurance without interruption.  He can rest assured that when the occasional 82mm mortar shell is fired at him, he can concentrate on taking cover for himself, because we have his family covered on this end."--- Thank you, James Brackett FF/EMTP, Stoughton Firefighters Local 1512 (and former Sergeant, United States Marine Corps)

"Hi Mark, I felt the need to comment on Officer Jay Owen's response to Deborah Miller's question about the running police car on election day.  What Officer Owen said is the most ridiculous thing that I have read in
a long time.  Dogs are bred to live outdoors.  With the exception of a few breeds of dogs that have been specially bred to be "indoor dogs" there is no way that a dog is going to freeze to death or catch a cold
while sitting in a police car that is turned off. Especially a German Sheppard (which I believe the K9 dogs are) are fine being left outside.  It is actually probally worse for the dog to be left in a car that is running because it is breathing in the emmisions.  His email was rude to Ms. Miller and he should remember that it is the taxpayers in this town that are paying his salary and that we are paying for the gas for these cruisers.  We have every right to be concerned about an issue like this.  And a more important issue that needs to be addressed is why if a K9 officer needs to have his dog with him at all times is he doing doing these kinds of patrols?  There is no need to have a police K9 at a town election."--Heather McGinley  

"Hi Mark, Thank you for promoting our Benefit Hockey Game in your column. As you have already heard the P.D. won 5-0. The good news is we raised $2,250 for the Friends Of Stoughton Hockey. All involved were volunteers or donated something. The ice time usually runs over $200 an hour was also donated. The Fire Dept. will be back again next year to try again. Thanks again."--Buddy O'Neil, Stoughton Fire Dept.

"Mark: Your apprehension (re: Barrett Distribution proposal) is well founded. This proposal is irresponsible and incompetent. Sprinkler systems can not extinguish flammable liquid fires. They just control them. Fires will release toxic and carcinogenic products downstream.  So will the spills, leaks and used sprinkler water. Don't let that happen, please."-- Erdem Ural

"Hi Mark, I wanted to be in touch with you regarding the Stoughton Youth Commission's Gala Fundraiser.  We are trying to spread the word about this event as much as possible, and would love to take you up on your offer to help do so.  The Gala is happening on April 11th at 7pm at the Fuller Craft Museum and it is to benefit the proposed new Stoughton Community Youth Center.  Here are some details on the proposed center: The Stoughton Community Youth Center will provide Stoughton youth with opportunities previously unavailable to them.  The center will be a multiuse child and family friendly environment that will house the Stoughton Youth Commission, OASIS (Organizing Against Substances In Stoughton), and an after-school drop-in center, along with other functions that the community may request.  The SYC currently provides families and youth of Stoughton with no-cost mental health, educational, and out of school-time services. The hope is to expand the scope of the Youth Commission’s services to better meet the needs of the greater population. An Architect, with the Boston Architectural Center, has been working closely with the Board of Directors of the SYC to draft a model of the proposed Community Youth Center.  The vision of the center is to be both functional for the needs of the clients, as well as a “green space”, to make as small an impact on the environment as possible.  The center will incorporate the use of solar panels, ecologically sound materials, and low-energy appliances.  There will be space for community gardens, which will both give residents an opportunity to be in better touch with their environment, as well as produce vegetables to contribute to the local food pantry.  The Stoughton Community Youth Center hopes to be a model for the town of Stoughton and the youth served on how to limit the impact on the environment while maintaining convenience and efficiency.  Thanks so much and I hope to hear from you soon!"-- Abby Lamstein, LICSW, Clinical Social Worker, Stoughton Youth Commission

"Mark, as a member of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce in November 1986, I suggested to the members that we should consider sponsoring a Christmas parade for all the children of Stoughton. They agreed to the idea and hoped it would also start the holiday shopping locally. In 1987, the Chamber expanded their efforts to include decorating the trees with lights on the lawn of the Universalist Church in the square. In the following years they decorated the utility poles from Walnut Street to Central Street with lighted wreaths. Another year when the wreaths began to show wear from the elements, they purchased holiday banners for the utility poles. We also began to purchase lights for the trees in Faxon Park and had Santa meet the children there to receive their gift bag and refreshments. The Chamber requested funding from the town as the parade expanded in the following years. Stoughton at that time was the only town in the area that had a Christmas parade. Brockton & Easton (who asked advice) eventually started their own celebrations and continue to do so. The request was granted for $2000. The cost of the parade was approximately $3500, and lighting of the park was approximately $3300. After all the negative discussions in December on the lack of parade this year, I felt I wanted to give the public some correct information on the history of the Christmas parade. I did send a letter in December to the Stoughton Journal with some facts after they printed some false information, but it was never printed. The 'good old guys' (as we were referred to on a local cable show) did it for many years at no expense to the town or residents. I hope all the misunderstandings about the sponsors of the parade will be clarified, and we can hope that 2008 will bring about some type of celebration for the children. "---Jim Callanan, Parade Chairman, 1986-1991


"The Stoughton Department of Public Works does an excellent job caring for our streets in the winter.  I have heard that the supply costs for salt is quite high.  Apparently the streets were salted this morning.  The excess spray went up to 17 feet into my driveway.  The street in front of my house is 30 feet wide.  Assuming that the over spray was equal on both sides of the street it would total 34 feet.  That could mean that more than twice the quantity of salt is used than what is necessary for my location. What I do not know is if the spay is more concentrated on the street than it is on my driveway and my lawn.  Then the waste would be less. 
If the spray power could be reduced we could save some money and our lawns would get less harmful salt.  This sound like a win - win situation.  Can it be adjusted?"--- Eric Kolman, Precinct 5 Town Meeting

"Good afternoon Mark, Det. Sgt. McGowan and I were just having a discussion regarding Stoughton's most wanted criminals.  We were wondering if you would be willing to put a link on your web site that sends people to www.massmostwanted.org.  This would allow residents to look at criminals that are unidentified and wanted throughout Massachusetts.  In particular, residents could type in Stoughton to see just criminals wanted by Stoughton PD.  This could help us and other departments solved unsolved crimes.  This is a very useful web site, but the more people to view the site the better.  Let me know what you think Mark.  Thanks for the time.  This is my new work e-mail address.  If you have any questions, comments or concerns let me know."-- Detective James E. O'Connor, Stoughton Police Department                                                    (See the link and instructions on the news page---Mark)

(This letter was sent to Board of Selectmen regarding the Algonquin Gas Line, with a courtesy copy to Snyder's Stoughton): "Gentlemen: Please see page 10 of attachment (here).  What is the reason that the Town of Stoughton did not submit a comment during the public comment period?  Did an official representative attend the public hearing and give testimony into the record?  I do not think that the comment of the Stoughton School Committee, although commendable, will carry the day.  School Committee 1:  Selectmen 0. I await your answer to my 2 questions." Roberta A. Camacho, Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 4

(This response was received by Camacho from Chairman Dick Levine: "Roberta, Please see attached comments sent by the BOS regarding the ENF.  I'm not sure why it wasn't included in the list of comments received by them at the end of their letter.  I'll try to find out the reason why. Thank you for bringing it to our attention."-- Dick Levine

(Camacho's response to Levine: "Thank you for your limited response.  Appears to be too little, too late.  And, the reason why the comment was not listed? No answer to 2nd question re:  public hearing attendance and comments entered into the record. This is an important issue that supersedes attendance at fund raisers, Tuesday night talk fests, coffee shop socializing, and micromanaging town departments, etc.
What do you think your oath of office meant?  Did you understand it?"---Roberta A. Camacho, Town Meeting Representative Precinct 4  

"As much as i wanted to remain silent i couldn't do it. 'Stoughton Selectman dimiss 19 articles for Town meeting.' Those horrible selectman. How dare they try to attempt to do something fiscally responsible is my
first response. Now the facts: There were 4 people in the audience for the meeting on Feb. 5 where the selectman went through both the 2009 budget and the warrant articles. 2 of those people were a grandfather (i think) and a student of Stonehill College who had an assignment to attend a Selectman meeting. The other 2 were myself and Cynthia Walsh. NO ONE ELSE. I knew they were going to go over the budget a final time and go through the warrant. Why? Because i got the agenda on my own and i could have simply gone to the town web site and viewed it there. If i remember correctly you may have shown up sometime into the meeting but i could not swear to it in a court of law. More facts. The department heads submitted a budget (not including Enterprise accounts) 12.7% greater than last year. Let me type that again......12.7% greater than last year. That is printed in a spreadsheet and allowed to get into the hands of the selectman by someone who is responsible for that. Go to the Mass DOR website and find the last year revenues in the town grew by 12.7%. I'll save you the time....never. My favorite part of the requests was a $22,000 raise for the Town Manager by the Town Manager. Not even sure how to respond to that one. So now the finance committee is charged with taking about a million dollars out of the requests to balance the budget against the projected revenues. And now let's read the headlines - 'Stoughton is $1 million dollars short of needed Budget.' No, now lets interject that nasty stuff called fact - revenues are anticipated to be increased by close to 5% or 3 million dollars. I thinks thats pretty good. In fact thats awesome news. Oh but wait there's more - those revenues include anticipated revenues from casinos that aren't built yet. Oh well, someone will figure it out i guess. So in light of a possible phantom revenue projection, we are suppose to be pissed that the selectman didn't let articles go to the floor of town meeting so that they could decide instead of the selectman. CRAP!!!! Sorry to do this but unfortunately more fact - Borrowing costs: 2005 - 3.1mil   2006 - 3.4 mil 2007 - 3.6 mil. How were these articles going to be funded?? Maybe the town manager could fund some of them with his $22,000 raise. Some of the articles were dismissed because the Selectman had no idea what they were. That is where i will give them some of the blame for the evening. The predominant blame goes to the person or persons responsible for the day to day operation of the town not being there to be ready to answer any questions. AND AND AND, the person who should have known every answer on the town side that didn't. SO what are people - including yourself - really mad at? That the selectman threw it out or that it would/should be thrown out by town meeting? The bottom line is, unless the town hits Mega Millions tonight, WE DONT HAVE THE MONEY. Here  is the best example i can make: The budget called Unemployment Compensation went to Town Meeting last year at a proposed $20,000. Town Meeting changed it to $6,000. Here is what we have spent as a town going back the last 4 years: $13,309, $17,353, $14,796, $35,941. 6 thousand dollars?????????? As the saying goes - right out of your @ss with that number. Guess what happened? The town account came to the finance committee this year to transfer some Finance Committee reserve to that budget. GEE, how did that happen? Guess it was just bad luck that we had a budget that was insane that was changed. If i'm an active citizen then i'm not going to sit back and and wait for someone to tell me what is going on. I am going to make sure that i know what is going on. You know it yourself, it is a lot of ^&*(% work!!! And some & most (not all) take their roles seriously and work very hard. If you (plural) don't want to do it, don't. There is nothing wrong with that. Just use facts not emotion. Having said as much as i can now, the biggest problem here is communication, not throwing the articles out. The lack of information was astounding to me. We need more open dialog and communication between every board in the town. It is a lot of work but it is not impossible to do. I'm done now," -- Peter Galanis

(Peter, that was a great response. Of course, I DID allow the selectmen to explain themselves. And, the communications situation is abysmal. I agree with most of what you wrote. And, as a member of FinCom, you are on top of the situation, I know--Mark)

"Dear Mark: Two days ago (February 12th), we received a notice from National Grid that we would be losing our electricity on Thursday, February 14th, beginning at 11 a.m.  There was no indication as to how long the power would be off . Yesterday (February 13th),after several phone calls to the electric company, I was told by a gentleman that he would look into it and call me back. As of this morning (February 14th) at 9:00, I had not heard back from anyone. I headed out and on my way home, I saw a sign on Plain Street indicating work crews were in the area. Then, as I approached Hunt Drive, I saw the trucks, and an officer on detail . I stopped and asked the officer if he knew how long the power was going to be out in the neighborhood. He told me, "only about five or ten minutes, they're just changing a part."  When I got in the house, I had a message from National Grid, informing me that the power would be out from between 1-3 hours-- 3 at the most.  The power was out EXACTLY ten minutes. I guess the Stoughton police officer knew more than the spokesman for the electric company . . .  and yet, there are those who put down our cops ....go figure!!"---Cindy Pazyra

"Mark, I had stopped to vote at the West School on tuesday.  When I got out of my car, I noticed a Stoughton Police cruiser nearby with the engine running.   When I got in to vote the officer was standing in the
  gym.  Why is a cruiser left RUNNING at gas 3 dollars a gallon??? That's ridiculous. It would be cheaper to install auto car starters. With a push of the button, the cruiser would start. This is just such a waste
  of taxpayers money, along with carbon emissions. I could go on about how wrong this is. Is this a standard practice everywhere????"-- Debra Miller

(Response to Debra Miller's Letter: The simple answer to Debra Miller's question as to why a police cruiser was left running in the cold during the Officer's poll detail is because it was a K9 cruiser (Hence the K9 markings all over it) .  The Officer is required to have that K9 with him whenever he is working and I do not think that the tax payers of Stoughton would want the several thousand dollar K9 to freeze to death or get sick over three dollars a gallon (not that I like paying three dollars a gallon either).  I guess it was easier to send an e-mail bashing the Police Department than it was to ask the Officer or call the station to get this very, very simple answer. ---Stoughton Police Officer Jay Owens

"Just a thought---As a resident of Stoughton, I am concerned about the appearance of the vacant stores in Stoughton Square. I am unsure if it is possible ----
1  Could vacant stores be limited to small printed signs -which say for Sale or Lease -as some stores have done? (Writing on the windows of a vacant store is not appealing-to put it mildly).
2 Would it be possible to place a plywood sheet in these store windows created by art students at  Stoughton High with a scene or an old fashioned shop scene  ex-cobbler; fish market; bakery etc?
Perhaps the Chamber of Commerce could have a judging of submitted sketches before final product is done to make sure they are appropriate. These scenes could be stored for future use when the store is rented-possibly by the Historical Society or Library. Thank you for your time"-- Irene Martin

"Hi Mark  Do we have, a  health inspector in town. You would never know it . From milk on the counter at friendly's melted ice cream .Food on the floor . To Gold's Gym. The men's room is totally disguising. Broken  seats. Urine all over the floor   Pizza  sub shop, with buckets on the floor catching water from a leaking ceiling, that's peeling over the cooking area and dinning room  Come on . If we do have a health inspector in town and I know we do. I spoke with him numerous time's.What the hell is going on  We might as well get rid of him and save the money."---Jeff Apotheker  

"Hello, please support Verizon Fios being allowed in Stoughton. I have been a Comcast customer for over 6 years and am not satisfied with their service. Thank you."--- Dana Bille"

"Mark, on behalf of Andrew Bornstein and Boy Scout Troop 516, we'd like to thank you for the publicity which you gave in support of his Eagle Scout service project and fundraiser. We recently honored him with a Court & Honor. The Stoughton community has been so very supportive."---Arlene Graber, Boy Scout Troop 516.

"Hi Mark, Thank you for the great article on the Pizza Bowl. It was nice of you to come, I heard you had a commitment at the Outback. As always, the Lions appreciate your support."-- Effie Noren, Stoughton Lions

"Mark, I just got my bill from Comcast after they had called me to switch to a new bundle. Not only was the bill incomprehensible but it also contained two nasty surprises: 
a) They said the upgrade would be free of charge and then they proceeded to charge me for it.         b)  Then told me that the prices would go up very substantially after the initial period (12 months). The problem was that I was paying virtually the same price as the new package cost before I switched and I feel this billing practice is deceptive and just a way to rape the customer. I encourage you to switch to verizon, especially with the discontinuance of Comcast's local broadcast.  Comcast is out to rape the customer and enough is enough."-- Mark Eisenberg

"Hi Mark, I am emailing you a of photos of a child taken Thursday evening at the Senior Center for the "Child Alert" program. Approximately four years ago the Council on Aging and the Police Department initiated a program called "Grey Alert". This program  photographs at risk elders and keeps their picture and pertinent information in a secure data bank at the Police Station. If an elder were to "go missing" the PD would be able to bring up the elders photo immediately on computers in the police cruisers. Being able to identify an individual immediately could save his or her life. The program has been so successful that we've extended it to healthy seniors and all children.Thursday evening (1/17) we photographed sixty children.  "Child Alert" has over one hundred children in it's data base. I would encourage anyone who wishes for an additional > layer of safety for their child or parent to call Detective Tony Bickerton at 344-2575 or me at 344-8882. We will arrange future events according to demand. If your parent has a cognitive or language impairment or if you have a child with special needs Detective Bickerton will make arrangements to photograph your loved one sooner. Thank you."--- Chris Quinn, Council on Aging Director

"Mark, When I received my real estate tax bill last Oct, i was extremely disappointed that they had increased $500.  I went through the process of requesting an abatement and i just received by notice that the
abatement is not approved.  I canot tell you how disappointed I am in this.  I now have to decide on whether to continue with an appeal or not, which will cost me $100. I have lived in my house now for 6.5
years and an assessor has never come to our house. I know someone else who also submitted for an abatement, and the town sent an assessor to his house. This really bothers me that we continue to be treated
differently depending upon who you know in the town."--J.B.

"Mark should be corrected on two things: I spell my last name HansEn; the other is I have only authored one "policy" or which is old Ch 106? regarding the rules of conduct of
hearing for Intergovernmental Relations Committee; One by law regarding the handling of Warrant Articles and the ID no. system. However, about 24-25 of the 32 amendments to the Town Charter were
authored by yours truly. All of which required a 2/3rds vote of Town Meeting and a majority of votes on ballot."--Howard Hansen

"My name is Steve Anastos and I am a candidate for Selectman. I’m from a working class family and a graduate of Stonehill College. My wife Heidee and I moved to Stoughton 20 years ago to start our family. We have three children—Stephen (a freshman in college), Christina (a junior in high school) and Michael who attends kindergarten at the Dawe School. Professionally, I had a successful 17 year career in the environmental services industry. In 1993, I started a recycling company here in Stoughton that became nationally recognized as an industry leader and was purchased by the largest integrated environmental services company in the United States. In 1999, I had the pleasure of working with Mo Vaughn to design, build and locate the Hitdog Training Center here in Stoughton. The facility quickly became a favorite for the youth of Stoughton and the surrounding communities. Currently, I own and manage a 50 year-old food manufacturing company. I bought the Braintree based business in 2002 and relocated it to my hometown of Stoughton. I have been active in youth sports, coaching virtually every sport at one time or another and have served proudly on the Stoughton Little League and STOYAC Boards as well. I have much to be thankful for in my professional and personal life. My goal is to bring my passion, business experience and fresh ideas to the Board of Selectmen. Our town needs new leadership and a new direction, which, given the opportunity, I will provide to the Town of Stoughton. Periodically, until the preliminary election on March 11, 2008, I will be sharing my thoughts and ideas via the Pennysaver and other media. . I look forward to your feedback. Feel free to e-mail me at anastos2008@aol.com. Thank you for your consideration."--Steve Anastos

"Mark: I wanted to thank you for your column this week-I knew nothing about the controversy until you wrote about it-it was funny that nothing was ever mentioned about not having a parade the whole year, until afterwards. I certainly enjoyed the years that I ran the event, but things change in life. I did find the article on your website last night and may try to get hold of Allan Stein as what he wrote was just bs. I do miss being in the chamber but I love my new job and ultimately that's what pays the bills."--Bob Zeserson

"Hello, I was watching the selectmans meeting last night and was very unhappy about a comment that Mr.Levine made. After the firefighters were commended on a job well done (which they do each day)  As the men were going and shaking the selectmens hands Dick Levine very clearly said "its about time you guys did somthing right" joke or no joke it was very inappriopriate and uncalled for from a selectman. Also he obviously didn't know his mike was still on (not the 1st time either) because then he said to john kowal(sp)" is it okay for me to zip my fly"  this is everything I heard sitting at home watching the meeting.  I was very disappointed that an appointed selectman who is suppose to suppoert our town especially police and fire would make a crass remark.  I'm sure he meant it as a joke but a town offical should not be joking about a serious job done by the people who protect us."---P.D.

"Mark, I am wondering how many people in our town noticed at last night's selectmen's meeting that when Valero wanted to apply for a license for selling cars on their lot, they were shot down immediately and with a
lot of passion.  But then, when Sherm's requested the same thing, their application was approved unanimously.  Also, for those of us who watch these meetings regularly, Sam's Getty was also turned down for this a few months ago."-- Jean B.

"HI MARK, I find your website to be very helpful and insightful to everything going on in and around the Town of Stoughton.  I could not agree more with the last resident (Jim Pernock) concerned about the safety of our children and concerns about where the Town of Stoughton is heading.  Look around and you will see many 'for sale' signs.  I wrote earlier to you about how horrified I was to see middle school students walk out of school a few months back.   I was shocked by the facial piercings, gothic facial makeup, black trench coats, and inappropriate language on student's shirts.  I know that not all children are dressing this way. I do feel that this is not appropriate for a learning environment and am at the point of throwing in the towel and sending both of my children to private school.  As a public school teacher, I am disappointed in the role that both parents and administrators have taken on these issues. I used to worry about my children receiving a good education, which I still am, but now I worry about their safety, too. Nothing is perfect, but I think Claire McCarthy has turned more than a blind eye to many things happening in the Stoughton School System. Parents and teachers need to work together to ensure that children are both learning and safe. It is time for change. I cannot say I will miss Claire McCarthy---to listen with your ears covered is useless!" ---B.R. 
 

"Hi Mark-Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to blow off some steam about some of the things going on here in Stoughton that really aren't very nice. Stoughton is a great community with a lot of good, caring wonderful people in it there is no doubt. Although this is the case for sure, Stoughton is also begining to show the signs of becoming a not so great place to raise a family in either. My family has roots in this town all the way back to the early 1940's when my mother came here to live from Fall River. My parrents raised us here and we all always thought of this town as a place we would always want to call home. Right now Mark I am raising my family here as well, but I am feeling differently about things than I did as young person growning up in Stoughton. The rampant, out of control development of retail and residential complexes, the horrible traffic situation, the drastic increase in crime and the school system, which used to be one of the best, starting to deal with gang and violence issues. A few years ago the mayor of Taunton was quoted as saying that he blames a lot of the increases in crime in his community to so many affordable units of housing being built. There are definitely a lot of good people that call apartment living home, but when you get massive numbers of apartment complexes in a town, a lot of trouble comes with them. Stoughton is at the breaking point in this type of development and if the town allows 250 more to be built in North Stoughton we will all be trouble. Rumor has it that the T-line might even extend to this development which will do nothing more than open our town and our school system up to a lot of trouble from the city. I recently went to my kids PTA meeting at the high school and middle school and these schools are so run down on the inside it is terrible. Before we can handle hundreds of more kids in the system, we need to address our schools problems first. We also have to be honest with ourselves about the type of resident that we are attracting to this town. If we just lay the doormat out to low-income (which I am), residents, then we are in for serious increases in crime and a lowering of the overall environment in Stoughton. Many on the outside already view this town as similar to Brockton and that is not what I want fo my town. I recently met with Claire McCarthy at the high school regarding the dress code problems at the schools and she just turned a blind eye to it basically. Her thoughts were that as long as there was no display of weapons or if the clothing was not dangerous to the child then she has no problem with it. Well, my daughter tells me that kids walk around a lot with scarface shirts with guns all over them and shirts with "M----R F----R" written on them. So much for no problem with the dress code, huh? If we want to stop the environment of violence and gang activity then we need to do more than ban certain color bandanas. If the school system truly wants to keep our kids safe then they need not be politicalluy correct and do the right thing. Other school systems do it. The problems between the Stoughton groups and the Brockton groups and the rumor of a gun at the high school parking lot are enough for me to say enough is enough. Does anybody wonder or ask why groups of kids were at the Brockton Holiday Inn in Brockton after midnight anyway? I would not allow my child to be. This is the problem, groups of people that are not doing the right thing and we have to sit by and watch our kids pay the price for their lack of responsibility. Ooops! Sorry, that wasn't politically correct of me. We are in trouble here Mark and our representatives need to do something about it. Maybe during the next election I will hold a sign in the square for the candidate that truly cares and gets it. I'll stand in front of the store that sells the girl gangsta' rap videos and no snitch shirts."--- Jim Pernock

"Mr. Snyder - While shopping at the South Shore Mall, I was eating with friends in the Food Court and a woman came out screaming about her son being missing and asking someone to help her and asking for security.  She was hysterical and out-of-control in fear. A woman with brown hair approached her and began asking questions about the boy his age, what was he wearing, and letting her know that security was coming.  After a couple of minutes, this woman began and then all of a sudden she approached a young boy who seemed to be wandering around the end of the food court near the stores.  Later we found out from a security guard that this boy primarily spoke Spanish and when this women saw that he was scared and wasn't replying to her in english - or at all - she spoke spanish and then picked him up and brought him to his Mom and the other terrified members of this boy's family.  Meanwhile until Security showed up and the women who found the boy continued to calm the woman down and reunite the family.  I thought I recognized the Hero - I think her name is Holly - my friends and I have seen her on the TV and at Town Meeting in Stoughton.  My friends are Town Meeting members. She never gave her name to anyone just sat down with her own family."--Barbara Carrara
(As an investigative journalist, I dove right in. The Stoughton hero is none other than HOLLY BOYKIN, Chairperson of the Finance Committee, and mother of three boys!--Mark)

 
"Mark, I am writing about the lawsuit filed by West Street Group (WSG) against Stoughton and some of its boards regarding the Stonegate project. I think WSG needs to remember that THEY are the ones who wanted to build this project and chose the 40B process, not the town. THEY tried to slip it by the residents of Stoughton and are now complaining when the voice of reason said that it was too dense and did not fit the neighborhood. From September 2005 through the bitter end, the Stoughton Neighborhood Coalition told them it was too dense and did not fit the neighborhood. THEY could have pulled out at any juncture yet chose to continue on. Now they are complaining that anyone who did not agree with them should not have been part of the process. It is interesting they do not think anybody who was influencing the boards in favor of the project should not be part of the process. They do not seem to have a problem with the fact that, prior to the LIP endorsement by the Board of Selectmen, two members of that board attended a meeting with the developers and a group of supporters at Centerfields, a restaurant owned by one of the principals of WSG. At that meeting people were encouraged to write letters of support to the board of selectmen. Those selectmen then went on to cast their 'impartial' vote for the LIP, but that did not seem to bother WSG. WSG is now complaining the ZBA let the neighbors speak. The last time I checked, Stoughton was still part of America and America was still a democracy. In America, the citizens have the right to speak to their government about issues. We, the public, had the right to speak on this project. After all, it is called a Public hearing, notwithstanding the constant claim it was their hearing and they had a case to build. The ZBA just wanted to hear both sides. WSG seems to forget they were allowed to use all the time at the January hearing with their opening presentation. WSG seems to forget the public was not allowed to speak at the June hearing. WSG even stated they were done in June and requested the hearing be closed, even though several citizen’s who had asked to speak and had patiently waited their turn through long meetings in March, May and June, and had not had the opportunity to do so. Now WSG is complaining that the ZBA took the list of people who had signed up to speak in March and allowed them to speak. In August, WSG was given the opportunity to speak and chose a local realtor to do so. Again, it was their choice. It is important for the citizen’s of Stoughton to remember Stoughton did not ask WSG to build Stonegate. West Street Group chose to proceed even after opposition to the project became apparent. Even after they were shown how close to 10% affordable the town was, even after the town surpassed 10% in May 2007. Now they are just angry that the Town made it to 10% and could turn them down or place conditions on the project. They should have read one of their lawyers website more closely. According to the website, the Superior court has ruled that towns can pick and chose their 40B projects to reach the 10% affordable housing level. <http://www.mintz.com/newsletter/2006/Housing-Practice-Advisory-1106/index.htm> West Street group asked the town for 53 waivers of its Zoning By-Laws and Wetlands Regulations. These are the rules that everyone else in the town must live by. These are the rules that make Stoughton the community that we, the citizens of Stoughton, have chosen to live in. WSG did not get everything they asked for so they are suing the town and questioning the integrity of some of the best people in this town. People who have volunteered their time for years to make this a better place live. I can only hope the courts see this lawsuit for the retaliatory tactic it is, and that the Town’s leaders have the courage to stand up against this form of manipulation."-- John Anzivino   (ed. note: Anzivino is a candidate for Selectman)

"Mark, I could not agree more with the sentiments of  Jim Derochea's e-mail to you regarding the Stonegate 40b. He echoes many resident's concerns regarding 40b in general, and Stonegate in particular. Tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents have signed a petition to put the repeal of 40b on the ballot next year.What really resonates with me is his call to 'never let anyone manipulate or bully our town'. We should never be afraid to take a stand when it comes to fighting for what's best for our Town. Which brings me to the point of this e-mail; the Stonegate developers always touted how they were working with the town and residents (an empty claim in my opinion), but when a decision was made, instead of thanks for an approval (albeit with conditions) that very well could have been denied, (given the position of the town), they are suing the town for lost profits - alleging an "organized conspiracy to obstruct". Conspiracy theory - hmmm. Make no mistake - this suit is intended to intimidate the town - their mode of operation all along. They are the ones who decided to invest in a foolish venture capitalist roll of the dice at exactly the same time that; 1. 40b is under intense scrutiny for corruption; 2. The town has met its state obligations as far as affordable housing is concerned and; 3. The market that he has invested in - has crashed to its core. Talk about "wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan" - and now he wants to sue the town for lost profits? Give me a break!  He has cost this town and its residents plenty. Mark, when the Selectmen granted the Stonegate 40b a LIP endorsement, it was not without conditions. The first condition is as follows: 'The following conditions are imposed by the Board of Selectmen as a quid pro quo for the grant of the Selectmen’s endorsement pursuant to 760 CMR 45.00, et seq.  Any deviation from these conditions or the conditions imposed by the Stoughton Board of Appeals in the Board of Appeals’ grant of a comprehensive permit for this project shall automatically and  without need for further action by the Board of Selectmen, rescind this endorsement and render the project without approval pursuant to 760 CMR 45.00, e t seq.' They are in clear violaton of this agreement. The town should not be bullied, and stand up for itself by declaring the Stonegate 40b developers in violation of its agreement with the town, and rescind its LIP endorsement; a gift these unscrupulous developers do not appreciate, nor deserve."--- Rick Lynch
 

"Mark, Random thoughts regarding this week's (12/6/07) Journal articles regarding Stonegate... TRUE COLORS!      If I may opine... Thank you (West Street Group, et al) for re-emphasizing what we already knew, that a Developer, who is allowed to circumvent mandates and zoning laws & by-laws, under the umbrella of building a 40-B development, is NOT (usually) in it for the good of the town.    They aren't in it for those who otherwise couldn't afford it.  They are not in it for the preservation of the town's natural beauty and resources.  They are not in it for the good of town services or taxes nor are they in it for sake of public safety.  No, Lets make no mistake, 40-B Developers are allowed to distort the spirit of the law and are using the loopholes within the 40-B mandate for the good of themselves!   Not for the benefit of the town nor for the benefit of hardworking citizens who might benefit from the availability of subsidized housing (by being able to afford their own home).      And this lawsuit sends me, and should send every taxpaying resident of Stoughton, that same message...its all about manipulat ing the system via these loopholes, to  "make a buck!"      Hey, everyone has to make a living, I have no issue there..but not at the expense of Stoughton's services, safety, natural beauty or its people!    To me, filing a lawsuit against OUR TOWN after intimating all along that you were in it for the 'good of the town,' is a slap in the face to everyone who calls Stoughton home or ever has!    And lamenting "it may not be economically feasible" (to continue with the project) because they didn't get the full 120 units, (Stoughton Journal, 12/6/07)  speaks volume about the motivation behind this project.   And its not for the good of the town! Given that the town is at nearly the 12%, the West Street Group should have been grateful for getting any 40-B plan approved, because they could have been rejected solely on that grounds.    They should be grateful that they can even build one unit on that land because the ONLY reason they are even being allowed to build on that site, is because the 40-B umbrella allows them to circumvent DOZENS of laws (zoning) to begin with, and as I said, there is no longer a legal need for Stoughton to pursue affordable housing development, thus there is no longer a foundation to bypass the laws and grant approval!   Technically, the town could have said, 'thanks but no thanks, we no longer need to have any 40-B's,' and then rescind all waivers of the zoning laws so that the West Street Group was back on a level playing field with any other developer.    In essence, reclassified the petition to develop this land.      But instead of being grateful, they are, in essence, ranting and raving and  'covering up home plate with dirt  and throwing third base into the stands' because things didn't go exactly the way they wanted them to. I think the Board was going above and beyond to still consider the Stonegate project, despite the fact that Stoughton no longer needed the affordable housing numbers to reach the State mandate...and despite the fact, that if put to a vote, the project would have been rejected by the citizens of Stoughton, most likely by a landslide!     And where did 'playing nice' get the town of Stoughton?    In LAWSUIT LAND, thats where! I still feel strongly that this is the wrong project for this area of Stoughton, due the the various issues and limitations of safety, strain on town services, (open space) preservation and common sense and the article in this week's Stoughton Journal only made my feelings stronger on this issue.      And we should never let anyone manipulate or bully our town!   Don't be afraid to 'TAKE A STAND!'     Don't be afraid to keep to your core values!"-- Jim Derochea, Proud Resident of Stoughton!


LETTER OF THE MONTH

"Hello, Good day, My name is Douglas Obodo, i am a banker working with a bank here in Nigeria as a Manager. I am writing you in respect of a foreign customer whom made a US$25M depository for an investment program that has remained dormant for years, up till then i did not heard from him not until when i received a news that there was a tsunami disaster in Asia that kill thousands of Indonesia’s, include one of our Bank customer Engr. Ridwan Tanto. Hence, I have decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.On personal investigation, I discovered that the account holder died on December 26, 2004 in tsunami disaster . I made further investigation and discovered that the customer died without making a WILL on the depository. Right now I am contacting you to help receive and safely secure the money over there as his relatives or next of kin, since all my effort to locate his family with the telephone number he gave me (62898700612) proved nothing, if you are willing to do this deal, you should not in any reason tell anybody about this transaction until you confirm the money in your account/home, because all we need is to get the document of (change of ownership account from the federal high court) on your behalf and the money will be release to you as beneficiary next of kin to the deceased. Please kindly furnish me with your information 1.Your Full Name/Contact Address 2.Your Personal Telephone Number for effective communication. 3. Your Age/Occupation Please treat this letter with utmost confidentiality and trust. We cannot afford to toy with this rare opportunity of a lifetime. It may interest you to know that this is no Scam or fairy tale email. If this proposal is acceptable by you, I expect that you will not take undue advantage of the trust I Will bestow in you. Best Regards "--Douglas Obodo      (How many of these have you gotten??)

 


 

"Mark, How about the cinema pub building for the cable studio …then the theatre production company can a have a home to…..and Easton cable can join in too!!!
Just a thought…"--David Barron

"Mark, I just learned that the toy count from the football game came in at just over 100.  I am always impressed with the generosity from the people in Stoughton.  In the last three athletic competitions between the police and fire departments we have raised over $2800.00 for the Stoughton High Hockey program, over $1500.00 for the Stoughton Youth Commission, and now just over 100 Toys for area kids.   Congratulations to the fire department in their win.  If they want to cook up a little crow I will be glad to eat it.  Thank you for your support in our events and thank you to all that came to the game to support the Toys for Tots."--John Bonney, Stoughton Police Dept.

Dear Mark,  I was hoping you could help us out again by printing in your column something about the Christmas packages for soldiers.  For I don't know how many years the Stoughton Firefighters have been sending Christmas Care Packages to soldiers from Stoughton away from home at Christmas time.  Whether they are in Iraq or Iowa.  As long as they are from Stoughton and they are away from home we will send a care package thanking them for their service and sacrifice.  The package consists of candy, gum, cookies and toiletries.  Please submit names in writing to either FF Jim Rush or FF Jim Brackett to the Firehouse at 30 Freeman Street in Stoughton Center no later than Wednesday December 5.  Donations always welcome.  Thanks again Mark for your support."---Sincerely, Fire Fighter Jim Rush

"Mark, I noticed you posted some information on your website about the commuter rail extension. It is my understanding the bus tour held last Friday of the proposed train route was only attended by our Lou Gitto. This needs our attention or we will find ourselves having other town's deciding which route the train will take, which appears they want it to come through Stoughton. Either way we as a community need to weigh in on this issue for or against. If for, then we need to start looking at impacts and how best to make this a positive addition. This is one of many reasons why we need a Town Planner/Economic Development professional working for us. If we are going to be against the Stoughton route, we need to start talking with the other towns who feel the same way."---John Stagnone

"I would love to see Tony Sarno back until a permanent Superintendant of Schools is chosen I think he has the respect of townspeople and the people in the school sysem   Especially during budget time, he has the background to assist in the entire budget process. Also, the school  committee should really take their time in the selection of a person to lead our children into the future." ---Tony Bickerton

"My reaction to the ZBA's decision on Stonegate is "compromise". Sounds like a very fair and well thought out decision. Of the members of the ZBA I know personally, I know them to be extremely devoted to doing what is right regardless of public opinion. It seems as though a period of review and analysis by each side would be the logical next step to decide how to proceed. I grew up very close to the area where Stonegate might go (and I still live in the general area), I know how beautiful that area is behind the houses along West St. I also would personally hate to see it built because the traffic in the area is already getting overly congested along the entire stretch of Plain St from Bay Road to Rte 138 including the Morton Street intersection very close to the Gibbons School. So with that said, maybe I'm being overly sensitive, maybe I'm making too much about the response from Mr. Marathas, but a couple things said in his statement seem to me to be antagonistic:    "number of units arbitrarily prescribed by the board",   "unanimously rejected nearly all of the arguments presented by the neighbors" and "the board's arbitrary number of units." Considering we're talking about the potential affects on the area where many people have chosen to make their HOMES partly due to the quality and make up of the area along with the need to proceed carefully with growth as our town's budget is annually, a very difficult process to insure all the necessary services will be appropriately funded, I think PATIENCE is the least we can ask of someone who stands to make a good profit. Never mind that he won't be living in one of the units, he doesn't even reside in the same town. Everyone has the right to make a buck; Everyone has the right to protect their community. Mr. Marathis, your patience and continued professionalism going forward are greatly appreciated."---Bob Barbell

"Mark, a few comments on the recent email you posted from West Street Group regarding the proposed Stonegate development. They mention the project was endorsed by the Board of Selectmen. They don't mention the vote was 3-2 and taken at a time Stoughton was under the state's 10 percent threshold of affordable housing, which effectively leaves the town with its hands tied when dealing with 40B developments. The state certified Stoughton's affordable housing count was at 11.67 percent in May 2007, which did not include the Pond View or Stagecoach developments. When you add these developments, Stoughton's affordable housing count is over 13 percent. They mentioned the density of four other developments being higher than Stonegates. Could it be the other developments were approved when the town was under the 10 percent affordable threshold and had little control over 40B developments?  They don't mention they have requested 53 waivers from the towns zoning by-laws and wetlands regulations in order to build 120 units on property that might accommodate 6 to 10 homes if built under these by-laws and regulations. I find it interesting they have claimed to only be building on 9 acres, which at 120 units provides just over 13 units per acre. They do not speak about the 10 to 13 acres of wetlands which can not be built on or the properties they plan to sell or "donate" being included in their calculations of units per acre.  They stated the town has spent tens of thousands of dollars on independent professional analysis of the plan, yet the developer is supposed to pay for these services. If the town has paid for these services the residents of Stoughton should be asking why. They state these independent reviews demonstrate they meet or exceed the requirements of health, safety and welfare. Professional Services Corporation, the engineering firm contracted by the town, stated in their review  'PSC remains concerned that a single means of full time access into this project is not adequate to serve the number of proposed residents.'   It is TRUE the Zoning Board of Appeals is about to make a historic vote regarding the proposed Stonegate development. It is the first time Stoughton's Zoning Board of Appeals can turn down an inappropriate 40B project without fear that the developer will run to the Housing Appeals Court to have their decision overturned. What better way to start than to deny a development requesting 53 waivers from the Stoughton's zoning by-laws and wetlands regulations?"-- John Anzivino

"Mark, I was watching the Dick Murphy Local Snooze show last Tuesday, which is something I very rarely do.  I was particularly interested in their comments about the 'outrageous' real estate tax bills that were allegedly sent out by the town.  I know that my bill went up very slightly but I atrribute that to the normal progression of the 2 1/2% increase on the tax levy that happens every year.  Murphy and his panel went on and on about the rip-off the town is imposing on its residents. Well, I took some time and went to the assessors office to look at the tax bills of the 4 panelists.  This is public information for anyone who wishes to look at the tax assessments.  Well, LO AND BEHOLD I discovered the following. Capazzoli's tax bill increased $65.57 from last year and Defelice's bill increased $69.13.  Both very modest increases wouldn't you agree? 
Now, here's the real shocker.  Dick Murphy's bill DECREASED by $23.64 and Steve Mitchell's bill DECREASED by $57.23.  What the Hell are they complaining about?  Oh yuh, silly me, if they had nothing to lie or complain about, the show would probably be off the air."---(Name Withheld Upon Request) 

"Hi Everyone, I wanted to let you know that the Anna Cabral Benefit was a HUGE success.  We raised over $5,000 and donations still seem to be coming in.  That was just about enough to get a headstone and pay off the funeral bill.  It is such a relief to finally put some closure to this sad situation.  It could not have been done without the help of all our friends and the community.  I want to first of all thank Seth for all his support thru the last two months (dealing with me stressed out, dinner not always on the table and laundry not being done), he was absolutely wonderful.  Kristy and David for also dealing with me.  Seth’s band “Don’t Hold Back” (Billy, John, Jeff and Tom) for all the work, time and energy they put into this along with their wives/girlfriends (Niki, Najwa, Jen and Nanette) for all they did to help out.  They are some very special people.   Danny Silva of the “Whiplash” for letting us take over his club.  Mark Snyder for advertising our event.  Nanci Kirkland of Silpada for donating all of her commission during a Silpada party to the benefit, all the wonderful crafters and consultants that I have met for their donations to our raffles and all the people that sent donations.   I would also like to say a huge “Thank You” to all my friends who were there for me Friday night.  It meant the world to me.  I appreciated your support.   Again, thank you all for being such wonderful friends." -- Noralee Curtis

"Hi Mark, Thank you for being a good source of information regarding Stoughton news.  I like to stay informed on what is happening in our school and, in particular, what is happening with our school committee.  However, I am increasingly frustrated at the lack of information about when the school committee meetings are.  You asked on your website "Did you attend the October 9 school committee meeting?"  I did not.  I cannot find anywhere on any of our Stoughton government sites the dates of the school committee meetings.  The Stoughton public school website still has the agenda for the October 4th meeting.  The school committee meetings were not televised on our educational channel at their expected times in October nor have I seen the agendas listed there, as they were occasionally last school year.  How can we possibly stay informed if this information is not available to us?
It would be a tremendous public service, Mark, to the parents and other community members of Stoughton who truly want to stay informed if you could post the dates and times for the school committee (and our other town government meetings) on your website.  We need to be watching."---J.P.

"Mark, Stoughton High needs to be commended for taking a great step toward keeping kids safe by installing a computer system that checks all entering persons for sex offender registry status.  Kudos to every decision maker involved!"--- Susan Komisar Hausman

"Hi Mark -- Thanks so much for the great publicity you give all of the many worthwhile charities and non-profits here in Stoughton!"--Marcia Olson

"Mark, As I sat in the ATC social hall, during the Darkness To Light workshop, watching the video that focused on sexual abuse, all I could think of was the children who are developmentally delayed, and how we could help to protect them.  A lot of developmental delayed individuals do not know how to express in words that they have been violated.  Their actions take over; sometimes through depression, anger, and even self-mutilation. 
Care takers, teachers, therapists, and even just ordinary caring people should take this seminar to learn how to help avoid this growing epidemic of abuse.  There is not one day that goes by, since I took this seminar, that when I talk to someone, I wonder if they had been abused, and if they have, how can I help them realize that it is not their fault, they truly are the victim.  We need to stand together and say, WE WILL NOT
TOLERATE ANYONE ABUSING CHILDREN.  WE HAVE TO EDUCATE THIS SOCIETY THAT IT IS OK TO TATTLE ON SOMEONE WHO IS DOING SOMETHING WRONG, TO THEM OR
ANOTHER CHILD.  YOU ARE SAVING SOMEONE ELSE FROM ABUSE WHEN YOU SPEAK UP. Please take this compelling seminar.  It teaches you the signs to look out for and how you can help.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SOMEONE'S LIFE; IT'S A WIN WIN SITUATION. THANK YOU."--- Lynne Rosenbloom

"I was outraged by the increase in my tax bill as well. I had seen the selectmen meeting and it said that the average tax bill would increase by 80 or so dollars. MY tax bill increased by 320 dollars. I live in pinecrest, the smallest houses in the entire TOWN. Who got this 80 dollar increase NOT ME!!  This is ridiculous."--- Debra Miller

"The Zoning Board of Appeals is about to make a historic vote on The Villages at Stonegate.  This unique development was endorsed by the Board of Selectmen under a Local Initiative Program (LIP) demonstrating that it meets the local housing needs.  It is a homeownership and community development plan.  The LIP process has helped produce a plan that will preserve almost 75% of the land as “open space” through the use of “smart growth principles”.  Those principles maintain that a residential development shall be concentrated and diverse as is “The Villages at Stonegate”.  In this case these principles have resulted in a development surrounded by large natural buffers and “open space” making the development nearly invisible to the surrounding homes.  Four recently approved developments are as follows; Page Place 19 units per acre, Stage Coach 18 units per acre, Villas at Metro South 17 units per acre and Quail Run over 10 units per acre.  The Villages at Stonegate have only 3.4 homes per acre!  After two and one-half years of development design review, in which the Town has spent tens of thousands of dollars on independent professional analysis of the plan, in the end those reviews demonstrate that The Villages of Stonegate meet or exceed the requirements of public health, safety and welfare."James Marathas, Paul Sullivan, Paul Cleary, West Street Group LLC 

 "To the Editor: This week's Associated Press report on child sexual abuse in our schools is alarming.  Amidst the wealth of information the study provides is this: many abusers are never reported to law enforcement, but, instead, are fired, with no mention of the abuse, allowing them to move on to another position in another unsuspecting community. Schools are the largest daily gathering places for children.  Educators, administrators, and coaches are the very people we trust the most to care for our kids.  We must insist on policies, procedures, and prevention training for dealing with this epidemic.  As adults, it is our responsibility to ensure children's safety and well-being.   Darkness To Light, based in Charleston, SC, and with facilitators across the country, has developed a simple, pro-active approach that trains adults to keep children safer from child sexual abuse.  The program, the 2007 National Crime Prevention Council's Crime Prevention Program of the Year, is based on 7 steps: 1) Learn the facts.  20% of our children are being sexually abused. 90% of those are abused by someone they've known and trusted. 1 in 10 report the abuse.  42% of those children who do report, report to a teacher.  2) Minimize opportunity.  You cannot totally eliminate one-adult/one-child situations, but you must make absolutely certain that those situations are observable and interruptible. 3) Talk about it.  We need to create an environment where adults can discuss how to keep children safer. 4) Stay alert.  Show up unexpectedly.  Learn the signs.  Emotional or behavioral signs are more common than physical signs.  To make it even more difficult, in some children there are no signs at all. 5) Have a plan in the event a child comes to you and discloses abuse.  Don’t overreact.  Know your community resources.  If you respond with anger or disbelief, the child may shut down.  Trust yourself and take one action at a time. 6) Act on suspicions.  The safety and welfare of a child may be at stake. 7) Get involved. Child safety is the responsibility of all adults.   Take a moment to peruse the Darkness To Light website (www.DarknessToLight.org). Take the 15 minute free course for parents on the site entitled "Step Up and Speak Out." You will learn what to look for and ask about when exploring youth-serving organizations of any type for your child, as well as be provided "food for thought" on your everyday decisions regarding child care, in any situation. Take it to the next step:  take Darkness To Light's Stewards of Children workshop, either online or in a facilitator-led community gathering.  It costs only $15 per person, mostly for the materials, and is worth every penny. The workshop is a compelling 2 1/2 hour exchange that could make a difference to a child in your sphere who may be suffering in silence."--Susan Komisar Hausman StewardsUpNorth@aol.com. (I am a CSA survivor and facilitator for the Stewards Of Children program.)

"Greetings, I really like reading Snyders Stoughton online, I make a point of popping in at least once a week, usually more. May I make a suggestion?  Add a standard header to the top (or bottom, if you prefer) of each post indicating the date/time it was posted.  It helps keep posts "in context" (i.e. you take a situation like the David Cohen thing and there are posts discussing what might happen, on a subject which is actually complete - sort of, I think you get my point though - knowing when the post was made helps keep the comments in context and adds value to the posts). Keep up the good work, nice to have someone that keeps such close tabs on what's going on in town.  I was particularly interested in the rash of robberies that had been occuring.  As a retail store owner in Brockton, this news was EXTREMELY important to me (and I printed off the stories and photos for my staff to review)."--Mike Coffin

"Mark, First let me say that I look forward to your articles in the Stoughton Journal each week. I've been following the articles related to the 'proposed' 36" Liquefied Gas pipeline running through Stoughton along the NStar power lines. For two reasons.  First, my wife and I moved to the town a little over a year ago and are interested in town related happenings. Second, the power lines run behind our house. Now we don't know if we will be directly or indirectly effected by the pipeline since not much information is being provided by the utility company; at least from what we have heard in your articles and seen on the Stoughton Public Cable Channel. We have not received any notifications stating that our property would be effected by the proposed gas line. The other day our electrician, who lives in Norwood, was telling me an interesting story. It appears that NStar is the provider of power to the area by the Route 128 Train Station. Interestingly enough, NStar does not have enough power to provide to the, I believe it is called, the 'Westwood Crossing Project' and all the new customers that would reside there. As a result they have to buy power from Norwood to supplement the power that they have to provide.  hmm... Interesting, NStar cannot provide enough power to the new project being built. The Gas Company 'Suits' and NStar 'Suits' do not know why they need a 36" liquefied gas main. Everyone has suspicions that it is to generate more power by having a power plant somewhere in one of the neighboring towns, maybe Stoughton. Maybe my imagination is stretching here but there seems to be a connection between the proposed pipeline and the power requirements for Norwood/Westwood area. I may be totally off the mark; nor do I know how much of the above story is true as I heard it second hand from my Electrician. But it is interesting. You have probably already heard this scenario but in case you had not I just wanted to drop you a line. I look forward to reading your articles on this an other topics that effect the residents of Stoughton. Thank you for taking the time to read this note."-- Joe Thomas

"Mark, When I watched the selectmans meeting last tuesday I heard James G about how much his tax bill went up.   In your paper I saw that your tax bill was $4,400 but you didnt say if your bill went up or down or change ? ?  I am going to assume that it didnt change much.   On Wednesday  Oct 16 after the selectmans meeting I called the assesors office and found out that the increase was due to a revaluation of both the land and property of some
homes in Stoughton.   It depended on where you lived, the sales in the area and the new valuation that was done last year.    The shift in the property tax bills was not the major cause of the increase in the property/land tax
bill. I would like to know how many homes were actually changed more then $100 and how much addition income to the down the revaluation will bring in to the town coffers.  Yes we have to pay for a good town services.  Maybe the town should revalue the properties every 5 years that way no one would get hit with a $600 increase.   The town has a great DPW , Town Hall Departments, Police and Fire departments.  Yes we have
to pay to keep the services that we have.  I am not infavor of increase however this coming April a new Matching Tax as the opponents call it will be on the ballot.   It is called the CPA and it would average $35 a home
valued at $300,000.  The match occurs with the state matching the $35.00 and the state has matched this for the last 6 years.  The Town of Stoughton has lost over $1,500,000 over the last 6 years because town officials have not
been infavor of the Community Preservation Act.  The town has supported 119 other communities  in MA that receive the benifits of this act with money from Stoughton residents.   The residents should go to the web site
http://www.communitypreservation.org/index.cfm  .    'The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a new tool to help communities preserve open space and historic sites, and create affordable housing and recreational
facilities. This web site has been created to assist individuals and municipalities in understanding and implementing the CPA.' The town would be more physically responsible to pass the CPA this coming
April 2008 since it would pay for items that are now being paid for out of the general budget.  And it would be matched with state funds.   Yes state funds are still available and where else can you have a saving account that
would give you dollar for dollar match.  The opponents say it wont be availble next year and they have said that for the last 3 years..   Even if it is match at $.50 on the dollar who would give you that much interest.
The town would be physically more responsible to pass the CPA this coming April 2008.   If the rate of match ever goes down then the town can opt out of the CPA or reduce the match to .1%   . This would benifit the town and
keep Stoughton tax money in town.. Regards"--Al Lipkind

"Mark, As a Stoughton resident, I am prepared to fight for my constitional right to clean drinking water. Standard waste water treatment cannot remove pharmaceuticals and other personal care products (PPCPs) from a waste stream. Water associated with a large age-restricted facility as proposed by Brickstone (in Sharon), together with the wastewater from the proposed 150-bed nursing home, would be full of pharmaceuticals. Not only will the wastewater be discharged in the ground and contaminate my well in Stoughton , it will also impair wells further downstream, in the Taunton River Watershed. There is no municipal water available for hundreds of homes surrounding this site , and this issue has not been addressed at all . As a Stoughton resident concerned about the safety of my water I will do anything I can to stop the contamination. I will also petition the Stoughton selectmen to protect scenic Bay Road. We will be urging our elected officials NOT to allow any permits to create an entrance off Bay Road. This project is Sharon s project and the entrance belongs in Sharon."--Robert Germain

"Mark:Wondering whom is managing the  money that was given to the high school? Who decides which students receive scholarships? Is there a committee of people? All school officials on the committee?"--J.M.

"Hi Mark, I'd like to update you on the continued fight to stop Brickstone from building the senior housing towers on Rattlesnake Hill in Sharon. Over 150 Sharon residents filed a petition to bring three new warrant articles to the Nov. 5th Town meeting. The first is to reverse the zoning mistake made at the last town meeting which passed because the massive amount of misinformation(which is countered in the attached doc). The second, if the first does not pass is to reduce the size of the buildings. The third is to hold the builder to develop per the normal permitting process. The town gave Brickstone unprecedented approval to build with a single permit bypassing the normal permitting process. We need your assistance to get the word out. Congratulations on your web site hit count! Very impressive.it will help to spread the word. This is going to be a nightmare to Stoughton. Sharon will receive the perceived benefits while all the traffic will be dumped on to our road. We need to urge Stoughton people to call on our Sharon friends to attend the town meeting and vote yes on 1,2 and 3. Call me or email me any time for updates or questions. Thanks."-- Robert Germain                                            
 P.S. The real smoking gun here are the minutes from 8/15/06 where is states "How to keep options from the public". The selectmen would not release the minutes until the Attorney General instructed them to do so. (Minutes are on News Page)

"Dear Mark:  Thank you for placing the information for the "Richard Chandler Sawyer Scholarship Fundraiser" in the Stoughton Journal.   I don't know if you had the pleasure of ever meeting Rick or not.  If you did, you know he was a kind and loving soul taken WAY TOO SOON!!!!!  If you didn't ever meet him, you missed out on meeting an incredible person.  On October 13th, we will begin our evening with a short DVD movie, all pictures of Rick put to music.  Maybe you can stop by. Thanks Again."--Barbara Forde(Rick's  "BABY" sister)

"Hey Mark. Thanks for commenting on the traffic in North Stoughton on your website. Short of changing our route (which isn’t always possible), I would LOVE for someone to really explain to me HOW to get through this area.  Specifically, travelling from Stoughton towards Randolph on RT 139, taking a left onto Page Street…..  There is no clear cut way to take that turn since the streets come in at an angle.  Even at “low” traffic volume times of the day, it’s a challenge.  It’s hard enough as an experienced adult, but as the parent of a teenager who will soon be driving, I am even more concerned about my daughter driving in this area.  I am concerned that someone will be seriously hurt or killed at this intersection. I think this would be a great road trip for your show to take with a video camera …let’s get some actual footage of traffic in this area (and throughout Stoughton) and have an “expert” tell us exactly HOW we are supposed to navigate through it. Thanks much for your help & feedback as always."-- Charlene LaFerriere
 
"Mark,  I would like to expand on why we need a Town Planner/Economic Development person. It is not about keeping up with the Jones'. I have been on the Planning Board for 6 plus years now. In those 6 years I have worked hard at trying to plan for the town's future. As a result of my efforts we now have a Site Plan Review by-law, Downtown Overlay District to promote investment in the downtown, affordable Housing Plan and we are currently working with Redevelopment Authority studying the economic potential in North Stoughton. When I look at other towns that have Town Planners and compare their location with Stoughton's, I find that Stoughton's location to Boston and the number major routes/highways, makes Stoughton more desirable than other towns. We only need to look at all the development that is taking place in North Stoughton, that is one reason why we need a Town Planner/Economic Development person. This position would support all the town boards, promote the towns vision for the future and attract the type of businesses the town wants, in turn creating more good paying jobs for our residents. After meeting with real-estate advisors for the Bio-Tech company in Canton in an effort to bring them to Stoughton, reaffirmed for me that the need to have a plan is crucial to the financial health and the quality of life for all Stoughton residents. While North Stoughton is the most active area for development right now, it is by no means the only challenge we are facing today or tomorrow.
As it has been put to me by others, we can either start planning for the future and decide how are town is going to look in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years from now or we can let developers decide for us. Town Meeting supports a Town Planner position and I hope that Mr. Dolinsky would too, not to keep up with the Jones', but for the long term financial benefit of the town. The town is owed I believe $500,000. from NSTAR. This money could be ear marked to fund the first 5 years of a town planner, so hopefully another NSTAR does not happen." - - - John Stagnone


"Hi Mark, thank you for placing our information in your column. I enjoy your column, it's the first thing I look for when I read the Journal. It's the best place to find out what's going on in town. The 20th Annual Lions Pancake Breakfast will be held at the VFW on  Sunday, October 14 from 8 am to noon. $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for kids under 12, Free for kids under 6. Proceeds will help us purchase a magnifying unit for the Stoughton library. The library  already has two units which are very popular with visually impaired readers. We are also collecting for the food pantry, please bring a non-perishable food item.

How Safe Are We? Find out at our next Lions meeting with Homeland Security Expert, Brian Pires. Hear what's going on locally and nationally to keep us safe. Wednesday, October 10 at X&0 Restaurant. All are welcome to come and hear this interesting talk. Join us for dinner at six pm, $20, or come at seven to hear Brian. For more information, call John Pires  781 344-3805. Thanks again."--Effie Noran, Stoughton Lions Club

"Hi Mark: Last night(10/3) was the first meeting of the year for the Stoughton Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SSEPAC).  This is a group is open to parents of special needs children, educators, and anyone else concerned about the education and support of children with learning differences. SSEPAC invited the Principals from all the schools in town to meet the parents and discuss their philosophies regarding special education, in general, and within their individual schools.  These Principals, most of whom are new, were bright, articulate and professional.  It was so refreshing and encouraging to see what a positive direction in which our schools are heading.
I strongly encourage everyone to come to the next meeting on November 7th at the OMS media room.  Sarah Ward, an expert on Executive Functioning, will be giving a presentation which is sure to educate and inspire.  Contact the Stoughton SPED office for more information about the workshops or the PAC."-- -Leslie Cain Tamarkin

"Dear Mark, you gave a very good description of the police and town manager situation. With some people in town acting like immature kids, it reminds me of a verse in 'Gee, Officer Krupke' from the musical, West Side Story: 
'Gee, Officer Krupke, we're very upset; We never had the love that ev'ry child oughta get. We ain't no delinquents, We're misunderstood. Deep down inside there is good!' I hope that our elected officials and citizens can get past this mess because in Stoughton 'deep down there is good!'   Maybe some folks might like to participate in something that is 'good.'  Next Sunday, October 7, is the beginning of an event I've organized called Carry A Tune Week.  Here is the web link: http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/carryatuneweek2007.htm. Anyone can pick their favorite songs and send them in for the Tune Week survey.  The best comments sent in will get a Free CD. Maybe you can mention the event in your column. Thanks."-- Roger Hall (pinetreemusic@aol.com)

Hi Mark, I subscribe to the Stoughton Journal and always enjoy your columns, where I noticed you mention the many different charity walks that are going on in and around town.  I am the grandparent of an boy with autism and for the fifth year my team, the Golden Girls, is walking on Sunday, October 14th at 9:30 a.m. at Suffolk Downs in the Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism.  I'd really appreciate it if you would put this information in your column in the hope that more people will join the walk and help raise money for this worthy cause.  All donations go for research to help solve this puzzling and devastating disorder.  1 in 150 is the new statistic and we need to stop it NOW. Thank you for listening and any help you can give."-- Carol Deroo

Mark, The new letter from John Stagnone in regards to the town “needs.”  This is an admirable and for the most part unarguable position, except for the CPA point.  (I have not heard much positive about the CPA.)As a resident of the town for many years and a new member of the Finance Committee I have heard this from all the departments as to what is needed.  The one thing I have never heard is what they are willing to give up in order to satisfy this need.  A planner and an HR professional are both good ideas, but that would be a permanent salary that would need funding, along with the cost of benefits.  What are we, as a town, willing to go without in order to fund these “needs?”  Also, the argument that some other town has it so we must need it is getting old.  I wonder what the people who use this argument say to their kids when their friend in school gets a new PSP or IPod and they want one also."--Bruce P. Dolinsky

"Mark, Stoughton faces many challenges in the coming years in the way of financial and new development. We have no long-term plan for either. Over the years we have seen several retail projects built, bringing millions of dollars to the town coffers, but yet we find our selves holding the line on hiring the personnel who are very much needed for a town our size to meet these challenges. Two examples would be a Human Resource manager and a Town Planner. Many towns our size or even smaller have such positions. The creation of a Human Resource position makes sense. The Town has over 700 employees in all departments (Water, Sewer, DPW, Police, Fire, Town Hall, Schools, etc.), but no one trained and responsible for personnel issues, such as answering employees’ questions and dealing with the kinds of issues that inevitably come up. A Human Resource manager would allow each department head, supervisor or town manager to focus on the day-to-day operations of their departments and the town. A Human Resource person would be responsible for making sure the town and our employees are getting the best benefits coverage for its money. The 2006 town budget included a Town Planner. Most of our neighboring towns have a planner or like Randolph are hiring a planner. Town meeting supported this position, but by the end of town meeting there just was not enough funds to go around, so the funding for a Town Planner was used for something else. This happened despite all the new growth that had taken place. Many town board members feel as I do that a Town Planner is long over due. The projects are getting larger in size and the town does not have a professional staff member with the expertise to work with the boards in reviewing these projects. The Town Planner working with all the town boards and committees, Planning, Zoning, Conservation, Open Space and the Redevelopment Authority, would open up communication between the boards and assist the boards in implementing the towns Community Development Plan, Housing Plan, Open Space Plan and all the town’s by-laws. The Town Planner would meet with developers and guide them through the permitting process and seek out potential businesses to move to town. If we want to attract new, responsible business development and have them permitted faster, a planner is key. The former Assistant Town Engineer use to say to me, we are not making any more land. You only need to look at our town to understand what he meant by that. There is not a lot of buildable land left in our town. Much of the land that is still available has problems with accessibility, wetlands ledge or lacks sewer service. For example, in addition to the development in North Stoughton, in the coming years we will be looking at commercial development on Route 138 heading towards Easton, Route 27 (Park Street) heading towards Brockton, once town sewer is made available. We are trying to revitalize the downtown, by allowing mixed-use development. Stoughton has reached the point where we need not only think about new development, we need to be thinking about redevelopment. In recent years you have seen older homes being purchased, knocked down to make way for a new larger homes. As the State’s economy grows and the real estate market rebounds, I think you will continue to see older homes replaced with newer ones and under utilized industrial sites replaced with larger developments.When you think about how quickly the available land is being developed and now redevelopment, you can see why it is important for Stoughton to hire a Town Planner and pass the Community Preservation Act (CPA) this spring. We need to be pro-active and not re-active while we still have time. The funds raised by the CPA could be used to support affordable housing, purchase property in the town’s Open Space Plan, preserve Historical buildings and to fund a town planner. The town’s budget for 2008 should include funding for a Human Resource Manager and Town Planner. If we think about the Community Preservation Act the way other towns have, as a new source of revenue to pay for expenses that are now part of the town budget, we should be able to see the way to do so."--John Stagnone

 
 "Mark, I was happy to see that something is at least supposed to be done about the dust from the sites in North Stoughton.  I actually live here (on Page St. south of turnpike)  in a tiny part of the area that is still actually zoned residential :(. Today is a beautiful fall day and my yard looks like there is a thick brown fog floating through at about 10 minute intervals.  This is mostly from the construction site on Turnpike by Dunkin Doughnuts.  There appears to be absolutely no attempt to do anything to minimize the dust and has not since they started working there.  It is settling on surfaces inside the house.  So far I have no  breathing-related health issues but I have relatives who do and I hesitate to invite them to visit. Maybe you could add this to your information for Mr. Miller.  I called the office but get a machine. Thanks and keep up the good work."-- Susan Gunn

Dear Local Business Owners: "We are planning a Benefit in behalf of Anne Cabral to be held on November 2, 2007 at Whiplash on 63 Wyman Street in StoughtonAnne M. Cabral, 31, died unexpectedly at the Quincy Medical Center on Tuesday, July 24. She was the daughter of Oscar R. Cabral, Jr. and Christine A. (Savage) Cabral of Stoughton. Born in Quincy, she was a lifelong resident of Stoughton and graduate of Stoughton High School, Class of 1994. She was a cafeteria worker for the Stoughton Public Schools for 4 years. Prior to that she worked at Honey Dew in Stoughton for several years and was a cook at Immaculate Conception Church in Stoughton for 2 years. For the price of admission to the patrons, we will be supplying complementary food, deserts, door prize drawings and live Band.  To raise additional funds, there will be a Raffle Table This benefit is being held to raise money to financially support the loving Cabral family in this trying time. We would like to ask for your help with our efforts.  Your donations would help us tremendously.  There is no donation that is too small and all of your support is greatly appreciated.  I will be revisiting you in the next week or two to discuss any donation that you may consider and I am available to pick- up your donation at that time.  I can be contacted at 781-341-9181 to schedule a pick-up or answer any questions.If you wish to mail your donation, please address it to Brenda Cabral in care of Anne Cabral Benefit at 194 Lincoln Street # 7, Stoughton, MA 02072. Thank you for your consideration."--Ana Raymond (Ana.raymond@verizon.net)

"Mark, Weighing in on Safety in the Stonegate Debate I have to add my 2 cents to the Stonegate fray, because I keep hearing the same rhetoric about “professional and scientific studies" and about what's being
done to protect the wetland's environment, but little about the potential public safety issues that will result from the addition of 120 more homes to this stretch of Stoughton.   (Never mind that Stoughton is over the 10% low income threshold). I am against Stonegate, in small part, because I do believe that we have to preserve our existing wetlands, but much more so, because I feel that the surroundings and infrastructure cannot support 120 additional housing units.  Particularly based on the width of the street and lack of sidewalks in the West Street neighborhoods!  I don’t need to have a scientific study conducted to tell me that its already tenuous to walk, jog, bike or heaven forbid, rollerblade on the stretch of West Street, from Ames Pond, to the Plain Street area!    I have heard rumors of supposed traffic studies included amongst those "professional and/or scientific reports," that allegedly concluded that there would be "little impact" for that area.  And what does that mean?  Little impact on the breathable air?   Little impact on traffic? ...on public safety???    I just don't buy it, because common sense and experience living in this area, tell me different!   Lets do some math...(I used Google Aerial Maps and drove around counting houses to help confirm, so I may be off by a small percentage, either way, but not by much.) There are currently around 135 homes between West St (from Plain and West) to Ames Pond, (including, West Street, King Street, Kennedy Rd., Ross Ave., Westview Drive and Palisades Circle.) Plus another 30-40 units in the Village at Ames Pond that will soon be occupied, bringing us to approximately 175 units (based on a higher estimate of 40 Village at Ames units).      And the Stonegate project will add 120 more units to this stretch of West Street...with the only entrance in and out of Stonegate, located off of this stretch of West Street.     So this rural stretch of West Street will grow by approximately 170% if Stonegate passes!    That is dramatic!!!! I ask anyone in the West Street Group, have you ever tried to jog on West Street?   Better yet, have you ever rode a bike with your kids on West Street and had your heart in your throat because opposing cars happen to be passing at the same time as you and your children tried to stay on the pavement and avoid being hit?   If you had, you would know that this historic byway is NOT well suited for such activities.     I know that I have had several harrowing jogging and rollerblading
experiences on that stretch of road.   Now, add 120 more housing units and accompanying FAMILIES, plus all of their cars and you have dramatically impacted the potential for disaster!    I doubt that was in the study!   Kids ride bikes, kids rollerblade, kids walk to their friend's house or the ball fields!   Did anyone factor in that human element and not just the traffic element when any studies were done? To me, protecting human life is, at a minimum, just as important as protecting the wetlands and the animals within them! And if/when, (Heaven Forbid), the unforseeable did happen, who does a grieving family turn to???  The professionals and scientists who did these
studies???   It does not take any kind of scientific study, my friends, it takes COMMON SENSE!    If you can not build up the infrastructure (i.e. sidewalks, wider street, etc) because of the historic significance of the road, then
obviously, this location for a 120 new housing units is not a viable option! And no scientific or professional study can change that. I urge anyone who is on the fence on this matter or even anyone who has made
up their mind, to take a ride down this narrow, winding, beautiful stretch of road and imagine your child or grandchild trying to navigate a bike ride with his or her friends, then ask yourself how safe you think it would be to
add 120 families and the added traffic that comes along with 120 units, to this area?    Common sense................common sense! The neighbors who walk, ride, jog and live in this area deserve to have such issues clearly answered and/or addressed.   Unless there is some (unknown) agreement with the town (to which I will offer my sincerest mea culpa to all) to dramatically build up the area infrastructure by modernizing West Street (via
widening the road and adding sidewalks), then I contest that the plan is woefully flawed and should not move forward until appropriately resolved with the citizens of Stoughton, in consideration of these (and all) concerns!"--
James C Derochea  (not a member of the Stoughton Neighborhood Coalition)

"You have been kind enough to mention in your column the last 2 walks we have had and hope that you will be able to do so again this year.This year's walk is being held on September 29 at the West School Complex (Middle School entrance) in combination with a celebration of what would have been Paige's 10th brithday. The time for our walk/birthday bash is from 10am-1pm. There will be registration for the walk beginning at 9:30 with an entry fee of $15.00. You do not need to be a walker to join in the fun.We are inviting everyone to join us for the fun for a $5.00/person entry donation.We will be having  moonwalks, pony rides (11am-1pm), face painting and balloon sculptures with Violet the Clown,  and the National Guard will be there with several vehicles for the kids to come see. We will be having a 50/50 raffle along with many silents auctions including donations from F1 Boston, the Boston Red Sox, Sheraton Braintree, Cedar Hill Golf Course and many other wonderful people who are helping to make this a great day. A complete list of auctions may be found at www.walkforpaige.org. We are also planning to have a BBQ with hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, soda, water & juice available for a small additional cost.I would like to give you a brief background of why we do this walk. I will try not to take up to much of your time.The Walk for Paige began 2 years ago after the loss of 7 year old Paige Jackman who was diagnosed with relapse leukemia in 2004. While she spent 8 months in & out of the hospital (the last 4 months in) she always had her sheets from home. Colorful ones to brighten an otherwise sterile hospital room. The proceeds from the walk benefit the Paige Jackman Fund which uses some of these moneys raised to purchase sheets to give to other pediatric oncology patients upon admission to the Floating Hospital at the New England Medical Center where Paige was treated. Paige's mom hopes these sheets can brighten other children's rooms while they battle cancer. The fund also sponsors a scholarship in her name to a graduating Stoughton High School senior each year.In addition, our goal is to raise enough funds to sponsor a family for a week at Camp Sunshine, a camp for critically ill children and their parents.Thank you for your time in this matter. We hope that you will be able to again help us."--Wendy McAlister 

"Mr. Snyder, As an avid reader of the Stoughton Journal I'm writing this email hoping you can help with a certain issue regarding the Faxon Park property.  As you know there's the "garden area" honoring the veterans of our town which faces Park Street, as well as the gazebo in the center of the park.  On a weekly basis the Public Works Department will come to the park to mow the lawn and go around with a weed whacker.  (I might add they spend quite a bit of time doing so!)  Unfortunately they're not taking the time to physically weed around the gazebo as well as the veterans garden.  They are SO overgrown with weeds, to the point it's killing off some of the nice plantings.  It's a shame  how AWFUL it looks! The reason I am aware of this is because I live directly across from the park, and enjoy taking my grandson for walks over there.  I've called the Public Works Department, I've commented and questioned about the lack of weeding but obviously to no avail.  I've also gone over there to personally weed out the gazebo area, unfortunately I don't have enough time to keep up with it myself.  Do you think there's something you can do to help rectify this problem? With the beautification of the downtown area it's a shame not to have the park look as nice.  Two years ago I recall Romero Landscaping donated time and plantings, which was a wonderful civic thing for them to do.  Maybe if you mentioned this in the Journal the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or local landscaping companies would donate their time?  How beautiful would it be to drive by, or take a walk through the park and see flowers planted, like for this time of year mums? Thank you for listening, and for whatever help you feel you can do."--Jo-Ann Overstreet

(DPW Director Larry Barrett responds to Mrs. Overstreet: "Thanks for the compliments. We have a crew of one foreman and two men who must keep over sixty places in town mowed and maintained. In addition, they have to remove dead trees from the roads and sidewalks, remove poison ivy from the sidewalks where kids walk to school, remove tree stumps, prune trees over the roadways and sidewalks, maintain the four cemetaries in town, Ames Pond, Harris Pond and many more locations. You have to prioritize when you have a limited budget and manpower. Weeding is not a priority. We do as much as we can with limited resources. It would be nice if someone stepped up to help out.")

UPDATE: GREAT NEWS "I have my Brownie troop and one other who are going to take this on.  We are going to do this on Sunday, October 14th from 1:30-3 p.m. and are working on donations.  If you want to let the other folks who contacted you know the date and time we'd be happy for the help! " Charlotte Mullen (chmullen@verizon.net) <thanks to Charlotte and her Brownie troop 691, as well as Sherri Finner and Julie Widrow's Troop 620!--MARK>

"I always knew that the criminal justice system in America was not a perfect system. I also thought it was the best system in the world with its imperfections.  Until the imperfections hit home and your heart. What has happened to David is a travesty beyond my comprehension. Just read the paper and you see how violent criminal are let out on bail on a daily basis. You read how people convicted of crimes are out  and repeat those same crimes over again. Look at scam artist who are arrested every day,,out on bail to prey upon our weakest of citizens. By the way the people who went to court to support David and Emmitt were not there to intimidate or show force. We were there to show David and Emmitt we loved them and supported them at there weakest of moments. People can say what they want about our support, at least we came out daily. 
I keep telling myself our backs may be on the canvas right now, but the referee has not counted to '10' yet."-- Tony Bickerton

"Hello, I am hoping that you might be able to point me in the right direction. Your Stoughton Snyder site comes to the foreground every time I Google anything about the new Target coming into town. I am an employee who has no choice but to park in the parking lot of Grossman's Bargain Outlet divisional office which is situated at the base of the hill on Hawes Way. This is downhill (and down wind for the most part) of the enormous construction site which is to be the future home of Target. For the record, I am writing on a personal level and in no way do I represent the company that employees me. Our cars are receiving the equivalent of a good sand-blasting caused by the dirt being picked up from the winds which on any given day can get pretty strong out there. This happens for 8-hour periods, 5 days a week. You can imagine the damage that this sand is doing, not only to the exterior of our vehicles but the interiors as well. I find myself either stopping at a car wash or hosing the car down on a daily basis. The interior is always coated with this dirt. I am speaking for myself because I have not asked permission to speak for anyone else. But I can tell you that it seems to the favorite topic of conversation at the water cooler these days. We've had it. If I understand it correctly, a construction site is required to keep the premises watered down to prevent this type of damage to surrounding lungs, vehicles, property. This site does have a water truck on the premises but it rarely gets used. Personally, I have seen it in use 3 times over the last several months. Can you help? What, if anything can be done about this? I realize that you are probably just a citizen but judging by your website, I think that you must have some pull in this town or can at least direct me to someone who may find a solution for this on-going, costly problem. Thank you,"-- (name withheld upon request)

(Town Engineer Jim Miller responds to the lady from Grossman's: "They try to control dust. The last few months, due to the lack of rain, were extremely dusty. In normal conditions, you can spray water and calcium chloride. With dry windy conditions, it doesn't work as well. I will talk to the site manager and let him know it's a problem. I will make sure they are doing everything possible to control the dust."

"Hi Mark: You stated on your web site news that there is a company on Canton Street that is about to be licensed for 5 years to process hazardouse waste. The company has been in operation at 441Rear Canton Street since 1969 or so. They currently have been running under a DEP license and this license is due to be renewed. This is not a new company trying to start up but an existing facility renewing a license to operate. The Stoughton Citizens Association has monitored the facility for years, challanged anything that we felt was illegal or harmful to the environment and fought the corporation in MA environmental court. In any event, the current owner, United Oil Corporation, is and has been complying with MA 21E laws and requirements as regulated by the DEP Boston. The DEP and ECC/United has agreed to hold a public meeting so that Stoughton citizens can learn about the operations conducted at the facility on Canton Street and to ask questions and file complaints." -Dave Duross, Stoughton Citizens Association

 

"Mark, I just tripped over your posting about attempting to buy lox at Shaw's in Stoughton.   In fairness to Shaw's, the Stoughton store is small and can't carry everything we consumers want, so they stock 'what sells the most', and evidently that doesn't include lox.   The Canton Shaw's not only has lox, it has a kosher bakery (unlike Stoughton), a decent size kosher 'department' that even has (glatt) kosher hamburger - which was unheard of more than a few years ago. It also sells challah and egg rolls from Cheryl Ann's in South Brookline, and in the deli department they sell kosher refrigerated pizza dough not only in 'regular' (white flour), but also whole wheat (as does Trader Joe's)! Attached is a response that I received from Shaw's corporate, and I have since been informed that the item I requested - low fat kosher shredded cheese - should be in stock at Canton early this week.   Until then, I believe that the closest option was Davis Dairy in Providence. (I haven't checked lately at Canton, but the Butcherie in Brookline doesn't carry 'low fat' kosher shredded cheese and I'm pretty sure that Stop & Shop in Stoughton doesn't either.)   I understand that Jacob (Deja Vu) is now selling kosher pizza (in addition to Ruth's Bakery), but I doubt that it has low fat cheese on it, and I prefer that my pizza crust be made of whole wheat dough, which I don't think any commercial pizzeria in the area sells - kosher or not.  The last place I saw whole wheat pizza was at the Whole Wheat Pizza Factory near UMass in Amherst - 20+ years ago, and I think they went out of business years ago.  (There's an idea for the UFood people...) I have previously had good luck requesting other items be stocked by Shaw's in not only Canton, but Hyde Park, where my mother shops.  (If you think that Shaw's Stoughton is small, go see the Hyde Park store...)"---M.F.

"Mark, in regards to the person who wrote the letter about Lt. Blount and how Acting Chief Ciampa has tried to terminate him, I don't know what this person is speaking of, but, I DO want to speak on a somewhat similar topic.  Much is said about our Stoughton Police Dept by those who seem to see everything as negative. Most of the people in our town have basic commonsense and KNOW we have an outstanding Police Dept. Considering all the political headaches and heartaches this department has had to go through over the last 3 years on top of the stressful job any police officer deals with on a daily basis, I think we are EXTREMELY fortunate to have the high quality, extremely devoted individuals we have on the police force. That being said, to have a police officer, let alone a Lieutenant, take evidence HOME, move a couple times and supposively not come across the folder seems very hard to believe. Then, suddenly, have it appear just as the trial is about to begin seems well within the realm of deserving some disciplinary action. Mark, correct me if I'm wrong, but as long as Jabour continues to leave the Grand Jury Investigation open Lt. Blount is protected, thus the exceedingly long Grand Jury, which began in the summer of 2004 (?) remains open. Maybe we should all ask our DA's office WHY is the Grand Jury still open. How can they justify it continuing for SO LONG? Does it cost the taxpayers any $ to needlessly leave the investigation open? It's costing Stoughton. We have a police officer who was recently terminated for allegedly not following the laws when trying to protect a civilian from a known criminal, but a Lieutenant can handle police evidence like it's a pack of gum - his own personal property and has no worry for reprisal. I'm curious to know how District Attorney Bill Keating feels about all this. I'm sure Mr. Murphy and the "Yocal Spews" will have something to say about this letter, they can't keep their mouth's shut if ANYTHING is said about our police. Should be interesting to hear what they have to say about Lt. Blount's conduct on this specific matter."--Bob Barbell


 

"Just wondering if you have any idea when the sidewalks in and around Stoughton Center, specifically Porter St. and Wyman St. are going to be finished?  They have been in an awful condition most of the summer.--Jim

(DPW Supt. Larry Barrett replies: The sidewalks on Porter and Wyman Streets are under the care and custody of Mr. (James) Miller, the Town Engineer. I am not involved in that part of the Square project. Mr. Miller and the consultant, Mr. Tom Allan, are the Town Representatives on this project.   Please be advised that the Public Works finished the Washington Street concrete sidewalk between Porter and Monk Streets. The concrete sidewalk on Pleasant Street has been completed and now the other side of Pleasant Street between Capen and Prospect will be reconstructed this fall.) Town Engineer Jim Miller responds,"We had to go out to bid for street lights. We are trying to get T.L. Edwards to schedule the needed excavation work. Hopefully, we'll be able to start up again shortly. We'd like it to be done by the first of October. Once contractor leaves for other towns, it's tough getting them back.""



"To Stoughton High School Families:Hello SHS Families: I am writing you this morning as a parent vs. a person sending a message from the former SHS PTSO. Some may not realize but the High School Parent Teacher Student Organization
(SHS-PTSO) has closed sadly; but during our brief time at the high school level we accomplished quite a bit. Three things standout for me:

1.    The SHS PTSO Elisa Selig Memorial Scholarship: a $500.00 scholarship given to a graduating senior. Upon closing the PTSO we took the remaining funds and ensured through the class of 2010 a scholarship would be given.
2.    MCAS snacks: Sounds easy enough but actually with a multitude of testing sessions throughout the year between two grades and various subjects; it can be difficult to rally support to sponsor such an initiative. I am in hopes to have a large company sponsor this again but I am also turning to the parents…
3.    Finally, the Perfect Attendance Initiative: Simply it is recognizing many students who are committed to their academics. We had local companies sponsor this initiative for the past 3 years. I plan to do the same this year with my own company but again I am also turning to the parents…

*    If you are interested in donating a case or two of water; this will go a long way to cover for MCAS – please email me or call me.    If you are interested in donating 4 - $5.00 gift cards to DD’s, Burger King, Starbucks, Wendy’s, Papa John’s, Papa Gino’s etc. this will ensure one student from each grade is recognized  - OR – 8 - $5.00 gifts cards to ensure 2 from each grade - please email me or call me.     If you are interested in donating healthy snacks i.e. individual
pretzel bags etc. for MCAS testing sessions that can be purchased at BJ’s or Cosco - please email me or call me. I am in hopes to keep some of these worthwhile initiatives alive and well even if a parent group is no longer established at the high school level. The students benefit from these easy tasks immensely, and it is truly a very small investment. Wishing every household the very best of luck & success as we begin a new school year this Wednesday. I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Julie-Leah J. Harding ( jnjulzh@xpres.net)"


"Hello Mr. Snyder, Thanks for the publicity for the car wash. The Stoughton High Marching Band had a very successful car wash this past weekend. All of the kids would like to thank the residents of 
Stoughton for being so generous! They'd also like to thank their wonderful parents for all of their help and support throughout the carwash and the entire marching season."---Ann Dorgan, President, Stoughton High School Marching Band.

“Mark, Has the developer of the shopping center in North Stoughton broken Stoughton’s development laws for a planned business development? On September 6, 2007 @ 7:30 in the Town Hall the Zoning Board will be holding a public hearing on an appeal by the Redevelopment Authority of the Zoning Officer’s June 29, 2007 opinion. The Zoning Board will have to determine if the North Stoughton shopping center (Shoppes at Page Pointe) is in compliance with our zoning by-laws. The Redevelopment Authority asked the building inspector to enforce the zoning by-law based on town counsel’s opinion and the recent conveyance of parcel A to the Target Corporation. I applaud the action that the Redevelopment Authority has taken, to ensure that developers follow the same rules as the residents do. Developments receiving special permits usually have a lot of restrictions as part of the approval, as did this project. How can the Town Boards control any development in town if developers ignore our by-laws. We all can see what the fast over development of Stoughton is doing to our town and why board members are supportive of the hiring of a Town Planner. The Redevelopment Authority wants the Zoning Board to ensure the developer is following our by-laws, like the Redevelopment Authority has done over the past 25 years while developing the MetroSouth Commerce Center into the largest tax generator for the Town. The MetroSouth park includes the Marriott, Shaw Group, Conroy Development, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Kohl’s, BJ’s Wholesale, Bob’s Discount, Lay-Z-Boy and Bassett furniture. The Zoning By-law requires that developers of big projects like this one do certain things to protect the watershed and provide the right infrastructure (access, lighting, drainage, traffic flow, sidewalks, etc.). Town Counsel’s opinion states the developer needed the Zoning Board’s approval prior to subdividing the site and conveying a parcel to the Target Corporation. Town Counsel issued an opinion letter (May 31,2007) that shows a zoning violation has taken place. The Easement and Operation Agreement (EOA) that has been filed in the Registry of Deeds was written in 2005 before the application for the special permits were even filed and was never provided to the Zoning Board or Planning Board. Town Counsel’s opinion states that both by-laws (Planned Business Development and Flood Hazard Wetland and Watershed District) require all of the property to be under single ownership and control and if the developer desired to convey partial ownership interest in the tract of land, the developer should obtain a modification of the special permits. The question remains, since the developer did not seek the Zoning Board’s approval prior to the conveyance, are the special permits still valid and should the building inspector have issued foundation permits. The Operation and Easement Agreement between the developer and Target Corporation (written in 2005) includes language that, Target and Stoughton E&A LLC intend to develop and operate their respective parcels and not as a planned or common interest development/community . . . . . Each party shall be considered separate owner, and no party shall have the right to act as an agent for another party, unless expressly authorized to do so herein or by separate written instrument signed by the Party to be charged. Come to the public hearing on September 6, 2007 @ 7:30 in the Town Hall, to let the Zoning Board know that if a violation has occurred, we support their efforts to enforce our by-laws fairly and equally.”---John Stagnone (additional materials HERE and HERE )

 

"Hi mark. I just wanted to start by telling you that the town of stoughton should be untied and that there are bigger issues to deal with. I think that this town should get over the fact the officer is guilty. If he was found
guilty and sentenced he should do his time. I hate how some people in this town is acting. I hope there is a recall election because this issue with the police and the selectmen should stop and leave everyone alone. I wish everyone would just grow up and stop making threats to other people."--Tom Daisy

“Congratulations for having your name dragged in the mud by the nitwits on local cable. You should be happy they help publicize your show, your column, and, of course, the ubiquitous sunglasses! Keep up the good work.”--J.D.

"Hey there Mark, just curious if you are aware that Acting Chief Ciampa has attempted to have Lt. Blount terminated on three separate occassions for multiple violations of department policy, procedure, rules, regulations and Massachusetts General Laws?  Nobody ever hears of that.  Of course though, the Town Manager refuses to take any action against him.  He has allowed him to become untouchable and run around and do whatever he likes.  I'm surprised you have not heard about this, and if you have, that you have not written about this.  Maybe you should look into it.  There are several reports on file at the Town Hall and at the PD.  Thanks again Mark."--(Name Withheld Upon Request)

 

REACTIONS TO THE VERDICT:
(FYI--This has prompted a lot of emails from "unknown individuals." Without proof of identity, they will NOT be printed, per the policy of the past SIX years of my column, and the few months existence of this website. No matter what your opinion--if I agree or disagree--it gets printed unedited with proper proof of identity.)

"Dear Mark, I commend you on your trial coverage and for always reporting the truth. To the people in Stoughton, I want to say that what happened to David is absolutely ridiculous. This man and his family have been put through hell-and for what? Doing his job! HE IS NOT CORRUPT AND HE IS NOT GUILTY! He is an example of a great officer and one of the strongest people I know. I cannot wait for justice to be served, because good ALWAYS triumphs over evil. As for all of you who have a problem with the Stoughton Police Department, you should be thankful that you have such dedicated, honest, loyal people putting their lives on the line to protect you everyday. And believe me, they do not get the respect and appreciation they deserve. For now, we must support and pray for the Cohen, Letendre, and Cachopa families until they get back the lives they deserve." A.A.

"Mark, what a travesty of justice! If you look at the picture in your paper of the judge glaring at Cohen, you can see where she stands. Isn't she supposed to be neutral? You know this will be overturned, but meanwhile the damage is done." --Deb Maynard

"What a crock of bull. Could not have ever met a better policeman than Officer Cohen."---ericappraiser@verizon.net

"Mark, Just wanted to let you know that I am very excited and happy for the results for Emmett Letendre.  He deserves it and I can't wait to see him back at the police department.  Oh yeah, I saw the comments by the Town Manager regarding that.  He's disgraceful.  As a 'leader' of this town he should be excited for Emmett also and reinstate him ASAP, but no, he's still looking for a reason not to have him back.  What a coward!! As for David Cohen, I am obviously very disappointed in the outcome.  It's an awful result for David and his family, for the police department, for the town and for law enforcement as a whole.  I have a strong feeling that his convictions will be overturned based on several poor and biased decisions by the judge and because of the misconduct of the prosecution and Lt. Michael Blount. It should be further noted that the conviction for extortion or attempted extortion sets a dangerous precedent for the law enforcement community.  How can any police office assist any citizen in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with any type of larceny complaint, because based on this ruling a police officer would be just extorting people to get victims' money or property returned.  That's how I see it.  I guess victims will have to go through the process on their own to get resitution. Well, Mark, I look forward to the appeal process and to David's vindication."- Jim O'Connor (Stoughton Police officer)

"To Snyder: Cohen is Guilty, Now what about the Money he collected??? David Cohen was found Guilty and is responsible for paying back his pay that he collected while suspended!And if Cohen does not pay back the money, the 4 Selectmen that voted to pay this dirty cop should be held responsible for the money payback!And the same will go for when Cachopa is found guilty! A group is being formed to protest Town Hall and Leaflets will be distributed all over Stoughton with each Selectmen's address and Phone Number and every newspaper and news channel will be notified, These protests will continue until every dime is paid back! These Selectmen are responsible for paying these corrupted cops while suspended, If these guilty dirty cops do not pay back the money... then we will hold the Selectmen responsible!"--Ed Kundrot      

'Hey Mark, you idiot. You protested Cohen's innocense throughut the trial. You were wrong. He's corrupt, just like you. What do you have to say NOW?" --John Gage

"Ah yes, here we go again, let the mud slinging begin and while every one is busy pointing fingers at each other and getting on their mighty horses, Algonquin and Stonegate may just sneak past us!"--Ann M.
 
"Hi mark. At first I was skepitcal about all of the accusations and finger pointing that was going on when this story first broke a few years ago.  I became very interested in the story, read all the facts regarding the case, and followed up as the story progressed.  Now that the trial for Officer Letendre and Mr. Cohen has ended, the facts have become very clear!
 For some people, ignorance is bliss but knowledge is power!  Now that the verdict is in, the fallout has just begun!  We live in a society where your innocent until proven guilty, however, the suspension WITH pay of these officers is rediculous!  They should have been suspended WITHOUT pay until the matter was resolved...it's just not right.  If this was a teacher, firefighter, or any other other civil position in Stoughton (or any other town or city for that matter) that was accused of wrongdoing, they would have been suspended without pay in an instant until the facts became clear.  Being that a police officer is a civil position, are Stoughton police officers held to a different standard? I think so!  Now that Officer Letendre has been found not guilty he rightfully deserves his pay.  But as for Mr. Cohen, how is this town going to recoup the money paid out to him???  Stoughton consistantly has problems with the budget and property taxes just keep going up!  It seems to me that if there isn't enough money in the budget, our town just raises taxes and pays people accused of  felonys a salary.  This town should be run like a business not like a drunken salior at Port!  A situtation like this where the Selectman just throw money away supporting 3 accused officers (now one a convicted felon) and one still yet to be tried, is definitely grounds for a recall vote.  Just as Mr. Goulston and Mr. Mullen were ousted in a witch hunt because they wanted to investigate accusations of wrongdoing at the police department, shouldn't the same standards be applied to the current selectman that supported this disgraced officer and rode the political bandwagon into office just to prevent the truth for coming out? In my opinion, it seems a lot of shady activity has taken place in regards to this whole police and  political debacle.  Police officers are supposed to uphold the law and serve the public trust.  Political figures, such as Selectmen are supposed to be (key words: supposed to be) honest, trustworthy, and have the best intrest of the people and the town they are serving-NOT bury the truth and reinstate accused officers when they won the recall vote, and then have the audascity to conduct business as usual!! 
 Now that the truth is out, I say the citizens of Stoughton should work together to get their town back on track and set a POSITIVE example of how police officers are supposed to conduct their business and how elected town officials are supposed to conduct theirs.  I'm sick and tired of this town being made the POOR example of how a town should NOT be run."--D.F.

"My name is Daniel A. Davies and I have no intention of faxing you a copy of my id.  I don't care what you post; it's your site.  But you are a total hypocrite.  Boldly, you proclaim: "UNEDITED AND PRESENTED HERE IN THEIR ENTIRETY. (If they are signed, we print.)".  But the second people start calling YOU on the carpet for your shoddy work reporting this trial, you change the rules. Again, your site, your call what gets posted.  But stop with "we print it all!" hogwash already.  And I suspect those who support you and the convicted felon are not required to provide "proof of identity" to get their emails posted." SIGNED Daniel A. Davies

"Dear Mark:  Followed this TRIAL......WHAT A WITCH HUNT - SHAME ON THE PROSECUTOR AND HIS HENCHMAN......I HOPE MR. COHEN wins his appeal.  Keep up the good work!   I have been a long time Stoughton resident - taxpayer - town meeting member etc.  This is truly a travesty of justice."--Mary Feenan Silva

"ARE WE STILL PAYING HIS SALARY AND WHY IS THE TOWN MANAGER DRAGGING HIS FEET ON SUSPENDING HIS SALARY???????????"-- Herb Kardon

"I don't get it, Sgt. Cohen was an asset to Stoughton. If you were a Friend of Dave  and someone owed you money you didn't have to hassle with lawsuits or courts or even file an official complaint - you just had to get the word to Sgt. Cohen and he'd take care of it. Granted,  to those who weren't a FOD , his methods might seem Machiavellian,
he got the job done and he's a hell of a guy. He meant well and for no personal gain he tried to run the bad guys out of Stoughton, our own Jack Bauer. Why would others call Stoughton a "banana republic" , we have justice here but  now that Sgt Cohen is off the beat the wheels of justice may move a little slower."- Jim Perry


LETTERS ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE

"Greetings Mark,Nice article, I knew you would twist the story and try to detour from the real cause and turn it into Racist and a jewish issue?After all.. you are for the pro jewish agenda and a Cohen Supporter! What you wrote was to be expected, twisted and garbage at best! Why don't you write about the real problem in town with all the connections with the Dirty cops, Dick Levine and John Kowalczyk and The "WE THE PEOPLE" group led by Roy Cohen!Or are you afraid?Unlike you and the dirty politicians and the minority that support the corruption in town, We care about the working class taxpayers in town that are getting ripped off and want the money paid back (possibly Cohens Pension)! Again,Nice try! As for the leaflets at night, you forgot to mention about the people that agree with it... and trust me, many townspeople agreed! Keep up the great work you do... The Majority of the Townspeople find you to be a joke and a wannabe important person! Thanks for the laughs, Take care! Remember this... The Truth is HATE to those who HATE the Truth! If you have balls, try having me and my brother on your cable show!---Ed Kundrot

"HI MARK, I AM TRULY DISGUSTED AND APPAULED BY THE PREVIOUS ACTIONS OF ED AND JOHN KUNDROT.  I TRULY FEEL SAFER AND MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE HAVING DAVID COHEN AS A NEIGHBOR THAN I DO ED AND JOHN KUNDROT.  I CAN TELL YOU AS A FAMILY WHO HAS RECEIVED THEIR FLYERS ON MY FRONT LAWN WE ARE NOT ONE OF THE TOWNSPEOPLE WHO AGREE OR APPRECIATE SUCH BIGOTRY BEING DISTRIBUTED.  THERE ARE MANY WONDERFUL FAMILIES IN THIS TOWN WHO I THINK WOULD AGREE WITH THAT.  I TRULY CAN NOT SEE WHY THEY WOULD MAKE INTERESTING GUESTS ON YOUR SHOW.  I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT GIVE THEM MUCH MORE OF YOUR TIME."--B.R.

"Mark- I appreciate your in-depth coverage of Stoughton news.  One story that I feel has lacked coverage by the area media is the situation at our 'new' fire department building on Central Street.  This station is not currently being manned by fire fighters and this could be a huge problem for residents (including me) that live on the other side of the train tracks.  From what I understand, the company that completed this project is no longer in business and the original designer has passed away.  There is a significant mold problem that does not allow the fire fighters to operate from there. This mold problem must be a result of incompetence on the part of the construction company that erected this building. The question is- What is being done to solve this problem and why is it taking so long?  It is very frustrating for me (and I'm sure our firefighters) to drive by a brand new fire station with no firefighters in it.  Our town should do whatever it takes to solve this problem in a quick and efficient manner."---David Guglia

(David: The answer to your question is on the news page!--Mark)

"Hi Mr. Snyder, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your web site. I check it at least 3 times a week.I just wanted to thank you for the work that you do."---Mary Donnelly (Stoughton resident for the last 15 years)

"HI Mr. Snyder, I'm Master Sergeant McManus and I just wanted to say Thank you.  My wife E-mailed me to let me know what's going on back home to recognize me. I'm getting short and should be back in Stoughton soon.  Thanks again."-- 382nd Military Police Battalion, Battalion Maintenance Sergeant, FOB Grizzly Ashraf, Iraq, DSN 318 250-1634
(Stoughton residents can thank Sgt. McManus: Paul.J.McManus@US.Army.Mil)

 

"Mark, Have you noticed an increasing number of the "Pods" type storage containers in your travels? I have, more so in other towns right now, but a couple here in Stoughton. I have also noticed an increase in advertisement for these units, in both print and broadcast media, leading me to believe we will see more of them in the future. Here in Stoughton, there is one on Turnpike Street and one on Ryan Road. The one on Ryan Road is an industrial looking unit, which looks as if it came off a container truck. Both of these units are in the front yard, as is the case with the ones I have noticed in other towns. It appears to me that these units are an eye sore, particularly in residential neighborhoods. While a nice looking storage shed in a yard can be an asset to property values, these industrial looking units detract from the aesthetics, and therefore the property values of the neighborhood. Who would want to to buy a home on a street with one of these units, with it's companies advertisement boldly emblazoned on its side, on a neighbors front lawn.  I am therefore wondering if Stoughton has an ordinance restricting these types of units from residential neighborhoods. I think Stoughton should. As we all know, all towns have ordinances governing what can and cannot be stored on private property. Isn't that what zoning is all about? Isn't zoning how we protect residential neighborhoods from becoming commercialized? I'm wondering how others in town feel about this issue. Speaking of ordinances, I am also wondering if there is an ordinance which governs how many unregistered vehicles one can store in a residential neighborhood. Thanks."--Norm Wortzman

(Building Inspector David Tonis responds: "There are no regulations on PODS. For people moving and renovating their homes, they work out well. When the PODS are full, a truck comes and takes it away. It's a growing business, with no regulations. I don't have a person issue with them, but anyone can draft a warrant article to town meeting that puts restrictions on them.")


 

Dear Mark,
 

On August 2nd, the ZBA will hear continuing public testimony as to why the Stonegate 40b proposal should be denied. The residents and abutters opposing this project are represented by the Stoughton Neighborhood Coalition. I am a member of this coalition. Our mission statement is two-pronged:  “We are dedicated to preserving the historic and environmental integrity of Stoughton’s open spaces, wetlands, and conservation areas. Furthermore, we are dedicated to maximizing the residents’ direct influence on, and participation in, the planning and growth of their own community.” This ill-conceived 40b proposal should be denied.

 

In Massachusetts, the 40b law is currently under intense scrutiny. Lack of oversight,

and auditing of this law by state agencies have resulted in recent investigations by the State Inspector General. These have shown grossly inflated acquisition costs, hidden and cascading profits, and blatant corruption of “smart growth” principles in 40b projects. Investigation of one Sharon developer uncovered a 7.5 million dollar “mistake” in acquisition costs. Throughout Massachusetts there is a strong and rapidly growing movement to reform 40b. Suggested reforms include inclusionary zoning, whereby affordable units would be required of every project greater than 8-12 units, and requiring that all affordable units, in all projects, will remain affordable in perpetuity.

 

In the past 40 years, the only reforms to 40b (a law created with good intentions to provide housing for returning veterans) have been created by and for developers. 40B has been tailored to their needs, and the law has been corrupted by them and their political allies. The losers in this process have been our towns, our residents, and those in need of truly affordable housing. Under 40b, only those earning 70-80% of a town’s median income qualify for an affordable unit. Those earning less than that 70% income can never afford these units, and are left out of the loop. Those most in need of low income/ affordable housing are left with housing they can’t afford. This subsidy is welfare for the developers, at the cost of those truly in need. Just today, there has begun a statewide effort to put the repeal of 40b on the November ballot.

 

In Sept. 2005, residents of the West / Plain Street area were shocked to learn that the Stoughton Board of Selectmen had unanimously approved a “conceptual proposal” for a 140 unit 40b condominium development that would run from West Street, behind Plain Street to Farrington Pond . This would abut valuable town-owned conservation land, and the properties of numerous residents. Most disturbing of all, the BOS made their unanimous decision of approval without ever receiving full packets of information about the project. In addition, no resident or abutter had ever been notified of the proposed development or of the BOS hearing to decide upon it. The resultant outrage, and protests from the residents of Stoughton, caused the BOS, at a later meeting to reconsider their earlier decision and rescind it. This time the decision was not unanimous. In a 4–1 decision to rescind, Dick Levine was the lone vote against rescission.

 

In May, 2006, the BOS took yet another vote on the Stonegate 40b LIP application. The new proposal merely addressed sight concerns by some residents, and reduced the number of units from 140 to 120 units. This time, the vote was 3-2 in favor of the proposal. Levine, Sousa, and Pascarelli voted in the developers’ favor, Kowalczyk and Carrara voted against. The most quoted reason for endorsing the concept was that “it could be much worse”, a myth since dispelled by SNC at ZBA, on grounds of economic viability, property costs, and a misleading assessment of the land value, based on an unstamped, unregistered 14 lot plan. This has all been backed up by the town’s own pro-forma review; a report showing millions in inflated costs, at the expense of the town. The truth is this site yields 6 “buildable” lots, all surrounded by wetland, town conservation land, FEMA flood hazard zones (there IS a reason they call this a flood hazard zone), and the Neponset River Watershed.  Is it any wonder why local residents are concerned with flooded basements? You don’t need to be an expert to realize that 5, 10, and 20 year weather events are happening in greater succession these days.

 

Stoughton is not a “snob” town, and SNC is not a one issue group. Over the last two years, we have teamed with the statewide Coalition To Reform 40B, joined with other residents in fighting the Woodbridge 40B project, and opposing the Brickstone proposal on Bay Road in Sharon, supported the drive to enact CPA, attended and supported the Housing Plan Committee and the Open Space Committee, assisted with the housing count & inventory, helped create land trusts, and have many members serving as Town Meeting Reps., and on many various boards, both past and present.  Our group is active in most town issues.

 

ZBA meetings on the Stonegate 40b have now been ongoing since January, and what was once presented as purely conceptual before BOS, is now seeing the light of day in detail, with the numerous impacts and concerns being highlighted by the SNC. At a recent hearing it was announced that five vernal pools and endangered species have been discovered and certified on abutting town property, both vital resources to the town. Despite pledges of co-operation, the developer has refused to allow SNC and their wetland and environmental engineers onto the property. So much for their “co-operation”. Despite the vote of our ZBA, and the request of DHCD, no independent environmental assessment has been done to date.

 

A recent Boston Globe article entitled “Future Shock” had a regional planning agency calling for sweeping changes in residential development patterns (especially in southeastern Massachusetts), warning that if trends continue, we will be facing dire environmental health consequences, including water shortages, even more loss of open space, and traffic congestion.

 

A key provision of the 40B law is that once a town has officially recorded an affordable housing inventory with the state that exceeds 10%, it can turn down any 40B proposals that it chooses. Recently, Stoughton’s affordable housing count was officially announced to be 11.67%. This is great news for the town. Stoughton can now refuse to consider any 40B project on its own merits. Developments (such as the Stonegate 40b) that will: strain local services; endanger wetlands, threaten susceptible town wells, wildlife, and  endanger species; destroy open space; create health, safety, and traffic hazards;  and simply destroy the quality of life that a town has a right to enjoy, can now be denied. Proper attention by the town, its boards, and its informed residents, will insure that future growth in the town of Stoughton will continue to keep us out of the clutches of 40B.

 

 It’s time to call for a moratorium on all 40Bs.

 

The Stoughton ZBA should deny the Stonegate 40B proposal for the following reasons:

 

 

     1.   The town is at 11.67% affordable housing rate.  Reviewing DHCD’s current housing inventory of 351 towns in the Commonwealth reveals that 94% or 339 other towns have not met the 11.67% that Stoughton has reached. Only 22 towns in all of Massachusetts exceed Stoughton’s affordable inventory percentage.

 

 

 

2.       The Stonegate 40b proposal is not Smart Growth and does not conform to our certified Housing Plan. It is over two miles from the Stoughton train station, and downtown area, and uses precious open space (once this space is gone, it can never be recovered). It does not redevelop already used space. Both are critical requirements for Smart Growth and our certified Housing Plan.  To quote the Woods Hole Research Center study:                                                                                                                            “As developers pursue the remaining open spaces, Southeastern Mass. is rapidly becoming a region challenged by competing priorities for land. Adding residential and commercial properties is often seen as evidence that towns are thriving. In reality, development carries significant impacts to communities as conservation opportunities are overlooked, and wildlife retreats into more finely dissected habitats. Study after study illustrates that residential developments cost municipalities more in required services, including schools, police, and roads, than they raise in additional revenue. Air and water pollution increase as more homes, vehicles, and businesses move into the area. More land is paved, and all the problems associated with sprawl increase.”

 

3.      The town is saturated with over 229 homes for sale, and condos lying vacant. The Stonegate 40b is simply not needed, not good business for the town. At a recent ZBA hearing, another developer was seeking to change his approved condo application to apartments. Why? There is no market for condos!

 

4.      The Stonegate 40b is being proposed on environmentally sensitive land, in an area that will adversely affect residents, and threaten six of the seven town wells.

 

5.      MANY specific questions remain, that have not been answered by the 40b developers, who are asking for more than 50 waivers of local zoning laws. Don’t we deserve answers?  Doesn't the town?

 

Much lip service has been spent by the developers talking about their so-called “co-operation” with the town, and its residents. The truth is, all the meetings called for by the developers did NOT answer the numerous questions asked. Just saying so does not make it true. At the last ZBA hearing, they again said they had answered all concerns, and while residents who had waited long to be heard, could not speak, they arrogantly called for the hearing to be closed.   But MANY questions remain.

 

40B by definition is not “co-operative”. Stonegate needs the crutch of 40b to skirt our town’s local by-laws. Considering the town’s position with the state’s “affordable housing” requirements, we are now able to unite as a community, and tell developers that if you want to build in Stoughton, then build by the town’s own hard-fought-for rules and regulations. This is the vision we should all defend.

 

STOUGHTON SHOULD STAND UP FOR ITS BYLAWS, AND REJECT THE STONEGATE 40b!

 

 

 

   Richard Lynch

   510 Plain Street

 

 

 



Dear Mark Snyder:


Like you in the Stoughton Journal (www.townonline.com/stoughton/opinion/x1942703173), I wrote today in the Lexington Minuteman about NStar and its terrible record for poor reliability and high rates.

The only solution to make NStar more responsive to the needs of the communities it serves -- like Stoughton or Lexington -- is, we believe, to create competition for NStar by allowing the formation of new municipal electric utilities (or "munis", as already exist in Braintree, Taunton, Norwood, Mansfield or Concord).

Bill H3319, now pending on Beacon Hill, would accomplish this. Bill H3319 is endorsed by 53 legislators, the MMA and over 100 cities and towns, but it faces the fierce opposition of NStar, with its entrenched lobbying capabilities.

Take a look at www.massmunichoice.org to find out more, or give me a call.
Best regards,

Patrick Mehr
Lexington Electric Utility Committee
day: 781-372-1055
evening: 781-372-1057
mobile: 781-367-2229

 

Dear Mark, I wanted to let you know, I appreciate all your time and effort in keeping us informed on the Police Trial.   I look forward to reading your web-site everyday.  I think you've got me hooked, I expect to be checking out the web-site even when the trial is over. GREAT JOB, THANKS!!!!!---Michelle Perdigao

"Mark, Has King George III returned to the Colonies?  On Friday evening, June 29, 2007, I stopped at Walgreens in Stoughton, and noticed that after a four or five year absence, the Stoughton Journal is once again on the newsstand at this Walgreens.    When I realized the young clerk wanted to charge the Mass. Sales Tax of 3 cents on the newspaper, I told her that "We haven't paid a tax on newspapers in Massachusetts since 1773. There is NO Sales TAX on any newspaper." She stated that the scanner is programmed to charge the sales tax. As I returned the paper to the rack, I responded: "We went to
war on taxing newspapers (the 1765 Tax Stamp Act).     It wasn't the 3 cents, it was the principle. This is not the first time Walgreens has charged me a sales tax on a newspaper, but I hope it that it is the last time they try it.  I don't know whether they tax the Boston Globe. But it wasn't too many years ago that Gov. Dukakis attempted to collect a 5% tax on newsprint and the liberal Globe changed its tune very quickly, when they tallied this as a daily bill of thousands of dollars.  Is this a problem with all the Walgreens or just the Stoughton store? To whom do you make this complaint?  I suggest that the CNC group investigate this matter.     (P.S. I made a special trip to a convenience store to get my copy of the Journal, and paid only 75 cents. I probably spent 6 cents for gas going out of their parking lot."--From the Birthplace of American Liberty, Howard Hansen (Town Historian and Moderator)
  
Carol Hively, Walgreens Corporate Spokeswoman replies, "We apologize that a clerk asked Mr. Hansen to pay tax on a newspaper. And we apologize for the inconvenience caused him when he went to another store to buy a newspaper tax free.  The confusion arose when the UPC code on the newspaper changed. We weren’t made aware of it at first and apparently the clerk became confused when the newspaper wouldn’t scan. She hard-keyed the price and tax was added automatically.  The new UPC code is loaded into our system now and no one is being charged tax for newspapers at Walgreens. If other customers were overcharged, we apologize and invite them to stop by the Stoughton store and the manager will gladly refund the tax overcharge. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to reply." 

 

 

"Might I suggest that it is time to remind the fair people of Stoughton (and anywhere else that might read your column) that if they hang up signs or posters for their Yard Sale, Carnival, or other event, that it is ALSO their responsibility to take down said 'eyesores' after their event is over, or the town and its various utility poles, etc., will begin to/continue to look like a 'dump'."---M.F.


 

"Mark: I read in the Ledger and Enterprise about the on going trial of Sgt. Cohen and Officer Letendre. I have attended about five days of the trial. By the papers description, I think I must be at another trial. The prosecution is left at the doorstep with EVERY witness they present. The defense has made each witness the perfect witness for their side. Each witness has been left with their hat in hand as they leave the witness stand. Each witness has been left with a cloud over their heads and the jury can see it. Every witness has been less than credible. Each prosecution witness testimony has been sliced apart like a fine surgeon in the operating room. The best thing Mr Jabour and his merrymen can do is hope for a miracle. If I hear from Jabour talk about how many times Sgt. Cohen has lunch, I think I will throw up. At the end of Tuesday's testimony I was full from hearing about lunch and who Sgt Cohen had lunch with. This thing has been a travesty from the beginning and thats exactly how the trial has played out. The Norfolk District Attorneys office should be ashamed of itself."--Tony Bickerton   

 

Dear Mr. Snyder,
 Hello my name is Josh Kotlik, I am a member of the Stoughton High School Band and I am also a member of Boy Scout troop 516 based in Stoughton.  I am currently in the process of achieving my Eagle Rank. My project consists of building a set of benches with planters and putting them at the Lessa Memorial Playground on West Street. I am going to be hosting a bottle and can drive at my house, 552 School Street, in Stoughton on July 21 from 9 am to 2 pm.  I was just wondering if you could possibly mention this on your show or in your section of the Stoughton Jornal. It would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time."--Josh Kotlik

"Hi Mark,  I was stunned and offended by last week's very long letter to the editor from the two consultants who had previously been hired by the school committee upon the superintendent's recommendation. These professionals were hired to assist the superintendent in gathering information and providing insight to help her resolve administrative issues brought up by the union when the vote of no confidence in the principal had occurred last fall. Their role was to assist in conflict resolution. The letter to the editor was done without the school committee's knowledge, does not reflect the committee's beliefs, and I strongly believe was a harmful unprofessional action which caused further divisiveness. We shall address the issues raised and caused by the letter as a committee."--Tom Colburn, Chair, Stoughton School Committee

THE SOFTBALL GAME: FIRE vs. POLICE

"Mark, first I would like to start off by saying thank you for coming to the game and giving it publicity.  We had a great night while raising money for our  towns youth.  I feel very fortunate, speaking as a resident and an employee of the town, that we have such a fine group of men and women that make up our public safety team in Stoughton.  Some towns do not have friendly relationships between police and fire that we have here and that is why I truly feel that it is a team.   I would also like to thank everyone who came out to watch the game.  It is a true reflection of the people in Stoughton that is not necessarily reflected in other media outlets.

 
Going between the lines now, the police department won the game by a score of 26-9.  The games MVP was none other than Tony Bickerton.  Tony pitched 7 strong innings while going 2-4 at the plate.  Our player coach Paul Williams swung a big stick by going 5-5 while hitting for the cycle.  He also ate up every fly ball hit to left.  John Bonney was also 5-5 with a home run.  The play of the game went to Lino Azul with a Johnny Damon like diving catch that shook the ground.  Tommy Covino hit a home run in the first inning and went 4-5 on the night.  Roger Hardy and Shawn Faria went 4-5 as well, with Faria making a great catch on a hot line drive to third.  Acting Chief Chris Ciampa went 3-5 including a triple in which he was struck in the head with the throw into third.  Like a true hockey player Ciampa stayed in the game and battled on.  There were many other contributions to the game as well. Between the hockey game and the softball game we have been able to raise over three thousand dollars.  We are all very proud of that and we are looking forward to our next match up on the gridiron.  Thanks again Mark."--Officer John Bonney, Stoughton Police Dept.

Mark, What ever happened to the nice brick path ways near the post office and in the center of town?  They provided a very clear walk way for those crossing the street and now after someone paid to put them in someone else paid to take them out.  Please check this out.  I do hope we as taxpayers are not paying twice for the same project."--George D.

(Larry Barrett, DPW Superintendent, responds: "Mark,  The crosswalk in front of the Post Office was not brick. It was colored concrete with fiberglass and a brick imprint was made in it.     This was done as a free demonstration to see if it would hold up to the traffic and snow plowing operations which it did. It was only 1.5 inches thick and not real brick.    We experimented with real brick and asphalt imprints which were in front of the Town Hall steps. These were not acceptable and the cement ones were by far the best.    Please be advised that we did not pay for these but accepted the demos before we made our decision an which one to use for Stoughton Center.    We are now putting this type of crosswalk out to bid and all crosswalks in the Center will be the colored cement brick ones which were in front of the Post Office. This will be paid for by the State grant presently doing the Stoughton Square Renovations.")                                                                     

 

"Hey Mark,  I would like to thank you for attending Peter Pan on Saturday night. It was a pleasure to have you and I hope you enjoyed your night out to the theatre. Theatre is something that has definately faded and the ITC is trying to bring back, in my opinion, the most enjoyable form of entertainment. People have forgotten about live performances. Televisons and computers have enabled, both children and adults to lose their imagination. The review was more than flattering and it means so much to me, with it being my first review. Again, I hope you enjoyed yourself, and it would be my honor to have you at all of our future productions."--Take care, Matt Marini

"Mark,  Just thought I'd drop you a quick note of thanks before I go.  I am most grateful for your reporting of Stoughton High School news since I've been principal.  While I know we're not perfect, there are so many good things happening here it is hard to keep up with them because of the daily duties this job demands.  We are very fortunate to have incredible community support for our activities, both academic and extra-curricular, and a large group of parents who help us in many ways.  The faculty at SHS is very dedicated and I am lucky to have been a teacher and administrator here for thirty-four years.  I have spent almost my entire adult life working in Stoughton and I feel like it's my home town.
Thanks for your support.-- Phil Iacobacci (Retiring Principal of Stoughton High School.)      
        

"Mark: I agree we need a Town planner and a way to pay for that office.   Did you know that Randolph has a town planner and the salary is partially or fully paid for by the Community Preservation Act (CPA).   Yes, this would be a slight increase in the property tax for the CPA ( $26.00 a year on $300,000 home) but it would also assist in paying for the repair of the Town hall that has some leaks, open space if it becomes available, parks and recreation.  The residents of Stoughton are paying into the CPA fund now (Deed transfers, sales, new home loans) without any benefit from it.   In the future, the CPA will pay Stoughton back, maybe not at 100% but between 65% to 100%.  This is better then a 401K that private industry has.  This
coming April 2008, it will be on the ballot for the residents to chose, if Stoughton collects $400,000 the State will match partially between 65% to 100%.   What could the town do with an additional $400,000 to offset expenses that would normally be a budget item like the $270,000 for a roof on the Clapp Historical building. There are 119 towns or 33% of the towns in the state benefit from it now, and Stoughton is contributing to these towns today!"-- Al Lipkind

"Dear Mark:   In response to your editorial in the Stoughton Journal of June 14, 2007 relative to security deposits in municipal construction, there is no need for that because as part of municipal bidding, both a performance and a payment bond is required of the general contractor. The performance bond insures that the project is completed as designed and protects the town. The payment bond is designed to protect material suppliers and subcontractors from often ruthless and unscrupulous general contractors who seek to extract favors and extra work from subcontractors (who frequently are undercapitalized in comparison to the general contractor and may lack information relative to their legal rights and protections) by delaying their payment (or in some cases failing to pay at all).

Prior to becoming an attorney I sold building materials on large municipal projects (i.e. schools, police and fire stations). Many times, the only reason I would become involved in a particular project was because of the guaranties of the payment bond for my employer. The notion of building any municipal project without a "clerk of the works" is absurd and the town fathers should be ashamed of themselves for this gross negligence. We all pay far too much in property taxes in Stoughton. Of most importance however, the safety and health of our fire fighters and police officers should never be compromised because of this glaring oversight leading to defective and faulty construction in relatively new buildings. "--- Michael L. Georges


 

"Mark: The Steering Committee for Party All Night Long would like to thank all the volunteers who helped make this year's party a HUGE success!   Many people give their time, both in the planning and the implementation of this major annual event.    Some are quite visible:  we are out getting donations from local businesses and merchants; we are working with the school administrators and staff during the months leading up to graduation; we are handing out tickets, and attending fundraisers which bring much needed financial support for the party.    But, there are some people who work behind the scenes . . . these are some of the most creative and dedicated volunteers . . . they spend many hours creating the wonderful decorations that are used to transform the O'Donnell Middle School into a themed party central for our seniors!    We would like to extend a very special thank you to Ellie Morris, Debbie MacNamara, Pam Connors, Joanne Gallant, Anne Hoffman, Deborah Sovinee; and a HUGE thank you to Dave Prudden, OMS math teacher extraordinaire . . . who is in charge of putting up our magnificent "ceiling" each year!    Thank you for the time you give and for the energy you bring to this event . . . it could NEVER happen without you all!"-- Cindy Pazyra

on behalf of PANL Steering Committee ( Joni and Chuck Bloom, Cindy Pazyra, Rich and Patti Snyder, Mark Peucker, Charlene Laferriere, Joyce Husseini, Trish Martin, Paul Concannon, Jim Collins, Sue Lane, and Anna Sousa .)

 

"HI MARK, IT WAS SUCH A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE FOR ALL OF THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS TO COME TOGETHER TONIGHT (6/11/07) AND PERFORM BEAUTIFULLY FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.  A POSITIVE GATHERING WAS JUST WHAT MANY OF US NEEDED.  THE MUSIC TEACHERS DESERVE A HUGE SHOUT OUT FOR ALL OF THEIR HARD WORK.  GREAT JOB BY THE CHILDREN."-BETH AND SCOTT RAWL

 

"As I’m sure you know, a lot of people, myself included, felt that from a conservation perspective Brickstone was the lesser of the evils. The other options could and probably would involve development of the entire parcel, with nothing going to conservation. Remember that the land had already been approved for 250 units of 40B housing. I live just off Bay Road and I’m not happy with any of the proposals, but housing and all it would do to the environment and Sharon’s already overstressed infrastructure (read schools) was the last thing most anyone wanted. Yes I’m not thrilled with the impact of 6, eight story buildings, but it is less offensive to many than the impact of hundreds of two story buildings.
"---John Carley, The Rendon Group


"Hi There:  I would like to say what a great graduation ceremony we had tonight to celebrate and congratulate our students’ success.  Now they are off to the All Night Party, which is a fabulous activity provided by many volunteers.  I have had the pleasure of volunteering in the past and will do so in the future when I do not have a graduating senior. May I just say that I was very dismayed and actually disgusted, as were many sitting around me, by the loud and obnoxious yells, chants, screams, shouts for some of the graduates.  Why do people think the louder they are, the more attention is received by the graduating student?  Actually, the graduating student should be embarrassed by the classless display of their relatives.  It is disturbing and distracting.  The audience is unable to concentrate or hear other names being called or the scholarships they may have received.  Tacky, no class behavior should be prevented and discouraged at future graduations. Also, BALLOONS…. They are distracting and block the view of other parents and relatives of other graduates.  They should be prohibited.  Balloons belong on the mailbox at home, not at the graduation ceremony.  Very rude and selfish behavior by the same people as mentioned above.  I work as a nurse in a critical care unit. Many times, a  family member who says: “I want my loved one to be comfortable” exhibits more love than the loved one who says: “I want everything done” – the same holds true at a ceremony….Less Is More. Maybe in future years, other audience members might think about this before they screech, yell, holler, and otherwise disrupt an otherwise solemn, yet joyful ceremony.  A little class please for the Graduating Class."--Linda C. Barton


 

Regarding The Stonegate Site Walk:

"Hi Mark,  In retrospect, it was rather strange that we took all that time to walk home via the street, rather than see more of the property (which would also have been a shorter route back.)  If we had continued on the path away from Plain Street,
we would have soon come to the Gilbert Quarries, AND been able to specifically ask where the last building would be sited, exactly.  We were also steered away from the wetlands, didn't stop to discuss the crossing, nor the row of the three BIG buildings, which will be the ones to border the conservation land directly next to that trail, but Jim "didn't want to argue," so that made some potential
questions SEEM out of place, although it probably shouldn't have.  Any theories on why we came back via THE STREET?  The bottom line probably remains the wetlands isues and the jarring effect of putting 120 housing units, with three very large buildings as part of the package into such idyllic surroundings and a neighborhood of modest single family homes, farmhouses, farm and conservation land.  Without the 40B, necessity, it hardly seems like the proper or appropriate use for such land."-- Dwight MacKerron       (Mark responds: My best guess as to why we came back on the street was that the skies let loose and it was POURING. I don't know about you, but I wanted to get back into my car and not run around soaking in the woods! Maybe it's just me. But, I would like to tour the rest of the property, too.)


 

"Mark: I want you to know that you have done a great job with your website.I Finally feel that I really know what is happening in stoughton on a current basis.Thanks."--Jim M.


 

"Dear Mr. Snyder, On behalf of Stoughton Friends For Seniors, I want to thank you for advertising our Seniors Dinner Dance on your Web Page. The Stoughton Friends For Seniors are a non-profit organization under the auspices of the Stoughton Clergy Association and are not affiliated with any town agency.  During the year we hold many events to benefit our elderly population, whether they live at home or are confined to a nursing facility.  We rely on our members and volunteers to make our events possible.  Our Seniors Dinner Dance was just one of our many events. Our Seniors Dinner Dance was held Saturday, May 19th.  Father Joseph McDermott was so kind to allow us the use of Immaculate Conception Church Hall for our event.  Dinner was cooked by everyone's favorite chef, Mike Sammarco and his great kitchen staff, Charley Dreist, Charlie Dreist Jr., Dennis Gada, Don Interranate, Bobby Jordan, Nancy Patterson and Dan Skiba.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Courtney Leavitt and Ms. Kim Kellogg twenty of Stoughton High School's finest students helped make our event a success. The night before our event the students met us at the church hall.  They helped brake down the existing table set-ups and reconfigured the hall for dinner.  They set all the tables and made individual fresh flower centerpieces for each senior to take home.  The next day, they greeted all the seniors with smiles and provided them with soft drinks until dinner was ready to be served.  When dinner was ready the students served dinner to over two hundred seniors in less than fourteen minutes.  They also entertained everyone with their dancing.  When the Dinner Dance was over they helped brake down the tables and cleaned the hall. These students are a credit to their parents, their school and themselves.  They gave up their Friday night and Saturday afternoon to help "make the day" for some of the senior citizens or our town. 

 

Everyone commented on how helpful and kind all the students were. They are to be commended for their hard work and for truly knowing the meaning of giving back to the community”We are also grateful to Mr. Gary Lewis, Manager, Honey Dew Donuts for his donation of donuts and ice and Mr. William Condon for his donation of Italian cookies.  To the many people who donated both money and their time to support our Senior Dinner Dance, thank you, we could not have done this without your support. Again, we want to thank everyone who partnered with us to make this event possible. We are so very grateful for everyone's help."--Sincerely, Lorraine J. McCarthy, Corresponding Secretary, Stoughton Friends For Seniors

 

 

"Mark, Now that the Dr Tanner situation has seemed to have been resolved I would like to reflect back upon what has transpired since the vote of no confidence in November 2006.    I worked one year for Dr. Tanner with no problem. As a matter of fact I worked for 9 different principals in my career in the Stoughton Public Schools. Mrs. Hansen, Dr Quigley and Mr. Marcus at the Chemung/Hansen Schools; Dr Fisher and Mr. Patota at the South School; Mrs. Levitz at the West School and Mr. Griffin, Mr. LePage and Dr Tanner at my home base the Gibbons School.    I found each of these principals had their own way of running a building. It was my job to work to their expectations, not their job to work to my expectations. I feel that I had a very workable relationship with each principal I worked with because of this attitude I took.    When I retired last June I had planned to return to the school as a visitor, during the school year when I came to visit my family. I never expected to be involved in a tumultuous battle that has arisen. On one visit back to the school, after the vote, one staff member told me that Dr Tanner had to go. I asked why and was told she had to go. Then I asked this staff member how they got along with Dr Tanner. This member told me that he/she was having a good year with Dr Tanner, everything was fine between them. I left the room and continued to visit other classrooms before driving north.    On the ride home, what this staff member said to me really bothered me..."everything is fine, I'm having a good year with her...she's got to go". Something did not seem right with that statement. Unfortunately for me I decided to become somewhat involved with the problem.    I have to admit that I did this from afar (250 miles away). Each week I tried to keep informed by following the local newspapers and talking to staff from the Gibbons and other schools as well as Dr Tanner, Ms McCarthy, 3 School Committee members (tried to reach the others) and several parents.    Because I taught at the Gibbons for 35 years I know who the volatile personalities are and I tried to avoid those staff members. They would provide ONLY a slanted view of the situation. I was able to have several very good discussions with people representing both sides of the issue and valid points were addressed by both sides.    I have a real problem with the role of the Teachers Association in this matter, though. First, let me explain I was the Teachers Association Representative to the School Committee for approximately the last 6 years of my teaching career. I did this because I lived 5 houses from the high school and there was a stipend I could earn by performing this duty (I hated paying union dues). Several times, when budgets were being cut, I wrote to the Executive Board of the Association to support the School Committee and what they were trying to do for the children of the town. I received no responses from the association in regards to my requests. I got the feeling they could have cared less.    Each time I read something that was printed about the Gibbons School situation, Mr. Gilardi was being defiant in regards to trying to amicably solve the problem. He told staff members NOT to cooperate, set time frame limits, etc. In my opinion, it seems like that there was only one goal set by the Teachers Association...Dr Tanner's removal at all costs. To date, I do not know of any specifics in this matter There may have been some, but, I didn't see them). All I have heard are generalities. None of the accusers has had the intestinal fortitude to publically come forward with specific complaints. One spokesperson has done all the accusing. To me this is hearsay, and probably would not hold up in a court of law. By the time the spokesperson tells of the issue, the story may have changed 3-4 or more times, thus, leading to a less credible version of the story.    People are going about stating that Dr Tanner is the problem in the school. This is not totally true. There have been factions within the building for years. I had my problems with staff members on programs I was running and what they wanted. Classroom teachers constantly tried to rearrange schedules so that they could have their "Prep" periods and attend special programs, getting out of the classroom as much as possible. This would make it almost impossible for "Special" subject teachers to take part in some of these programs. Many of these classroom teachers would switch with other teachers without asking the Specialist involved first. To me, this showed a lack of professionalism on the part of these staff members. Running Field Days was a real joy for me, as I had to try to work around "their" schedules. Not the best or most appropriate for the students, but, for them. I was tired of this, and, when I was asked how I wanted my name on the retirement party invitation I told them I didn't want my name on the invitation as I might not be going. Well, several staff members took offense to this and I received some harsh comments from them. I finally had to make up a story (there were two months of school left) to appease them. The truth of the matter is I didn't want to be around many of them on MY time. So, I didn't even go to my own retirement party because of them.    The Stoughton Teachers Association is affiliated with The Massachusetts Teachers Association and The National Education Association. They go under the pretense of being educational organizations. Make no bones about it, they are nothing but POLITICAL organizations with POLITICAL AGENDAS. The Gibbons School matter is nothing more than a POLITICAL AGENDA on the part of the teachers association. In my opinion, I feel I know what the real agenda is. It is not what the staff leads you to believe. This is nothing more than a power play on the part of the association and a vocal minority in the building. There are fearful people in the building. They fear for repercussions if they don't go along with this vocal minority.    Now for the actual consequences that are probably going to occur as a result of what has taken place in the last several days. The staff is divided and wounds are very deep. The actual healing process is going to take many years. It may never take place with the current staff on board. Many good, young teachers in the building are probably looking for other jobs outside the system, while they are still affordable to other communities. What qualified teacher/administrator would ever apply to teach in this system? Its not going to happen for a long time. I've heard talk coming from other buildings that have recently hired the principal, if they don't like them, they'll have the union do the same for them.    Ms McCarthy has been blamed for what has taken place. I don't think that this is totally true. She may have made some mistakes, but, in my discussions with her she has tried to the utmost to resolve the problem in a way where all would be somewhat satisfied.    What I find absolutely hysterical is, you parents, entrust to the teachers the ability to solve children's problems in an appropriate manner (conflict resolution), yet, these same people you entrust would not even sit down and try to reach a solution. They just went for the kill. Boy, are you ever gullible!!!      Lastly, your School Committee let you down. You have voted for them to represent you. By relenting to the association in this matter, they have now given control of the school system to the union in many matters. Just as a far flung example, in 1972, the first baseball strike was held. The owners gave in to all the demands of the players association. To date, they have never been given control back by the players. You want to go to a ball game, it costs you a week's salary. It will never get better. The teachers association, I'm sure, now feels empowered. What is this going to cost you in your pockets? I'll tell you...they don't care one bit about you, your kids or the school. Again, this is a POLITICAL ORGANIZATION with a POLITICAL AGENDA. It's about them and what they can achieve for themselves. You've been duped.    Unfortunately, they may have hurt the career of a person who truly loves children, cares about children and is in the field to help children. Its about time the silent majority become less apathetic, go out and crusade to bring Dr Tanner back to her rightful position, where she belongs.    Of all I have said, I know one statement that will be 100% true. I will not be a welcome visitor to the Gibbons School in the future for stating my beliefs on this matter.    These are my opinions on this situation, and hopefully, the last I will say on this matter."-  Peter Everett


 

A THANK YOU: "Hi Mark, Sheryl and I would like to thank the many residents of Stoughton, our friends, town officials and Ahavath Torah Congregation members, for the outpouring of sympathy we received when our six week old grandson, Cole Benjamin Knox suddenly passed away.  There is not much else we can say. We are so thankful. We have received hundreds of cards, and it brings comfort to know so many people care. We have set up a fund in his name at Curry College. (Call Chris Lawson at 617-333-0500 for information.) We have also set up a fund for SIDS at Children's Hospital, where research on it is being done."--  Jerry & Sheryl Savage, Karen & Tom Knox


Regarding Enterprise Editorial: " Mark, I would rather give neither support nor opposition to the Enterprise editorial you have on your site. As is the case with Dick Murphy, there is no credibility in the information they try to spread. There are many many more important things in life to spend time on then these two media venues. I suggest to all who read this to simply not give them your time. Your time is precious and can be spent MUCH more wisely." -- Bob Barbell

"I did not interpret this as "bashing".  It's fact. The tax payers of Stoughton are paying for these guys
to be put on permanent vacation.  Stoughton police in my opinion, have always been a strong arm police
force.  They have had a history of issues with certain officers.  It's refreshing to see someone call it like
it is.  nonsense.. Fire these guy's and revoke their pensions.  I am not on the grand jury, but I have to
believe the accusations are true.  It's hard to give the benefit of the doubt to a troubled organization."--Jeisun@yahoo.com 

Regarding Article 63 at Town Meeting ---"Mark, The only people who spoke against the article were the opponents to Stonegate. They cited at the public hearing that they support downtown development, but not in their neighborhood. That was their exact quote. I can provide you with names, etc. They are the reason Stoughton looks like it does. Approving apartments all over town to meet 10% is simply destroying Stoughton. What is a person who wants a new townhouse and wants to live in Stoughton going to buy? The answer is easy in any other town. Where is someone who wants to rent and use the services of Stoughton and be a transient resident going to live? In any of the 1,000's of apartments being built. What are they going to look like in 5 years? What happens to Stoughton's affordable number in 2010, only 2 1/2 years away? Smart communities with town planners are using 2010 as a threshold to meet, not looking back 8 years. Stoughton needs leadership to understand these critical issues that are facing the town. We have done the work, the projection in 2010 shows Stoughton almost 1,000 housing units short! This disaster in downtown has us choosing to develop in another community. We had commitments from South Shore Co-op for 3 million dollars to remove the bar and the brown house, another 3 million for the removal of the 3 houses next to the town hall, in addition to the 4 million at the current Residences at Stoughton Junction. The bank hired a outside consultant to review the proforma for 19 Rose Street and found only 2 affordable make the development have 7% profit. That cannot be financed! The banks will not approve a development with less than 20% profit. Under the current bylaw, you would need not 2 but 3 affordable resulting in a negative development profit. This is why every other community is 10 %. John Marini is building 16 condo's in Canton Center right now. Town requirement for affordable? 0.  Who loses the new tax revenue, building permits, residents?? Multi-family is an allowed use in Stoughton Center, but this overlay will not provide anything to Stoughton. It is useless under it's current form. The developments cannot be built due to their is no monies to fund the projects-- due to no profit. Status quo for the future of Stoughton Center. It is too bad they can not see the potential with the train station right in the center and so much to offer. Take one real good look at the center, from Porter Street right up 138 and look at the buildings. What a disgrace! "---James Marathis, MSC Development, LLC


I have lived in Stoughton for 32 years and am a graduate of Stoughton Schools.  What I have seen happen at the Gibbons School in regard to removing Dr. Tanner as principal is disgusting.  I am very familiar with the Gibbons School and I think that Dr Tanner did a fine job as principal.  I blame the teachers and the parents of the Gibbons for trying to ruin her career.
It is a Principal's job to keep the school running smoothly.  It is not their job to be nice.  The teachers need to realize that she was their boss and as such, they needed to treat her as such and follow her instructions.  The teachers that have come into
the schools in the past few years are a different breed from what they were in the past.  Children are being aloud to get away with murder and society is suffering because of it.  The teachers are acting like the children and if they don't get their own way they cause an uproar.  They need to grow up.  When I think back to my education I can honestly say that I learned
to most from those who were strictest.  Anybody that ever had Anne Erickson as a teacher I'm sure remembers
her as one of harshest and yes, meanest, but didn't you also learn more from her then any other teacher
you had.  When I has in Junior High, Mrs. Levitz was the vice Principal, and every kid in the school was scared of her, but she always did what was best for the school and it was a much better run school then than it is now.  Teaching isn't only about reading, writing and arithmetic, it is also about molding children into responsible human beings.  I live in the Gibbon's school district and my children are due to start there in a couple of years.  I know one thing, and that is that I don't want them there.  I will do my best to send them to the West School where I know they will be under the care of Mrs. Levitz and not
left to be taught by so called adults that are acting like children.  I am discussed by what the Gibbons has become,  It was a whole different school in the days of Mr Griffin, Mr Gay, Mr Everett and Mrs Navarus.  I wish we could bring them back."--Heather McGinley


 

"Dear Mark:  As you are aware the Stoughton Firefighters have been writing editorials and placing advertisements to publicize the manning deficiencies.  The numbers speak for themselves and we have nothing to hide and our willing to explain and discuss the facts with anyone.  The call volume at Stoughton Fire grows every year but the manning has not kept pace.  More and more residential and commercial development continues to enter Stoughton with no increase in the number of Firefighter-Paramedics.  Support 11 men!!!  This is the number of Firefighters that should be on duty at all times as an absolute minimum.  The MMA study of Stoughton Fire in 1996 following the death of FF Victor Melendy said there should be no fewer than 14 Firefighters on duty at all times.  The current minimum manning is 9 men which was established in 1976.  We have gotten a little busier since then.  In conclusion there are some that feel this a ploy for overtime.  I assure you it is not.  Man the Stoughton Fire Department properly and you would have no overtime budget.  Thank you."---Firefighter J. Rush

 

"Hi Mark, Next time you're talking to the selectmen can you ask them if there are any plans for a sidewalk on Pleasant St (Rt.139) from Pine St. to Glenn Echo? I think it is the only stretch of 139 that doesn't have a sidewalk. I see joggers and pedestrians at all hours and the cars ar