Home
   Photos 
News & Views
TV Guests  
Links
 

TOWN NEWS | SCHOOL NEWS | EVENTS AND CHARITY | SPORTS NEWS | JOURNAL ARTICLE

Have News? Email Snydersstoughton@aol.com

WATCH MARK ON YOU TUBE



Read YOUR LETTERS here
ALL CONTENTS (c) 2014by PMPNetwork/Snyder's Stoughton

SNYDER'S STOUGHTON IS A MEMBER OF

Online News Association
-----------------------------------------------------

SNYDER'S STOUGHTON IS A MEMBER OF


Investigative Reporters & Editors
-----------------------------------------------------

SnydersStoughton.com Success:
OVER 20 MILLION HITS in 2013
(details)


GET A TOUR & CHECK IT OUT!
Mention this ad and get a day pass for free

Join Old Colony Y--Stoughton Striar Branch

We've LOWERED Our Prices!

Call Ellen Greene at 781-341-2016 for details!

 

 

ADVERTISE FOR ONLY
$250 Per Month! Call 781-341-8332
The Most Effective Ad In Stoughton
reaches ALL the Movers & Shakers in Town

ALL CONTENTS ON THIS SITE (c) 2011 by PMPNetwork, Inc.

 

 

STOUGHTON HIGH GRAD HAS DESIGNS ON SUCCESS

 

 

Amanda Stephanie Koker, a 2008 graduate of Stoughton High School, is on her way to success in the field of fashion. She taught herself how to sew at a young age, telling Snyder's Stoughton, "I always knew I'd be in the business of fashion one day, whether it was on my own or working for someone else. There was a method to my madness. I knew that I needed to know the business inside and out if I were to be serious about it. So, that is why I got my degree in fashion design and fashion merchandising and marketing" (from Mt. Ida College in 2012).

She was offered a full time job within weeks of graduating college, telling me, "It was the perfect place to hone my business skills. I try to be like a sponge wherever I go, learning from everyone I can. But, as much as I loved my job, I realized my creative spark would never truly be fulfilled unless I ventured out on my own--starting my own fashion company and brand. So I did."

Her company, ASK Fashion (made from her initials), is looking to be a leader in the plus-size fashion community. For those who remember the drab fashions at places like Lane Bryant, and the lack of fun, exciting clothing for those that aren't a size 0, Amanda's efforts are much appreciated. "My brand is about being a rock star," she tells me, "It's a sense of being confident in who you are, what you believe in, and being strong and bold. We make no apologies. We are here. This is who we are. Take it or leave it. My mother once told me 'you don't get what you don't ask for,' and that is our motto to our customers. All they need to do is ASK."

I asked Amanda where she developed her sense of design, and she had a great answer: "Some people remember songs. Others can remember names or food. My memories have always been tied to clothing. How I felt, how it made me feel, how I felt about those around me, how they felt about themselves. They are all apparent by the way they choose to dress. It's not so much about the dress, but the woman wearing the dress. If the woman in my dress feels like a rock star, that's what everyone is going to see."

Koker adds, "Design has always been in my nature. Whenever I could pick up something and turn it into a design utensil, I did. Permanent markers on the roof of my mother's car. Crayons on coloring paper. Gel pens on my arms. I have always felt the need to express myself through artistic means."

Koker took art classes at Stoughton High, and even went to an art sleep away camp in Maine, called Med-O-Lark, where she first learned to use a sewing machine. She got her first sewing machine at 13, a gift from her grandmother. Prior to that, she used to hand sew items in Girl Scouts. She also made pottery, paintings, and just created.

The SHS grad, who is a Size 20, said that her standard-sized counterparts have a much easier time in the fashion world. But, she says, "Things are changing. The scales are equalizing. Plus sizes are no longer black tents hidden in the corner of a department store. There are more options. Companies are now hopping on the bandwagon of plus sizes. But, this should have happened years ago. The average American woman is a Size 14. That is considered a plus size for most companies."

And, this is where Koker's ASK Fashion comes in. She smiles and says, "Every customer deserves to feel and look beautiful. We are here to offer just that--with a little attitude, of course! I design for women who are exactly like me. More and more designers should be thinking with the plus-size woman in mind--not just her Size 0 model counterpart."

Koker, unlike those who own sweat-shops to make their clothes overseas, has morals: "We stand firm on domestic manufacturing. We see the horrors of underpaid workers, with terrible living and working conditions. We want to continue to create and sustain American jobs, and pay livable wages. We believe in keeping a close eye on our supply chain. We want to be fashionable--but in the right and moral way."

On her site, the Stoughton woman writes, "We believe every body is beautiful. You are not a work in progress. You are perfect as you are. Rock those curves! Be proud, stand tall, and fight for what you believe in! Don't be afraid to ASK for what you want, and deserve."

Amanda is trying to raise a minimum of $7500 in a Kickstarter campaign, which runs through December 15. This would help fund her Spring and Fall 2015 campaigns. To visit her page, and donate (and get something back in return) go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/askfashion90/ask-fashion-spring-and-fall-collections-2015?ref=category_location

Stoughton should be very proud of this young lady! See if you can help her out, and take some swag home in return.

 

 

 

 


 

STOUGHTON MAN HOSTS HGTV SHOW


 "Tiny House Builders", a show hosted by Stoughton's own Dereck "Deek" Diedricksen,. debuts on HGTV Sunday, December 14th- 1pm. Its a full-out building and design show with a great team of friends gettin' things done- my brother Dustin Diedricksen,Jim Shipacabra Shippey, "Creature" (aka Mista Creecha), Melissa Teper (former WBCN co-host), Jon Lyman (aka "Johnny Milwaukee"), and NH's Phil Laplante. We're off grid, killing ourselves, and building a tiny house from the ground up in only 4 days. Deek is internationally known for the cool little houses he builds. He has a popular You Tube Channel and has written a book on the subject. He was a guest on the defunct Snyder's Stoughton TV Show.

Deek tells Snyder's Stoughton, "They're airing two episodes for now, and then going to see how people respond. . We got official word from the Scripps network and my production company (Gurney Productions- the one's who created Duck Dynasty and others)."

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

PRICERITE COMING TO STOUGHTON

 

Letter from Winstanley


 

Norfolk DA Morrissey Working with
Stoughton to Keep Students Safe

Preventing targeted violence, responding to dangerous behaviors, safely re-integrating students following mental or behavioral health treatment, visitor threat assessment and securing large spaces during crisis were all explored by local and national experts at Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s “Assessing and Responding to School Threats” training conference last week.

More than 200 teachers, administrators, school nurses and police officers from across the county attended the all-day seminar held in the auditorium at the Bank of Canton’s headquarters on Nov. 20th. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi was joined by SHS Principal Juliette Miller, Hansen Principal Faye Polillio and adjustment counselor Jacqueline Harrison, Nurse Suzanne Barrett, guidance director Barbara Regan, counselor Katherine Pearl, Andrew Davey from the O’Donnell Middle School, South Elementary Principal Maureen Mulvey, and Gibbons Principal Lynne Jardin.

“There is significant research and work being done on the best ways to keep schools safe, both here and across the county,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “We are fortunate to have been able to bring some impressive experts to Norfolk County to share that information with nurses, teachers and superintendents, patrol officers and police chiefs. There was something here for every level of these organizations.”

Three members of the Secret Service addressed research-based strategies for preventing targeted violence in grades Kindergarten through 12: Boston Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Stephen Marks, the National Threat Assessment Center Chief, Dr. Michelle Keeney and NTAC Research Psychologist Lina Alathari. United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz joined DA Morrissey and ASAC Marks opening the program.

Director of School Health Services for the state Dept. of Public Health Mary Ann Gapinski presented for an hour on the growing phenomenon of needing to craft safe and successful school re-integrations for students who have been removed for their behavior, undergone treatment or been absented for other cause.

State Police Sgt. John Suyemoto, from the MSP Special Tactical Operations (STOP) team talked about both visitor threat assessment and techniques for securing large spaces in the event of a disturbance. Attorney Matthew W. MacAvoy from the firm of Nuttall & MacAvoy, P.C., addressed responding to student threats and dangerous behaviors within the state laws and regulations.

DA Morrissey partnered with the Mass Teachers Association to provide continuing education credits to teachers.

“When there is a traumatic event at a school anywhere, the media is saturated with the details and the story,” DA Morrissey said. “But every day, there is thoughtful work done in school houses and police stations to prevent major events, but also to stop more modest problems before they grow. I commend Stoughton’s demonstrated dedication to this work.”

My old friend Steve Costello and the Bank of Canton sponsored this event.

 

 

 

 


 

CAR HITS BANK

 

Brockton Driver Hits Stoughton Bank--With His Car---It started with a call to the Stoughton Fire Department for an "erratic operator." Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine tells Snyder's Stoughton, "Officers found the vehicle around Route 138 and Walnut Street. The officer tried to make the stop and the guy ran. There was short chase up Route 138 north. He tried to make a right onto Lincoln Street at a high rate of speed and lost control and hit Rockland Trust Savings Bank." No one was seriously injured due to the chase, Devine said.

Arrested was Kevin Thompson, 19, of Brockton, charged with eight charges, including operating with a revoked license, 3 failing to stop for stop sign, speeding, operating a motor vehicle negligently to endanger, failure to stop for a police officer, assault & battery with a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle).

The last charge came when Thompson jacked on his brakes in an attempt to have officers crash into the rear of his car. He did that several times during the chase.

 
"He's lucky he didn't kill himself or anybody else," Sgt. Jay Owens told me, adding, "Great job by Officer Healey and Sgt. Murphy who very literally put themselves in harms way to protect our town today."

Photos Courtesy of Stoughton Police and Stoughton Fire Department-Eric Hoffman/Facebook

 

(Posted on November 23, 2014 @ 5:40 p.m.)

 

 


 


 

 

 

Manslaughter conviction for

Striking, killing pregnant woman

 

               A Norfolk Superior Court jury has found a 47-year-old Sharon woman guilty of motor vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated for striking and killing a pregnant woman on a Stoughton Street in July of 2013, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey.

               “The jury came back at about 11 a.m. today, finding Karen Blau guilty of the manslaughter charge and of reckless endangerment of a child,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “Sentencing will be held 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 21. She faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years.” The maximum penalty is 20 years in state prison.

               “Joanne White was just walking on the sidewalk along Lincoln Street with her 11-year-old son when Karen Blau’s car came barreling up on the sidewalk. One of her last acts was calling out to her son to run to safety. He was not injured, but she did not survive,” Morrissey said. “We offer our sincere condolences to Ms. White’s family.”

               The District Attorney praised the investigation by Stoughton and Massachusetts State Police, assisted by members of his motor vehicle homicide unit. “Motor vehicle manslaughter convictions are more complicated to secure than applying the motor vehicle homicide statute. We depend on our police partners to put strong cases together. Assistant District Attorneys Adam Lally and Matthew Friedel did good work presenting the evidence to this jury,” Morrissey said.

              

 

 


 

FIRE DEPARTMENT SUPPORTS OUR TROOPS

The Stoughton Firefighters/Harry Landman Committee are collecting names of Stoughton residents who are members of the armed forces and away from home this Christmas.  We will send a Christmas Care package ton them on behalf of all Stoughton residents thanking them for their service and sacrifice.  Please submit names in writing by December 1, 2014 to either FF Jim Rush or FF Jim Brackett at Station one, 30 Freeman Street.  The service person does not have to be overseas to receive a package, just away from home. 

 


 

 

PRICERITE COMING TO STOUGHTON

 

Letter from Winstanley


STOUGHTON ELECTION RESULTS
November 4, 2014

HERE


 

 

 

 

 

SNYDER'S STOUGHTON EXCLUSIVE---STOUGHTON POLICE & STATE POLICE BUST TWO DRUG DEALERS

The Stoughton Police assisted the State Police with a search warrant at 97 Pratt's Court this morning. The State Police Gang unit, directed by Trooper Foley, entered the home with the Stoughton Police and raided the house. They arrested two people, and confiscated two guns in the home. One was stolen out of CT. They also found 11 grams of heroin, enough for trafficking charges. Also in the home was over $4000 in cash. State Police are at the Stoughton Police Station right now, helping with the paperwork. Both suspects were arrested and are in the Stoughton Police lockup, and will soon go into Stoughton District Court.

Arrested were Isaiah Teixiera, 29, of 97 Pratt's Court, who was charged with two counts of possession of a large capacity firearm, possession with intent to distribute class a drugs, receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm in commission of felony, possession of ammunition, and possession of drugs within a school zone.

Arrested on the Same charges Patrick Brandao, 1/14/92 from 87R Tribou St. in Brockton, who also had four outstanding warrants for his arrest.

The arrest, according to Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany, was the result of a narcotics investigation with State Police and Stoughton Police. "It was the result of our cooperation with the State Police," he told me

Shastany said, "The detective bureau, led by Det-Sgt. Welch and the detectives, have been working diligently to rid our community of these dealers. I'm very proud of our efforts and our partnerships."

(C)2014 by PMPNetwork, Inc.

(Brandao, left, and Teixiera, right. Courtesy of Stoughton Police Department)


 

 

Stoughton Attorney Charged With Child Porn

A Stoughton attorney, whose specialty is navigating the medical marijuana laws, is in serious trouble with the law. Richard Commenzo pled not guilty yesterday to charges of child pornography, according to David Traub, spokesman for Norfolk County District Attorney, Mike Morrissey
 
Comenzo was arraigned before Judge Stephen S. Ostrach in Stoughton District Court and was represented by Attorney Josh Weinberg in securing a $2000 bail.  He pled not guilty to a single count of possession of child pornography and one count of dissemination of child pornography.
 
He was released on bail, on the conditions that he wear a GPS monitor, have NO internet access (including via phone, tablet or computer), have no contact with children under 18, and check in weekly with a probation officer.
 
The case resumes on November 25, with a probable cause hearing.

 

STOUGHTON SCHOOLS ACHIEVE
"ELITE" LEVEL ON MCAS!

(STORY)

STATEMENT FROM SUPT RIZZI

 


 

TWO TEENS ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING & ROBBING
TONY OF STOUGHTON NURSERY

 

Two Teens violently held up the Stoughton Nursery on Tuesday, September 16th. The 70 year old owner, Tony Mariano, was repeatedly hit in the head and face with a stapler and other items taken off his desk. About $1500 was taken in the robbery, according to Stoughton Police. Police arrested a 16 year old punk from Stoughton on Wednesday, charging him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, armed assault to rob a person over 60, assault and battery of a person over 60, armed robbery and conspiracy, according to Deputy Chief Robert Devine. Mariano was being nice to the kids, as he was ready to close and opened his door because the kids said they needed something.

Stoughton Police arrested a second teen on Thursday night in the brutal robbery. Devine told Snyder's Stoughton a 14-year old Brockton youth was arrested and was charged with the same as the sixteen year-old.

Kudos to the police department for quickly solving this crime. And, wishes for a quick recovery to Mariano, a legendary figure around Stoughton, and a very nice guy.

 

 


 

THANKS CAPTAIN JASMIN

 

 

 

 


 

STOUGHTON TEMPLE VANDALIZED

Free Speech is met with cow manure at Stoughton's Ahavath Torah Congregation. Former Congressman, Colonel Allen West reports, "My dear friend, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, informed me that his synagogue in Stoughton, Mass, (Ahavath Torfah Congregation) the venue for the Israel Security Summit – which I will be moderating -- has been defaced with cow manure."

Rabbi Hausman said, “In this era of increasing anti-Semitism and burgeoning anti-Israel rhetoric combined with action, we at ATC are not taking this lightly and are moving in the direction recommended by the Stoughton Police Department. The Israel Security Summit will take place”

Adds West, "This is reflective of the Left's version -- and that of their Islamist allies -- of tolerance. The only free speech embraced by progressive socialists and cultural jihadists is that which they accept and approve. This is despicable but one can expect this abhorrent behavior from the enemies of Liberty. The show -- and the fight -- goes on chuckleheads!"

Want to attend? More info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/359101827587758/

For more information, call ATC at 781-344-8733

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

FOUR ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT & ROBBERY

Yesterday, August 24, 2014, Stoughton Police received witness calls that a white male was being beaten in the middle of Porter St by four or more black males. The alleged assailants then fled into an address on Porter St. Lt. McGowan attempted to talk to one of the suspects through an open window to end the conflict peaceably, but the suspect refused to come out or let officers in. In a sudden movement, the suspec...t began to run and retreat back into the residence,prompting officers to deploy a taser through the window and make entry. The victim was located and it was found that he had been robbed of his Nike Air Jordan sneakers and his cell phone. Both were recovered in the house and several other suspects were identified: Joshua Berry-Henry 19, of 511 N Main St Randolph was arrested and charged with Unarmed Robbery, Conspiracy and Resisting Arrest. Shaquille Evens 19, of 22 Raechel Rd Randolph was arrested and charged with Unarmed Robbery, Conspiracy and Resisting Arrest. Tayvon Harper, 20, of 106 Porter St Stoughton was arrested and charged with Unarmed Robbery, Conspiracy, Knowingly Misleading Police and Resisting Arrest. Gregory Robinson, 18, of 106 Porter St Stoughton was arrested and charged with Unarmed Robbery, Conspiracy, and Resisting Arrest. Deputy Chief Robert Devine recognized the good work of Lt. McGowan, Sgt. Holmes, Officer Curtis, Officer Gagne, Officer Faria, Officer Desousa, Officer Barber and Detective Hartford in resolving the situation so quickly.

(Posted August 25, 2014 @ 11 p.m.)

Info from SPD Facebook Page


Joshua     Shaquille

 

 

 

 


 

 

STOUGHTON'S MIKE VIOLA ON THE TONIGHT SHOW

Stoughton's own Mike Viola was featured on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on August 13th. The singer and songwriter, who became in national star in Tom Hank's "That Thing You Do", can be seen playing guitar and singing on the right side of the stage, with Ryan Adams & The Shinings on their performance of "Gimme Something Good." Tip of the hat to his SHS classmate, Bob Barbell, for pointing it out to Snyder's Stoughton! Bob says the Class of 1985 is very proud of Mike.

According to Wikipedia, Michael "Mike" Viola (born September 26, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter best known as singer, songwriter and "musical architect" of a team he called the "Candy Butchers", a pop-rock band from New York City that recorded three critically-acclaimed albums for Sony.

The success of the Candy Butchers led to multiple appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Last Call with Carson Daly. It also found the group touring alongside the likes of Ron Sexsmith, They Might Be Giants, Robyn Hitchcock, Semisonic, Sparklehorse, Barenaked Ladies, and Ivy.

Viola simultaneously began a career in film work as the co-producer and lead singer of the Oscar-nominated title track from Tom Hanks's That Thing You Do! and. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a film collaboration between Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow that starred John C. Reilly as Dewey Cox, featuring nearly a dozen songs written by Viola.

Viola joined the ranks of independent-record-label artists in 2005 when he released an album of new songs on his own label, Good Morning Monkey Records. Recorded live at Largo in L.A., Just Before Dark showcased Viola's abilities as a live performer. Once made available on his official website, the album, released as a long-playing vinyl album with a CD copy included, sold out in three months.

His album, Lurch, employed classic pop elements, and incorporated storybook imagery, such as Viola’s fans had come to expect by this time in his career. Lurch was also released internationally, with such selections as “Maybe, Maybe Not” (the first selection on the album) and “So Much Better” (the first single Viola released from the album) receiving radio airplay in Denmark. "So Much Better" was a Danish chart selection.

After signing a contract with EMI Music Publishing for worldwide distribution of his own material, Viola remained a songwriter and/or producer on a multitude of projects. His work could be heard on Amanda Leigh, the most recent of Mandy Moore's albums in September 2009. In addition to being Moore's musical director, Viola has collaborated with Dan Wilson, Inara George, Tim Christensen, Dan Bern, Steve McEwan, Kelly Jones, Ryan Adams, Drake Bell, Bleu, Adam Schlesinger, John C. Reilly, Mary Wood, Sam Bisbee, The Gentlemen, John Wesley Harding, Ben Romans, and Noam Weinstein during this period.

In 2010, he joined the 9th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians' careers.  He has taken part in a compilation album released on November 15, 2011 by Engine Room Recordings. On the album Mike covers Round and Round by Ratt.

In 2012 Viola recorded a version of Andrew Gold's "Lonely Boy" for a fund raising cd titled "Super Hits Of The Seventies" for radio station WFMU. He also recorded a cover of The Silver Beatles' version of "Ain't She Sweet" for the pilot of TV show Bunheads.

 

WATCH THE TONIGHT SHOW CLIP

WATCH CONCERT CLIP FROM 2013 IN OHIO

(Photo by Mark Snyder)


 

Breaking News: AMAZON COMING TO STOUGHTON!

 

The rumors have been flying around for awhile about a large company coming to Stoughton. But, the information will officially be released tonight, so here’s the great news…..

Amazon.com will be opening a giant warehouse and distribution center in Technology Park in Stoughton, in the location where the Reebok distribution center and outlet store was located. Because of a number of state (Mass Office of Business Development) and local tax breaks (one of which, a TIF--needs to be ratified at an upcoming town meeting), the national company will be investing three million dollars in improvements on the site, and bringing in 17 million dollars in personal property!

Selectman Chairman TJ Recupero credits Town Manager Michael Hartman for helping to bring Amazon to Stoughton. “He really did a great job on this. He’s been working for months to iron out all the kinks.”

Amazon’s Vice President, Mike Grella, said the Seattle-based company expects to open their refurbished facility on November 3, 2014. They can potentially employ 125 full timers (with jobs paying an average $45,000 with benefits), and additional hundreds of part time and seasonal help, according to their application to the State’s “Economic Assistance Coordinating Council” of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. Adds Recupero, “One of the provisions of the TIF is a requirement that there be employment outreach specifically for Stoughton residents.” It should also be noted, Amazon provides comprehensive health benefits to permanent employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Capitol investment in the facility will total over 20 million dollars (including 3 million in real estate improvements and 17 million in machinery and equipment.)

Planning Board Chairman Joe Scardino told Snyder’s Stoughton, “I’m always happy to see new business coming into town—especially with the kind of cachet that Amazon brings. It increases the ‘chic factor’, along with Ikea and L.A. Fitness.”

Hartman worked out a very reasonable TIF for the Town of Stoughton. In an August 11 letter to Director of Assessing Joseph Gibbons, he says “there is no exemption for real estate. The applicant only proposes a ten year exemption scale (when maximum is 20); maximum exemption allowed is 100%, and the applicant is asking for much less. The year with the largest exemption (2015) has already passed. The town will benefit from real estate growth in FY 2016 or 2017. Personal Property growth will not be lost, only deferred.”

Amazon plans to lease 328,104 square feet for a package handling facility in Stoughton. They anticipate it being operational in Q4 of 2014.

Scardino said, “A lot of things are beginning to coalesce for Stoughton. I just wish the two downtown articles had passed at Town Meeting. (They’d have lowered the requirements for parking from 1.5 to 1.0 per apartment, and also eliminated the requirement that 20% of units be “affordable.”) It would have made the downtown more attractive to developers. Town Meeting members didn’t really understand. They responded to fear and hysteria.”

Adds Scardino, “ Stoughton is a cheap date up and down the spectrum. We’re over the 10% affordable requirement until 2020. We’re really an excellent value and I can see why we are attracting these kind of businesses.”

The location of such a prominent national company should have a ripple effect on the community, bringing in high paid employees, who may look for higher-priced homes in the town. Coupled with the redevelopment downtown of the Parsons building and the train station, along with a rejuvenated Shaw’s Plaza (which will feature an enlarged liquor store, and a discount supermarket), things are looking up for the Town of Stoughton. Add to that the potential re-opening of the State Theatre downtown, a potential mixed-use project at Monk and Washington Street, and the conversion of the long-empty Solomon Schechter School to much-needed senior housing, and it’s looking great!

(C) 2014 by PMPNetwork.com This may not be reprinted or quoted without the expressed written consent of PMPNetwork, Inc. Posted on 8/12/14 @ 6 p.m.

WATCH THE AMAZON.COM MEETING ON SMAC


Hung Jury Declared in 2010 Stoughton murder

 

               Norfolk Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Brassard has declared a mis-trial in the trial of John M. Rooney for the Feb. 27, 2010 murder of Georgios Kontsas.

Mr. Kontsas was 78 when he was stabbed to death in his home on Mara Circle in Stoughton. He had come to the defense of his wife, who was being assaulted by a man who had forced his way into the home, and gave his life to save hers. She testified at trial.

               “We have already asked for a new trial date,” District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said after the jury was released. “We are prepared to move forward as soon as possible.”

               Rooney, age 50, remains held without bail.

The jury heard six weeks of testimony and deliberated for seven days but was not able to come to a unanimous verdict. They were released from service at approximately noon, Friday, July 3, 2014.

 

=

 

 

 

 


 

TEACHERS CONTRACTS SIGNED SEALED & DELIVERED!

The Stoughton School Committee and the Stoughton Teachers Association are pleased to announce that the School Committee voted to ratify the teachers' contract 4-2 at a special school committee meeting held on Thursday, June 26th. Dr. Carol Brown joined Dr. Erdem Ural, Joaquin Soares and Katy Pina-Enokian to ratify the same contract that had been deadlocked at 3-3 at the last vote on May 27. The joint announcement came after the suit was officially dropped on July 1st.

"Stoughton teachers have always wanted to settle a reasonable contract and focus exclusively on our students. Throughout the 15-month protracted contract negotiations, we always put our students first," said Andrea Pires, South School Elementary teacher and STA President. 

"I am honored to represent dedicated colleagues who devote their professional lives to Stoughton students. The bond between teachers, students and parents is strong. We cannot overstate how meaningful the outpouring of parent support has been during these negotiations. I applaud the Stoughton teachers, Erdam Ural, Joe Soares, Katy Pina-Enokian and Dr. Carol Brown for voting to ratify this settlement and move our schools forward," said Pires.

As part of the deal, the STA agreed to withdraw the pending lawsuit that was filed in Superior Court over the Town and School Committee's unlawful withholding of step increases.

"From the beginning, we have said that we would not proceed with the lawsuit and would forego more than $1 million in penalties and fines against the Town if we could come to terms on a fair contract. The vote on May 27 to reject the tentative agreement with the new school committee team that was negotiated with the assistance of a private mediator caused the lawsuit to be filed, but we will honor our initial offer and withdraw the pending lawsuit,” added John Gunning, O'Donnell Middle School teacher and incoming STA President.

School Committee Chair Dr. Ural said, “I am happy that the 15-month ordeal is finally over. This contract is a great deal for Stoughton. I am looking forward to a productive relationship between the School Committee and its employees.”

School Committee negotiation team member Joaquin Soares added, "I want to thank the teachers for being very level headed and very profession during the 15 months of negotiations. I know the teachers love their students and their jobs and would never compromise the children no matter what the reason. It is now time to make Stoughton schools better than they ever were.”

"It's a modest and reasonable settlement," noted Melanie Ingrao, High School teacher and STA Negotiation Chair. "The terms are in line or are less than the last three settlements negotiated with former school committee teams dating back to 2004. We're pleased to move forward and return in September with the negotiations resolved.”

Posted on July 1, 2014 @ 5 p.m.

 

 

 

 


 

 

SPECIAL ED FUNDRAISER GETS ZERO SUPPORT

Joe Fernandes (a/k/a Joe Kidd) and Tommy DeAndrade were both Stoughton raised and educated, and wanted to give back to the community. Both, also faced ridicule from their peers because they were “different.” So, they decided to raise funds for the Special Education Department of the Stoughton Public Schools. Fernandes gave “his heart and soul” into making sure every detail was worked out perfectly. He got together an amazing array of talent, and rented the auditorium of Stoughton High School for June 21 st, with the blessing of the Stoughton School Committee, who waved the rental fee, and charged him only the custodian fees.

He solidified the entertainment lineup, which featured TV/Movie/Radio star comedian Steve Sweeney, fresh off his new movies with John Travolta and Danzel Washington. He got one of the top singers in the country, Portuguese singing sensation Michelle Romeiro. DeAndrade’s band, Rock Steady, reminded me of how much I loved the music of Bad Company. And, Kidd himself, took to the stage and performed two amazing tunes from his upcoming CD, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” and the infectious, “I Love The Night.”

There was a raffle for Red Sox tickets and gift certificates to The Chateau and Town Spa. The 70 or so people who sat and watched the show were loud and appreciative. As the emcee, I could feel the energy from the crowd, and it was the energy of a crowd ten times

The amount of people who sat there.

So, why was there NO ONE from the schools? No one from the administration attended. No teachers, from special education, or any other subject, attended. No member of the school committee attended. In short, Joe & Tommy banged their heads against a proverbial wall.

Kidd wrote, “Both Tommy & I grew up in Stoughton, and we love our hometown. Growing up with a disability is not an easy thing for anyone. We both had to deal with the bullying, name calling, and getting pushed around through childhood. Sometimes kids can be cruel. We had to stand up for ourselves and accept the fact we were a little different than most kids. Once you do that, things get better and easier. You learn that giving up is not an option. Tommy and I both survived a tough road earlier in our lives, and we now walk with our heads held high. We are both proud men who have earned every bit of respect and integrity we have today. We want to thank all of you that came out Saturday night. It’s people like you that make the ground a little softer in case we should ever fall.”

Joe told Snyder’s Stoughton that Sweeney was kind enough to cut his $2000 charge in half, after seeing the size of the crowd. Romeiro and Rock Steady worked for no charge. Ed McGee Audio got paid for sound and lights.

If you want to catch the show, you’ll be lucky enough to be able to do that via video. SMAC recorded the festivities and will be replaying it on cable, and their internet on demand.

Meanwhile, the kids from the special education department, for whom Joe and Tommy worked so hard, didn’t get to enjoy the show. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the Special Ed Department promoted this show to the parents?

Kidd gave a sealed envelope with 50 tickets to be sold (at $20 each) to Stoughton High principal Juliet Miller. He also sent her emails, reminding her of the night, and updating her. When he went to get the envelope on Friday, it was still sealed! Miller opened it up, removed two tickets, and put in 40 dollars. That was the total donated by any school-related parties. Miller told me, “ A couple tickets were sold from the high school office. However, I'm not certain the community knew they could buy tickets at the high school office.”

What a shame to let an opportunity go by. If just a couple of hundred people came, a substantial donation could have been made.

Kidd wondered aloud if the teacher’s contract situation had anything to do with the fact that not one single teacher showed up. I sent messages to Stoughton Teachers Association president Andrea Pires, but never heard back. Personally, I don’t think the situation was related.

Former Selectman, and State Theatre guru John Stagnone and his wife attended. He wrote, “I was very surprised at the turnout. We got there early thinking the show would be sold out. My wife and I enjoyed the night and hit LaStoria’s before the show. Steve Sweeney was fun, as usual, and the band was great---lots of energy.”

Ederm Ural, Chairman of the School Committee, said that the Superintendent should have sent reminders to the Committee. He said he would “look into it.” New School Committee member Katie Pina-Enokian said, “I had the girl’s birthday/end of school party, and it didn’t get finished until later. I had promised to stop by the Portuguese club after that. I wanted to go to that too, but it slipped my mind. I wish I got a reminder. Not blaming anyone but myself.” School committee member Joe Soares said something similar: “Usually, we get a reminder of these types of events. I’d have gone if I realized it was Saturday night.”

When asked about the fact that not one school administrator, teacher or official attended, Committee member Joyce Husseini said that what I was writing was “ a witch hunt - whether or not that was your intention.  I am sick of topics worded in a way to incite hate rather than to promote discussion.  It has become a hate filled society and I cannot participate in that without sinking to the level of those spewing the hate.  I owe no one an explanation of my whereabouts as long as I am doing my job.  There is always more than one side to a story.” She added that she was at a birthday party for her 16 year old son. So, by asking questions about this total lack of support, this is now “hate speech.” Don’t you love it?

There are really no excuses. If you approve an event to benefit your school system, you should be there, or at least be represented. Superintendent Rizzi or Assistant Superintendent Ford should have been there. Principal Miller should have been there. The special education administrator Heather Tucker and her staff should have been there. School Committee members should have been there. It would have helped if even just a representative from each showed up.

Superintendent Rizzi said she had no idea why no one attended, adding, “I didn’t check in on anyone’s weekend plans.”

A major donor to the Stoughton School System wrote me and said that “SSEPAC, the special education parent’s advisory council, really dropped the ball. They are at every school committee meeting, including the one that approved the event. They are constantly looking for more money. Being self reliant is a foreign language to those people. They will get nothing more from me than a matching donation to what they help raise at next year’s fundraiser (if there is one.)”

George Kelleher-Bianchi, a Special Education teacher at O’Donnell Middle School, told Snyder’s Stoughton, “I never received an email about this event or any other invitation to attend. Maybe there were advertisements at the high school, but I was unaware that the event happened.”

Resident Marilyn Rabinovitz wondered if it got enough promotion. She wrote Snyder’s Stoughton, “I live near the High School and didn't know this event was happening until I drove by around 8:30 pm Saturday night and noticed a rather small number of cars in the Adam Street parking lot. Had I known I (along with some friends) probably would have gone. Great cause or not ~ Steve Sweeney is well worth the ticket price!”

A wonderful individual in our community, who wished to remain anonymous, gave Kidd a check for $1000 to help reimburse him for his losses. Another reason why Stoughton is such a wonderful place!

Well, we give kudos to Kidd and DeAndrade for their efforts. We hope they won’t give up and will try again next year. After all, the special education students deserve an event of their own. Let’s just hope that next time the Superintendent and the School Committee approve a fundraiser in one of their schools, they note down the date and time and promote it within their district. And, I’ll also accept part of the blame. I didn’t reference the event in last week’s column. I probably should have.

(photo of Steve Sweeney and Mark Snyder by John Stagnone)

Email from SC Chairman Dr. Erdem Ural, from June 26, 2014:

"I brought this matter up during the 6/24 school committee meeting as a non-agenda item, and apologized on behalf of the School Department. I
also asked the superintendent what we need do to prevent someting like this from happening again.

The superintendent is in the view that this was not a school sponsored event, and school department had no responsibility to promote it. Her
secretaries are very busy, and do not have time to send reminders for non-school sponsored events in school facilities.

In my opinion, this event was a fundraiser for the school department and should have been treated as a school sponsored event. It is a shame we
all dropped the ball on this. I will make sure it is on the agenda for next regular meeting."


KICK IT 4 JAKE!

Well, last Saturday was the Second Annual Kick It 4 Jake memorial soccer tournament, organized by Frankie Faria, to raise money for scholarships that honor, and keep alive the name, spirit and smile of Stoughton’s Jake Hoffman. This year’s tournament was an amazing success. Faria said that 220 players actually took part in the games. Everyone had an amazing time and shared their love of Jake.

To the continuing sorrow of his family, friends, and everyone who ever met him, Jake was tragically killed in an off-campus apartment fire in Amherst on January 21, 2013 at the age of 21.  This soccer tourney, along with a golf tournament organized by his UMass friends, are ongoing.

Faria wanted to give a special thanks to all the sponsors, who helped to raise over $11,000. They include: Jakes Wayback Burgers , Regional Home Care, SignaRama, Stoughton House of Brews, Kelly/Novak Trust, Central Auto Team, Sons of Italy, Apex Autobody, Beantown Diner, Vargas and Vargas Insurance, Cromwell Consulting, Kidsports, Town Spa Pizza, TrueSecurity.us, artsmartprogram.com,  Metro South Gymnastics Academy,  Carriage Lane Insurance, Stoughton Pumping, DBM, Piesco Sporting Goods, and Smitty Homemade Ice Cream. Faria also thanked Daddy’s Dairy, Stoughton Youth Soccer League, and the Hoffman, Morrissey, Vargas and Ramos families.

Anne Hoffman, Jake’s mom, told Snyder’s Stoughton, “It was pretty incredible. Year two was even bigger than year one. Twenty one teams up from sixteen last year, and 220 players! I think Frank Faria outdid himself! We added a caricaturist (Fun Enterprises) & photo booth (Kidsports) this year for entertainment. Daddy's Dairy provided slush, a DJ played music, and we had lots of raffles. Michelle Audain, SHS class of 2007, sang the National Anthem to kick off the games. Her voice is amazing! The majority of players knew Jake or knew someone that knew Jake. We even had a UMASS Amherst team made up of Jake's former classmates! And a 39 & over team, as well. It was so much fun, more like a reunion than anything. All I can say is how lucky we are to have so much love & support around us. Jake had a great circle of friends, so kind, caring & selfless. We are happy to have them as part of our lives.”

It is so reassuring to know that Jake’s spirit—and that amazing smile—will live on through his friends and the many scholarships that bear his name. Kudos to Frankie Faria, who created this event, and has made it flourish. We’ll let you know about the next event for Jake in this space, as well.

Photos by Justin Whittaker

 

Middle Photo: Kara Donahue, Tony Colafrancesco, Dave Seronick, Daniel Snyder, Fabio Colafrancesco, Jay Cormier, and Chelsea Staney. 
Bottom Photo: Kevin "Gus" Russell, Rodney Julien, Kyle Anderson, Peter Desir, Anthony Ferzoco, Dave Hoffman, Dan Snyder, Spencer Dennis, Matthew Prisco, and Rodney's cousin Joe.


 

ANNUAL KIDS DAY EVENT

 

“Wet, Wild, and Wonderful” Saturday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO THE FAMILIES OF STOUGHTON RESIDENTS ONLY and takes place at the Stoughton High School Field, entrance via the cafeteria side.  Bring Towels and bathing she birthday of our nation by having water slides, obstacle courses, moonwalks, games, prizes, entertainment, a magician, and more fun for all ages. There will be bicycle and doll carriage decorating contests from 10 a.m. to noon, judges are the Stoughton Women’s Club. Winners receive trophies and are invited to participate in the Parade on Saturday! Plenty of food will be available for purchase.  Don’t forget to bring your towels; the school restroom will be open for changing. 


 

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO

On a Monday in June, Andrew Conti-Moriarty had just returned from baseball and noticed smoke coming from his neighbor, Jack Houriganís back porch.  Andrew alerted his mother and they both sprang into action. Mom got the garden hose fixed on the fire and Andrew quickly dialed 911.

Mr. Hourigan called the school and wanted Andrew recognized for his efforts. Mr. Hourigan is quoted as saying, “I would have lost everything but for Andrew."

On June 18, 2014, Andrew was indeed honored at OMS for his heroic efforts and was awarded a certificate that read “For the concern and welfare of the safety of others.” The award was given over a live broadcast to the school. In attendance was Andrew's mom, Lauren Conti, Principal Matt Colantonio, Guidance Counselor Sheila Coughlan and from the Stoughton Fire Department, Lt.  James Campbell.  

Pictured (left to right): Lauren Conti, Lt. James Campbell, Matthew Colantonio, , Andrew Conti, Sheila Coughlan.
Photo credit: Kathleen Wasik

 


 

TEACHERS COMPLETE CAGS !

Congratulations to members of the Stoughton Public Schools community who completed their Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) this year. Their accomplishment will be a benefit for their students and their SPS colleagues for years to come.

Five of the teachers completed a CAGS in Reading. They are: Leah Amaru, Literacy project: Using iPads to Rapidly Develop Kindergarten Students Early Reading; Jenny Callaghan, Literacy project: Circles on Comprehension of 5th Grade Students; Joe Monty, Literacy project: Use of Readers' Theater and Its Effect on Comprehension and Fluency in 4th Grade Students; Eileen Sprague, Literacy Project: The Effects of Reading Response Logs on 5th Graders to Improve Reading Comprehension; and Heather Sullivan, Literacy Project: The Effects of Using Sound and Letter Boxes on Struggling Kindergarten Students' Decoding and Encoding CVC Words.

Two High School staff completed a CAGS in Educational Leadership: Derek Small, An Examination of Drug and Alcohol Use Among High School Students; and Daniel Fitzgerald, Examining Early Intervention Strategies for At-Risk Students.

Photo (left to right): Heather Sullivan, Daniel Fitzgerald, Jenny Callaghan, Eileen Sprague, Leah Amaru, Derek Small, and Joe Monty.


 

TEACHERS FILE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST TOWN AND SCHOOL COMMITTEE FOR UNLAWFUL WITHHOLDING OF STEP INCREASES


Today (6/6/14), the Stoughton Teachers Association filed a class action lawsuit against the Town of Stoughton and Stoughton School Committee for non-payment of wages in violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 149, Section 148. The suit names the Town of Stoughton, the School Committee, School Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi and Town Manager Michael Hartman as Defendants.

The lawsuit seeks damages owed under the statute including payment of step increases plus triple damages and attorney costs. The expected total damages will amount to $1.5 million.

The lawsuit follows the decision issued by the Department of Labor Relations on May 22, 2014 in which the Department found that “the School Committee’s failure to pay step increases to eligible bargaining unit members on September 1, 2013 violated Section 10(a)(5) and, derivatively (a)(1) of the Law.”

"The Town and school committee’s unlawful acts will cost the Town $1.5 million. As part of the teacher contract settlement, we agreed to waive $50,000 in interest payments ordered by the Department of Labor Relations, withdraw other pending unfair labor practice charges and not move forward with the lawsuit. Teachers were willing to forego the $1.5 million in damages,” said STA President and South School elementary teacher Andrea Pires. “It was reckless and irresponsible of Dr. Brown, Ms. Husseini and Mr. Hartman to have voted down this contract. “

(Posted on 6/6/14 @ 11:59 p.m.)

 

NEW: Finance Committee Analysis of School Budget

 

NEW: STA FACT SHEETS (1) (2)

 


 

 

SPEAKING OF CONTRACTS......

 

Town Manager Michael Hartman may be a no-show on weekends (he's in faraway Canton), but he showed up to squash a contract which was crafted by a paid mediator for the town and the Stoughton Teachers Association last week.  Whether it was a good contract or not depends on who you talk to, but when one is mediated between two sides and a compromise is approved by both parties, it seems odd that the Town Manager (who had NO part in the negotiations) voted to squash it.  Was this legal?  A local superintendent of schools told me it was not.  A former Town Manager told me it was.  So, I guess it depends on what side of the argument you come down on.  For me, I just thought that a mediator—who was paid for with town and union money—could be trusted to make a compromise acceptable to all parties.  But, Hartman had the right to kill it, and he did, with the help of School Committee members Dr. Carol Brown and Joyce Husseini.

Retired Town IT Director Dr. Lawrence Gray sent Snyder’s Stoughton an interesting note.  He attached a seven page letter he had sent to former School Committee Chair Husseini in September of last year, regarding the withholding payment of earned steps from teacher’s pay. On May 21, the Mass. Department of Labor Relations issued a decision against the Stoughton School Committee for unlawfully withholding teacher step increases. The decision reads: “The School Committee’s failure to pay step increases to eligible bargaining unit members on September 1, 2013 violated Section 10(a)(5) and, derivatively (a)(1) of the Law.” The decision of the Department concludes: “In short, the School Committee’s arguments offer no basis to disregard the long-standing precedent or the rationale underlying the Law.”

 

Gray, who titled his note to me “Dysfunction Junction”, wrote, “I am surprised that members of the school committee and town manager voted against what appears to be a very reasonable contract settlement, which was arrived at via the mediation process.  Their votes apparently will make the town liable for relatively large payments to settle the matter of the illegal withholding of teacher's earned step increases.  Given the facts as they have been reported, these votes appear to indicate a significant level of incompetence on the part of those people voting against the contract settlement. Perhaps this latest example of dysfunctional school and municipal ‘management’ will cause taxpayers to become more interested in how their town and their tax money are managed.”

Husseini said “It was not an easy decision. We had withheld steps before, so I felt that was the only way they’d negotiate. We understood how the labor board may react, but we had to take that chance.” 

I contacted Michael Hartman, but never heard back from him.  I’m not surprised.  He has earned the nickname “Waldo” for his disappearing act, during non-business hours.  Still, he was rewarded with an amazing contract during the waning moments of the John Anzivino days.  He is now contracted with the Town through June 30, 2017.  He’ll be paid a “base salary” of $149,000 for FY 2015, $156,500 for FY 2016 (plus up to 3% for satisfactory or better rating on his FY ’15 evaluation), and for FY 2017, he gets a $7500 raise on his total FY ’16 salary.  He gets 20 days of vacation (which can be accrued up to 2 weeks a year), one personal leave day, up to 5 days of bereavement leave, and 12 paid holidays.  He’ll also get 10 days of sick leave per year. He also gets a town motor vehicle, with the town picking up all costs including gas, service, maintenance, insurance, repairs, and/or replacement of the vehicle. He also gets up to $300 per month for use of his own vehicle for town business. Hartman can terminate his contract with 60 days notice.  If four of the five Selectmen vote to terminate him, without “just cause”, the town must pay him six months of base salary in one lump sum.

One Hartman supporter, who wished to remain anonymous but is active on a couple of town boards, told me that he was “heroic” in what he did to terminate the teacher’s contract. “He realized it was unsustainable.  The new members of the school committee gave up too much.  It would have been five million dollars out of whack over the course of the contract. What are we going to do, lay off firemen and policemen to pay it?”

STOYAC president Bob Evangelista may have said it best in a Facebook post: "Stoughton is becoming a landfill of bad decisions one after another. As a town we can't get out of our own way. As a government we start from a position of one that is adversarial rather than one of working towards fiscal responsibility with the greatest return on investment. There is blame to be spread all around this town from elected officials to those who elect them. Wake up Stoughton! Stop being the butt end of every joke."

Stoughton resident, and Easton Town Clerk Jeremy Gillis also posted a comment on FB: "That meeting was painful to watch. The staged holier than thou attitude of those who voted no and the vote of the Town Manager made a mockery of the bargaining process and showed a tone deafness unlike I have ever seen by local elected officials to the message that was sent in the Town Election."

Attorney and active Town Meeting member Barry Crimmins wrote, simply, "Sad state of affairs in this town right now! Things need to change with our elected officials, and fast!"

School Committee member Joyce Husseini told me that she voted “no” on the contract because “After sitting for fourteen months of negotiations, Dr. Ural made an offer that just ignored all of our previous work. Our goal was to reduce the steps and cost, and his agreement cost $900,000 this year, and will cost over $400,000 per year thereafter. He really tied our hands. This was not something the STA asked for.  There is normally give and take. He gave them something that wasn’t even asked for. I find that outrageous.”

Another interesting development at that May 27 school committee meeting was the Stoughton School Committee adopting a "hiring freeze" by a 3-2 vote (Ural, Pina-Enokian, and Soares in the affirmative). Any exceptions to it must go through the School Committee Chair, Dr Ural.  Since Supt. of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi hires most everyone, they theoretically tied her hands.  But, Chairman Dr. Erdem Ural told me, “We need to wait for all of our beans to settle. We hear Mr. Hartman wants to cut the school budget.  So, we need to have a Plan B.”   Rizzi said that the freeze came up at a recent FinCom meeting. “At the moment, it hasn’t impinged on our ability to hire for vacant positions,” she told Snyder’s Stoughton.

On this freeze, Husseini said, “This motion was illegal. I said it during the making of the motion, and they proceeded without asking legal counsel.”    Rizzi told me she could only advise the Committee on their vote, but that she was told by town and school accountants that the contract would have added five million dollars to the budget over the next five years.   Rizzi said, “The Town Manager, under this charter, has a right to vote for contracts.  Some don’t choose to participate. In 2010, the attorney and I worked with then-Town Manager Frank Crimmins to come up with a proposal he could accept.  In the end, it was one he couldn’t accept. Some town managers are involved. Some are not. It isn’t always the case the person in the chair chooses to exercise that right.” 

STA President Andrea Pires tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “I thought it was a reckless and irresponsible decision. When we reached agreement, we hoped to move forward with labor peace. We had agreed to withdraw our complaints and now that it was voted down, it could cost the town 1.5 million dollars. We’ll move forward with that complaint to the Department of Labor Relations. This will lead to more unfair labor practice charges.  We’ll also go forward with the class action lawsuit, ‘The Wage Act,’ which results in triple damages if we win, which translates to 1.5 million dollars, plus attorney’s fees.  We had agreed to waive the $50,000 in interest from Division of Labor Relations determination if there was agreement on the contract. These penalties will come out of the general fund, not the school budget. It is very disappointing.”

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, the law firm that has represented the school committee for years, has withdrawn working for the schools as of Friday, May 30. They cited no specific reason.  So, who knows what will happen.

Dysfunction Junction, indeed.

(Posted on June 3, 2014 @ 9 p.m.)

Photos by Mark Snyder. Dr. Rizzi photo by Jeffrey Pickette    Dr. Ural Courtesy Photo        Andrea Pires photo by Mike Hardman

ADDENDUM: Former FinCom Chair Holly Boykin, now living in Ohio, sent her thoughts along on the proposed teacher's contract:

"There are 2 MOAs that cover the period of 4 years. I have not spoken to the TM but in doing an economic analysis of the contract - it will increase the school budget by $4-$5 million dollars by the end of the 4 years for teachers salary alone. Equally important is that is much more than given to the other unions on the town side and the other school unions. For 1 year MOA –( FY 14)
1% COLA at beginning of year and Increase of $625 for those individuals on t...he last step.
For 3 year MOA –
Year 1 (FY 15): 1% COLA at beginning of year and 1% COLA at end of year. Plus for those on the last step an increase of $1250 per year.
Year 2 (FY 16):, 1% COLA at beginning of year and 1% COLA at end of year. Plus for those on the last step an increase of $1875 per year.
Year 3 (FY 17): 1% COLA at beginning of year and 1% COLA at end of year. Plus for those on the last step an increase of $2500 per year.
Roughly 40% of the teachers are on the last step and the increase to the top step alone will increase the salary base by about $800k.
Equally important is what the students and taxpayers are getting in exchange for these increases. Al though, the teachers have agreed to now have an 8 period day – they are STILL only teaching 5 periods and that has not changed. In actuality, The teachers will teach 5 periods, 1 period for prep, 1 period for collaboration and 1 period of other duty (i.e. lunchroom monitor).
Teaching is a very difficult job and I give them all the credit they deserve BUT there is a limited pot of funds and all town operations and staff need to be supported.
There is no way that given the limited funding the town is able to support that contract without cutting funds from other areas and/or laying off other school personnel including teachers, special needs personnel, etc.
"

FROM THE STA: I am writing to set the record straight.  Following the settlement of the teachers’ contract, the school committee and town officials asked Superintendent Rizzi to prepare a report on the impact of the settlement on future budgets.  Superintendent Rizzi prepared her report and Town Manager Hartman and the  “auditors” are accepting it as gospel.

From experience, the STA leadership knows better than to accept the Superintendent’s word.  We have reviewed Superintendent Rizzi’s report and we found errors that begin in FY '15 and are carried through for FY '16 and FY '17:

A nurse is listed twice and her salary was counted twice. A teacher is listed twice (once under her maiden name and the other time under her married name) and her salary was counted twice.

Two teachers who have resigned are still listed and their salaries are still counted. Two teachers who have submitted irrevocable letters to retire in June, 2014 are listed as employees through FY '17.

Eight teachers who work part-time are listed with full-time salaries. There are many other errors in the Superintendent’s spreadsheets.  These are just the “highlights.”  They add up to a $622,024 over-estimate of the cost.  Once again, it doesn’t add up.

John Gunning
STA Vice-President

SCC Chair Dr. Urol Responds to Boykin Addendum:

Mark, My friend Holly Boykin’s addendum to your story is misleading. Please publish this statement after hers.
The tentative agreement actually provides for the following financial compensation to the STA
FY14: 1% COLA at beginning of year and Increase of $625 for those
individuals on the last step.
FY15: 1% COLA at beginning of year and Increase of $625 for those
individuals on the last step.
FY16: 1% COLA at beginning of year and 1% COLA at end of year (i.e. net
1% COLA for FY16). Plus for those on the last step an increase of $625
per year.
FY17: 1% COLA at beginning of year and 1% COLA at end of year (i.e. net
2% COLA for FY17). Plus for those on the last step an increase of $625
per year.
In return, SPS received all kinds of benefits including withdrawal of
the ULPs, 8-period SHS schedule, and the waiver for the class action
suit (a 1.5 million dollar value).
It seems, for reasons I do not understand, Ms. Boykin chose to index all
$625 increases to FY13.

Response to Boykin from Ken Kalen from J.H. Gibbons Elementary School:

I just read Holly Boykin’s comments on the teachers’ contract and am very disappointed.  Sadly, I am not surprised by her inaccuracy since incorrect figures seem to be floating all around Stoughton these days. As an elementary school teacher I can say, without hesitation, that any first grader knows that when adding a series of numbers you do not double count the numbers.   

 

 


DR UROL'S PRESENTATION AT SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING


 

 

WALDO MAKES TEACHER'S CONTRACT DISAPPEAR!

 

After over a year of the STA and School Committee negotiating a teacher contract, Town Manager Mike "Waldo" Hartman, together with School Committee members Carol Brown and Joyce Husseini killed it. The Town, according to the STA, will be forced to pay a Labor Dept judgment of over a million dollars for lawful payments previously withheld. As part of contract, they'd foregone penalties. Erdem Ural, Katie Pina-Enokian and Joe Soares voted yes in a 3-3 vote. Those who voted against it said that the contract would put the budget five million dollars in the hole. Husseini also said that the top step teachers would garner an additional 750K to a million dollars from the changes that were made in final negotiations. But, that figure came from a number derived from figuring no top step teachers would retire during the contract. Erdem Ural, in a presentation, surmised that retiring teachers could save as much as a half million dollars during the contract, figuring an average savings of $45,000 per teacher. Husseini said the changes to the contract, since she was replaced on the negotiating team, are "reckless spending of taxpayer dollars. The costs in years three and four are higher than STA's original request."

The reason that Hartman was able to vote on a school committee matter was that he claimed to be involved in the negotiations through HR Manager Jamie "Shadow" Kelley. But, at the meeting, Kelley said he was a "resource" to the negotiations, and was "not acting as a representative for anyone." No matter where you stood on the teacher's contract, the meeting left everyone with a horrid taste in their mouths.

STOYAC president Bob Evangelista may have said it best in a Facebook post: "Stoughton is becoming a landfill of bad decisions one after another. As a town we can't get out of our own way. As a government we start from a position of one that is adversarial rather than one of working towards fiscal responsibility with the greatest return on investment. There is blame to be spread all around this town from elected officials to those who elect them. Wake up Stoughton! Stop being the butt end of every joke."

Stoughton resident, and Easton Town Clerk Jeremy Gillis also posted a comment on FB: "That meeting was painful to watch. The staged holier than thou attitude of those who voted no and the vote of the Town Manager made a mockery of the bargaining process and showed a tone deafness unlike I have ever seen by local elected officials to the message that was sent in the Town Election."

Attorney and active Town Meeting member Barry Crimmins wrote, simply, "Sad state of affairs in this town right now! Things need to change with our elected officials, and fast!"

Another interesting development at last night's (5/27) school committee meeting.. The SCC adopted a "hiring freeze" by a 3-2 vote (Ural, Pina-Enokian, and Soares). Any exceptions to it must go through the School Committee Chair, Erdem Ural.

Advice to Ural: If you want to get the contract approved, hold the meeting on a weekend. Waldo will be in faraway Canton.

(Posted on 5/28/14 @ 8 a.m.) Photo by Mark Snyder Contents (C) 2014 by PMPNetwork, Inc.

 

WATCH IT ON TV

 

 


 

 

MALCOLM & PARSONS BUILDING FINALLY GETTING MAKEOVER

FROM THIS.......

It’s been many years since the Cheng Du restaurant had a fire, and subsequent roof cave- in downtown. From the days with the grotesque fence that surrounded the dilapidated building, to the days of plywood jungle, to the more modern times where locally-drawn art covers the plywood, this building has been waiting WAY TOO LONG for a makeover. But, local Attorney Barry Crimmins tells Snyder’s Stoughton that the time has finally come.

There will be a redevelopment of the Malcolm and Parsons block, which previously contained the Cheng Du Chinese Restaurant. The project consists of approximately 6,000 square feet of retail/office space on the first floor, with 3 floors of residential apartments above, consisting of 15 2-bedroom units and 6 1-bedroom units. It is very similar to the Stoughton Junction buildings, on Rose Street and Porter Street.

Says Crimmins, “Once we get the necessary approvals from the town, my client (Freeman Street Trust) will purchase the property from the Freeman Street Corp., and then the Malcolm and Parsons Insurance Agency will relocate during construction, and then they will move back in after construction is completed as a tenant on the first floor, in basically the same location that they are in presently.”

Adds Crimmins, “Hopefully, the town will support this project as the cornerstone for the long-overdue redevelopment of the downtown area and it will be a source of pride for the entire town as a vibrant, aesthetically pleasing structure that both the residents and the commercial tenants will be proud to locate in.”

This area downtown on Washington Street is one of the first places that traffic from Easton, Taunton, and Raynham passes through when going through Stoughton. It has most certainly been a HUGE negative for the past several years. Based on the artist’s conception of the project (published alongside this column), it should be a bold and positive contributor to the overall improvement of the downtown.

Under the current bylaw, 20% of the apartments need to be “affordable.” So, four would be affordable. The rent is estimated at $1300 for one bedroom, and $1600 for two bedroom. The affordable should be somewhere in the $900-$1000 range.

Crimmins says that they need Planning Board approval to move ahead. The continuance of the hearing on the approval is June 26. Ever since the fire and flood, everyone (including me) have been complaining about the plywood jungle. So, I would hope residents would support Crimmins’ proposal.

Add to this the work of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority to try to renovate the Stoughton Train Station, and put a restaurant there; and the work of former Selectman John Stagnone and his group which is trying to refurbish and reopen the State Theatre in downtown Stoughton, and there is much to look forward to in the future. Stagnone obtained $500,000 from the Community Preservation Committee towards the Theatre work, which will enable him to further explore more grant money that could make a thriving downtown theatre and entertainment complex a reality.

To This...

 

 

 


 

 

MASS. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RELATIONS ORDERS  STOUGHTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE TO PAY STEP INCREASES WITH INTEREST.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE VOTE AGAINST CONTRACT WOULD COST TOWN         $1.5 MILLION IN PENALTIES.

On May 21, the Mass. Department of Labor Relations issued a decision against the Stoughton School Committee for unlawfully withholding teacher step increases.

The decision reads:

“The School Committee’s failure to pay step increases to eligible bargaining unit members on September 1, 2013 violated Section 10(a)(5) and, derivatively (a)(1) of the Law.” The decision of the Department concludes: “In short, the School Committee’s arguments offer no basis to disregard the long-standing precedent or the rationale underlying the Law.”

The decision orders the School Committee to pay step increases retroactive to September 1, 2013 with interest. The interest would cost the School Committee approximately $50,000. The teachers, however, have offered to waive its right to collect interest on the step increases as part of the overall contract. If the school committee votes to ratify the contract, it will save $50,000.

More importantly, if the school committee does not ratify the agreement, the teachers will be forced to proceed with the non-payment of wage class action lawsuit against the Town for the unlawful withholding of step increases. Under the Massachusetts Wage Act, the Town would be liable for triple damages. Since steps cost approximately $450,000, the Town would be responsible to pay out $1.5 million plus attorney fees.

“The contract is a reasonable agreement. Teachers are willing to forego the interest and triple damages from the unlawful withholding of our step increases, but a school committee vote against the contract on Tuesday evening would cause us to move forward with our Wage Act lawsuit. Such a lawsuit would cost the Town $1.5 million,” explained STA President Andrea Pires.

Carol Brown, Joyce Husseini and the Town Manager Michael Hartman have suggested that they’ll vote against the contract. The Board of Selectmen have the authority to direct the vote of the Town Manager.

“It’s time for the school committee and Town Manager to set aside petty politics and ratify the contract. A vote against the contract settlement would prolong the dysfunction and cost the Town $1.5 million.” said STA President Andrea Pires. 

THE DECISION

 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING TO RATIFY

 

 

(provided by STA)

 

 


 

 

Rooney Faces Murder Charges Four Years Later

A case that dates back to the days of former Norfolk County District Attorney and current Congressman William Keating has finally hit the courtroom this morning. Yes, testimony is happening in Dedham Superior Court over four years after the murder of Georgios Kontsas in his Mara Circle Stoughton home on Saturday, February 27, 2010.   

John Rooney was indicted for murder and eight other crimes for this attack,” District Attorney Keating  had said in early March of 2010. The other eight indictments against the fifty year old Rooney include two counts of Armed Home Invasion (one naming each member of the elderly couple as victim), two counts of armed assault in a dwelling (one naming each member of the elderly couple as victim), Armed Assault with Intent to Murder a person over 60, Armed Assault with  Intent to Rob a person over 60, Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon causing serious bodily injury and Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon on a person over age 60.

He had pled not guilty at his Stoughton District Court arraignment the following morning and was ordered held without bail by Judge Paul Dawley at that time. DA Keating had assigned Assistant District Attorney Brian Wilson to prosecute the case. Current D.A. Michael Morrissey has stuck with Wilson as the case prosecutor.

(Published on May 19, 2014 @ 5:30 p.m.)


 

TEACHERS AND SCHOOL DEPARTMENT SETTLED CONTRACT
 

Stoughton Teachers Association president Andrea Pires was relieved that the long trek toward a contract was over. She tells Snyder's Stoughton, "After 14 months of strained negotiations, Stoughton teachers voted to ratify the terms of a new agreement.

“It’s a fair deal for Stoughton teachers and the community. We look forward to building a collaborative, functional relationship with the school committee. Parents, students and teachers deserve no less,” said Pires. 

STA Negotiation Team member and Gibbons Elementary School teacher Ken Kalen remarked: “Teachers’ number one focus remained our students throughout this long and difficult process. Teachers are thrilled that we can focus exclusively on what we love to do best - teach.”

New School Committee Chairman Dr. Erdem Ural told Snyder's Stoughton, "The Stoughton School Committee will soon vote on the tentative agreements. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the STA team for being very cooperative, and agreeing to an excellent deal for Stoughton. I am excited about other benefits our children will reap. These include an 8 period schedule and an increase in teacher-student contact time in high school, and flexible time."

Hollie Tiso , a parent of elementary school students said,  “Parents are so proud of the perseverance shown by our teachers who worked  for so long in less than perfect conditions to ensure our children were not affected by the negotiations. This has only helped to restore our faith in the school system. Thank you to both parties for making this a top priority.”

Gibbons School parent Marlene Silva agreed, “Parents are thrilled to see that the school committee and the Stoughton Teachers Association have finally reached an agreement on the teachers’ contract! It shows that when a community comes together, we can make small changes that really make a difference.”  

Pires added: “We expect the school committee to join us in ratifying the agreement as we move forward together for the betterment of our students.”

Ural added, " I thank the STA for promising to withdraw the Unfair Labor Practice claims or to waive anticipated penalties from them. Most importantly, I see the tentative
agreements as the start of a positive and productive relationship with
our teachers."

And, now it's Town Manager Michael Hartman and Human Resources Director Jamie Kelley's turn to settle municipal contracts! 

(Posted on 5/1/414 @ 4:40 p.m.)


 


 

 

NEW LEADERSHIP FOR MUNICIPAL
AND SCHOOL SIDES OF STOUGHTON

 

T.J. Recupero Chairs Board of Selectmen,
Joe Mokrisky is new Vice Chair

 

Dr. Erdem Ural is new Chair of School Committee,

Katie Pina-Enokian is new Vice Chair


Stoughton Woman on U.S.S. Reagan!

(The Story)

 

 


 

Official results have not been compiled yet by the Town Clerk, but Snyder's Stoughton can now safely say that all incumbents lost in Stoughton tonight. Spanky Sousa and Joe Mokrisky are your new selectmen, and Katie Pina-Enokian and Joe Soares your new School Committee members. My guess is that Dr. Erdem Ural will become the next School Committee Chairman. It's also apparent that the actions of the Stoughton Teachers Association, and activist parents on Facebook took out both incumbent school committee members.  The figurative ripping up of the town managers contract, and a $25,000 raise, at 11 p.m. probably translated into the incumbent selectman losing the race. I would say that the biggest winner of the night was Dr. Erdem Ural, who will become school committee chair. The biggest loser? Probably Dr. Rizzi, who will now have to deal with Erdem. My guess is that T.J. Recupero will be the newest Chairman of the Board of the Board of Selectmen.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

 

 


 

REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY BUYS TRAIN STATION

The Stoughton Redevelopment Authority recently voted to Purchase the Stoughton Station Depot Building from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The Building, built in 1888, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been described as the most significant public building in Stoughton. The Stoughton Redevelopment Authority (SRA) is negotiating with a private developer who is proposing to open a restaurant at the historic station located on Wyman Street in the downtown area. This action by the SRA is intended to jump-start the revitalization of downtown Stoughton. It dovetails with the clear message delivered by residents participating in Stoughton’s ongoing Master Planning effort that they want to see a marked improvement in downtown Stoughton.

Massachusetts General Law (Chapter 121B) allows municipalities, through their Redevelopment Authority acting as an Urban Renewal Agency, to eliminate and develop substandard, decadent or blighted areas for industrial, commercial, business, residential, recreational, educational, hospital or other purposes. The Stoughton Redevelopment Authority was asked to facilitate the acquisition and potential redevelopment of the site by the Stoughton Board of Selectmen and Town Manager.

The Redevelopment Authority has five members, four of whom are elected to five-year terms and one appointed by the Governor. Forrest Lindwall, SRA Project Manager and Michael Barrett, SRA Chairman led this effort. The other members of the SRA include Louis Gitto Vice Chairman, Carlos Vargas, and Roberto Soto the Governor’s appointee. The SRA is hopeful that redevelopment of the train station which was previously used as a commuter rail depot but has been vacant for several years will signal a turning point for the downtown which has been hit hard by a series of retail closures over the past four years. “We believe that establishing a new thriving business in the historic Depot is the beginning of the effort to revitalize downtown Stoughton and the SRA looks forward to working with the town’s leadership on that task”, said Barrett.

 

 

 


 

IS FREE SPEECH NO LONGER ALLOWED
TO STOUGHTON EMPLOYEES???

 

Snyder’s Stoughton was the only outlet that reported on the 11 p.m. April Fool’s Night unanimous vote of the Board of Selectmen to give an extended contract to Town Manager Michael “Waldo” Hartman, as well as adding another $25,000 to his pay over the next three years. Previously, I had reported on an attempted weekend meeting of the BOS to do the same thing. That meeting’s agenda was changed, and I posted the original agenda on Facebook.

Being that this is an election time, I’ve tried to avoid putting this in the paper, or my website. I’ve just been posting information on Facebook, hoping that it would find its way in the hands of interested parties.

Why was I peeved at the vote? I wasn’t. Only the Board of Selectmen know what Waldo is doing for the town. He’s certainly not making personal appearances anywhere. But he, and his Kemo Sabe, HR Director Jamie Kelly, have certainly been putting their brand on town hall. They asked some long-time employees to re-apply for their jobs, while hiring a purported personal friend of Jamie’s as his new HR assistant director.

No, it wasn’t the vote that got me typing away. It was the TIMING of the vote. When they took it Monday night the police and fire unions, the DPW union, and the town hall employees unions had no contracts. And, they weren’t receiving some of the provisions of their previous contract. So, if our employees, some of whom risk their lives for our public safety, aren’t taken care of, why the rush to extend the contract of Hartman? Selectman Chairman John Anzivino pointed out that they began negotiating with him last November. They felt he was underpaid. I feel I am too, but my bosses aren’t ready to throw away my contract and issue me a new one. I signed mine knowingly. Did, Waldo not know what he was signing? He’s a very bright guy. If the contract was too low, why did he not go to Dover or Westwood and try his luck there?

One official who wished to remain anonymous, told me that Mr. Hartman's "trigger point" on his contract comes up in Fall, 2014. "By negotiating since last November, and coming to an agreement, we saved the town between 15-$25,000. This was no secret back deal. It was an honest attempt to get an excellent manager what he deserved, and to get some stability in the office."

Well, this leads me to the crux of tonight’s story. I posted the story of the 11 p.m. vote yesterday on Facebook, and many people shared the post, and hundreds more wrote in the comments below it, including Anzivino and Selectmen TJ Recupero. I credit them for explaining their vote. As I mentioned, all five selectmen supported the new contract.

Firefighter Jeff Ledin, who is also the founder of the Stoughton Fire Department’s Facebook page, posted a link to the article on my website. Many people wrote comments under it that were critical of the Board and the town manager. We live in the USA, where we enjoy Freedom of Speech in the Constitution—or do we?

Ledin told me that he was told by his boss, Fire Chief Mark Dolloff, that the town’s attorney had requested that it be pulled from the fire department’s Facebook page, because “political stuff shouldn’t be posted on town websites.” Of course, this Facebook page is registered to Jeff, and he alone maintains it. It often has feel good stories about all facets of the town—the schools, the police, the fire department, etc. It has stories about the tragedies that have befallen firefighters, most recently in Boston. Ledin told me, “I started the page so people would know what we are doing. I love when the residents put things up on the page. I thought your article was insightful and well written. I felt it directly affected the members of our department.”

Ledin was stunned. “Not one person in high management at Town Hall offered us condolences when we mourned two of our brothers in Boston. We all went to the funerals. Ten hours after we got back, they squeeze us again.” Ledin places no blame on his Chief, who has been more than supportive. “It goes higher than him up the chain,” he said. Added Ledin, “I’m disappointed that certain people don’t care about our safety or our feelings. They’re more worried about something somebody wrote. Town employees were very consoling to all of us. People at the top just don’t care. It’s disheartening.”

Jim Curtin, President of IAFF Local 1512, the Stoughton firefighter’s union, told Snyder’s Stoughton, “I believe it was a violation of Jeff’s First Amendment rights. He was posting an article he thought was interesting. He didn’t write anything. He can’t control the comments posted underneath the article.”

Curtin had requested to speak Monday night before the Selectmen took their vote. He was allowed to speak AFTER the vote. In addition, he added, “Mr. Anzivino said that none of the unions have an ‘evergreen’ clause. But, we DO have one. It’s in our contract. They’re holding off contractual raises. It’s being ignored. It changes attitude and morale in the department. People are leaving to go elsewhere.”

For his part, Anzivino said, “ I hope the community sees this decision for what it really is – the Selectmen making sure that at a critical time in the history of the town, we have a professional town manager with the skill and knowledge that we need. In my 6 years on the Board of Selectmen, we have had 5 different town managers. No organization can function properly with that kind of turnover in the top management position, and Stoughton is no different. With all the things Stoughton has to deal with now, and in the foreseeable future, keeping the talent of a very capable professional is in the best interests of the town.”

One official, speaking to me under condition that I not use his name, on April 5, said that "There are always reviews of social networking sites in employment context. It can be misinterpreted from where it eminates. There will be a policy developed on this. The issue was never to take it down. The site being used had the official fire department logo. Stoughton Fire & Rescue and the photo are town monikers. They can't be used on a union website for political purposes. They were never told to take it down, just to rename it. People can't be confused as to where it's coming from. It must clearly say it's coming from the union."

I don’t doubt the fact that all five selectmen thought they were doing right by the town. Again, the timing was very bad. And, when you change agendas, take late night votes, and try to curb free speech, that also doesn’t smell right. If it smells like a duck, and quacks like a duck—it’s a duck.

And, that doesn’t quack me up.

(Posted on April 4, 2014 at 9 p.m.)

 

 

 


 

SELECTMEN SNEAK IN HUGE HARTMAN RAISE AT 11 PM

At 11 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1st, the Stoughton Board of Selectmen pulled an April Fool's joke that wasn't funny on the taxpayers of the Town. They gave a HUGE raise to the Town Manager, Michael Hartman, and extended his contract prematurely. And, they had to audacity to do this BEFORE they had all the union contracts settled. So, let's review. Selectman Chairman John Anzivino led his Board into giving Hartman five figures, before the fire, DPW, town hall employees, and patrolman's union were given contracts and raises. That is absolutely despicable. Next Tuesday, Anzivino is running for re-election. I thought he'd top the ticket. I don't think so anymore. Spanky Sousa and Joe Mokrisky should give him a big "thank you." Meanwhile, the unions will probably flock to the polls and put in two new selectmen.

 

 


 

 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE ESCALATES CAMPAIGN AGAINST TEACHERS WITH VOTE TO TRANSFER BUDGETED MONEY SET ASIDE FOR TEACHER CONTRACT SETTLEMENT

The Stoughton School Committee has illegally withheld over $350,000 in step increments owed to Stoughton teachers. With charges pending at the Department of Labor Relations and Attorney General’s office, the School Committee voted to transfer $342,000 out of a line item intended to cover these obligations.

“It’s simply irresponsible. The Superintendent and School Committee would rather hurt teachers and students than honor their contractual obligations,” said STA President Andrea Pires.

STA High School teacher Mel Ingrao added: “This is a shell game. The School Committee is attempting to mislead parents by transferring funds out of line item that could resolve the ongoing dispute with teachers and then claim that they don’t have the funding to settle a fair deal. Parents see through their misleading tactics.”

“The School Committee’s action clearly shows that these school committee members have no intention of ending the dysfunction. They would rather campaign against the teachers than do what’s best for parents and students. It’s a shame.”

(News Release from STA...posted on April 1, 2014 @ 11 p.m.)

STOUGHTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE RESPONDS:

The union board and many teachers were in attendance at the School Committee meeting last night and heard the question asked directly by School Committee members if the requested transfer was from money set aside for a contract settlement.  It is not.  The Stoughton Teachers’ Association (STA) allegation that the School Committee is spending funds set aside for step increases is patently false.  The School Committee takes it obligation of managing the school budget seriously.  It is, and always has been the intention of the School Committee to reach a settlement with the STA on their contract.
 
Money in the instruction line is projected every year based on the employees in the system at the close of the previous year.  The transferred money comes from attrition through retirements and through unused money in the sick leave buy back.  At this point in the fiscal year we can project that these expenses will not be incurred. And at this point in the fiscal year the unplanned increase in special education transportation, regular transportation due to increased need for the transportation of homeless students, and unemployment must be responsibly addressed.

There is nothing in the transfers granted last night or in the overall management of the budget that is a “campaign against the teachers”. It is the responsibility of the School Committee to ensure that funding is available for all areas of education.

(Posted on April 2, 2014 @ 3:20 p.m.)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

DA Michael W. Morrissey provides training and overdose

Antidote to every Norfolk County Police Department

More than 80 first responders attend

Every police department and most if not every fire department in Norfolk County has now received the needed training to use the opiate overdose reversal drug Narcan, and District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey bought and divided 300 doses among the police and fire departments to jump start their programs.

“There is not a single community in Norfolk County untouched by the opiate addiction epidemic that caused 61 confirmed fatal overdoses in our county last year,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “The Quincy Police Department has reversed more than 225 overdoses since it became the first department in the country to equip every cruiser with Narcan. Now every department is going to have this capacity. It can only save lives.”

Morrissey organized and hosted a training Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in the ballroom at the Blue Hills Country Club in Canton.  Brockton Hospital Dr. Dan Muse, Quincy Police Lt. Pat Glynn, and Stoughton Police Sergeants Donna McNamara and Brian Holmes, as well as other medical and fire personnel, conducted the training and demonstrations. Every police department and almost every fire department attended.

“I cannot say enough about the police in Norfolk County, from the departmental training officers who attended and can now train fellow officers, to the chiefs who embraced the idea and dedicated the resources to making this work,” District Attorney Morrissey said. When the first responders broke into small groups for demonstrations, several of those presenting were fire personnel from departments already using Narcan who were there on their personal time to help. “Police, Fire, across the county we have had fantastic cooperation.”

“There is a great deal more that we are doing to prevent addictions from ever beginning, with prescription drug collection, education in schools, community coalitions, and enforcement. But we need to be working on this problem at every stage,” Morrissey said. “From preventing young people taking the first opiate pill that opens the door to later addiction to saving the lives of those who are overdosing so that they can find treatment and hopefully find their way back to the kind of life we would wish for them.”

 

               (NB: In addition to Quincy, the Norwood, Braintree and Stoughton Police Departments have more recently deployed Narcan. Those departments either sent additional officers to the training or assisted in conducting it.)

 

 


 

STOUGHTON POLICE ANNOUNCE SMART 911

The Stoughton Police Department announced on March 24, 2014 that Smart911 is now available to all citizens. Smart911 is a free service that allows citizens to create a Safety Profile for their household that can include any information they may want 9-1-1 call takers and first responders to have in the event of an emergency, then if they need to dial 9-1-1 their Safety Profile will immediately display on the call taker’s screen saving critical seconds and even minutes in response to the emergency.

“When you call 9-1-1, even the simplest of details can be difficult to communicate in a time of panic,” said Police Chief Paul Shastany. “By creating a Safety Profile before an emergency happens they are ensuring that we will have the information we need even if they can’t communicate it.”

Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information. Responders can be aware of many details they would not have known previously, and now fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, EMS can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions and police can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

“At a time when more and more people are relying on cell phones to communicate which only provide limited information on a 9-1-1 call,” said the Chief “It’s critical that we can effectively utilize available technology to better respond to those individuals. Smart911 does this by automatically displaying the caller’s Safety Profile to the 9-1-1 dispatcher.”

With Smart911, citizens can link both home and work addresses to mobile phones, which can be passed on to responders in the field for more a detailed, rapid response. Additional information including pets in the home, vehicle details in the event of an accident, and even emergency contacts can all be included in a Safety Profile. All information is optional and the citizen has the ability to choose what details they would like to include.

Smart911 has been adopted in 33 states and more than 450 municipalities. It has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations across the U.S., including a missing child case in Arkansas, victims of heart attack and Epilepsy in Nashville, a domestic disturbance in DuPage County ( Ill.) and more. In Massachusetts, Smart911 is also available in Milford, Framingham, Medford and Blackstone.

“When citizens put more information in the hands of emergency responders prior to an emergency, they are enabling faster and more knowledgeable response for themselves and their families,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO, Rave Mobile Safety. “ Stoughton is demonstrating their commitment to creating a dependable 9-1-1 center that can support their community with a quick and accurate response to any type of emergency.”

Citizens are encouraged to create their Safety Profile with Smart911today to have their information immediately available to 9-1-1 . Smart911 is private and secure, is only used for emergency responses, and only made available to the 9-1-1 system in the event of an emergency call.

 


 

SELECTMEN ANSWER QUESTIONS

Check It Out!

 


Stoughton School Committee candidates are (from left) George Dolinsky, Deborah Sovinee, Randy Yanoff, Katie Pina-Enokian and Joaquin Soares. Wicked Local photo/Mark Snyder

SCHOOL COMMITTEE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Click To Read


 

 

 

TEACHER'S BOYCOTT ON VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES LIFTED!

A Message from the STA:

It has been a difficult year. The STA bargaining team has worked many, many tedious hours in an effort to secure a fair and equitable contract. In our attempt, we have called upon our members to help us pressure the School Committee and Superintendent and they have risen to the occasion every time. We have filled the School Committee room on numerous occasions and have boycotted many voluntary activities with the hopes that not only would the School Committee notice all that we do for our students, but the community as well.

We have succeeded in part of our mission. The community has seen what is happening to its teachers and rose in support. The parents/community members of Stoughton have stood behind us for months now and we would again like to say thank you for everything! There are signs around town showing support, a letter from the SHS student council members, and a private Facebook page with over 500 members backing their Stoughton teachers. While we know this path has not been comfortable or easy, our collective efforts have paid off.

In the spirit of good will and in response to the overwhelming support of the community of Stoughton, the STA bargaining team has decided that the boycott on voluntary activities will be lifted effective Monday, March 17th.

 

 

 


 

 

CAPP PLAYGROUND BEING REPLACED

The CAPP Playground on Pierce Street, behind the Jones School, is being replaced with all new equipment and lighting. The new setup will make it easier for the Stoughton Police to monitor the playground at night. Meanwhile, DPW crews are demolishing the old equipment.

(Mark Snyder photos)


 

"ONE OF THE WORST CASES OF ELDER ABUSE & NEGLECT"

Stoughton Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine wrote the following on Facebook, to describe an alleged case of elder abuse on Palisades Circle:

 

On Friday, February 21, 2014, we had the misfortune of making an arrest for one of the worst cases of elder abuse/ neglect that many of us have ever seen. The victim, a 75 year old female, was left in a basement bedroom where the thermostat was off and it read 51 degrees. She had bed sores that exposed bone. She was dehydrated and malnourished. Arrested was Sandra Lucien-Calixte, 48, of 36 Palisades Cir. Stoughton. She was charged with permitting serious injury to an elder. Bail was set at Stoughton District Court at $25,000.

 

 


 

STOUGHTON DISPATCHER HEADS TO FRAMINGHAM

 

 

Stoughton Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine writes on SPD Facebook Page: "We are both thrilled and saddened to be losing Dispatcher Ryan Shaw. Ryan has been an outstanding servant of the town for the last two years, but is leaving to realize his dream of becoming a police officer in Framingham. Our loss is their gain. You're gonna do great!"


 

LOCAL WAITRESS GOING PLACES

Sarah Borello, a waitress at the Stoughton House of Brews, is making a national name for herself in the music industry. Last week, she won the Best Rock Act at the New England Music Awards in Lowell. This week, she’s appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon! Now, that’s amazing! Leo Fay, the owner of Stoughton House of Brews, “She’s a great young lady. She’s performed here. She works morning and nights for us. Her brother is also a very intelligent musician. She aspires to go places and I think she will.”

With a voice that grabs you and won’t let go, Sarah Borrello’s song “Stranglehold” as well as a few other fan favorites, earned her “Best New Act of 2012″ at the New England Music Awards at just 22 years old! Yet, Sarah is no newcomer to the music scene. She has performed in the Northeast for over 6 years, supporting such established acts as Amanda Palmer, Shawn Mullins, and John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band.

In 2012, Sarah began recording her first official full-length album at Bon Iver’s Studio in Wisconsin with its release on June 15, 2013. Both prior albums, her first full length album ‘Therapy’ recorded at age 16, and her second “Black and White” (EP) recorded a year later, sold out.

Sarah plays both guitar and piano, which has given her versatility to create powerful and emotionally-driven music that touches the soul.

After 10 years of study of classical music as a child, she turned on her heels and picked up a guitar to enter the world of rock. Self-taught, Sarah spent countless hours training her vocals to the sounds of Kate Pearson and Cindy Wilson of the B-52′s, whom she describes as “the most perfect harmonies.”

The Diva of Java’s most notable recognition includes winning the Boston Folk Festival Songwriting contest at 15 and the John Lennon songwriting competition, in which she took second prize at the age of 16. When asked how to describe her music, Sarah says, “1/4 cup Grace Slick, 1/2 cup Fiona Apple and 1/4 cup Janice Joplin melted together until you get a smooth, strong consistency.”

Fay says she’s very funny, and will sometimes start singing while taking orders. “She gets great tips that way,” he added.

(Posted on February 25, 2014 at 6 p.m.)

 

 

 

 

 


 

BE AN EDUCATED VOTER!

Attention Stoughton Voters: Educate yourselves! Two opportunities. First, the Candidates Forum on Sunday, March 23rd, from 2-4 p.m., sponsored by the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce and the Stoughton/Sharon League of Women Voters. Debates for School Committee and Selectmen will take place. Unopposed townwide candidates were also invited to speak. Refereshments from Panera Bread will be served at 1:30 p.m. It all happens at the Old Colony YMCA, in the auditorium, on Central Street. I will serve as Moderator and Robin Gamzon Zoll will be Timekeeper. I...t will be taped by SMAC for airplay leading up to the election.

On Monday, March 31, the Stoughton Media Access Corporation (SMAC) will sponsor two debates at the SMAC studios at 421 Page Street. Both will RUN LIVE on Comcast Channel 9 and Verizon Channel 28, and be taped for airplay up to the election. The School Committee debate will run from 6-7:30 p.m. The Selectmen debate will run from 7:45-8:45 p.m. Limited seating is available. I will be Moderating both debates, and SMAC News & PD Director Jeff Pickette will lead the questioning.

 

 

 

 


TRANSPARENCY IS LOST UNDER NEW RULES  

As Bob Dylan once sang, “The Times They Are Changing.”  Town Manager Mike Hartman and Assistant Town Manager/HR Director Jamie Kelley and budget team (which seemingly no longer includes the Town Accountant) have decided to change the way the Finance Committee oversees the town’s budgets.  Since the beginning of time, department heads come to the Finance Committee with their proposed budgets, and defend each line through subcommittee and finance committee meetings.  They are there to answer the tough questions, and to explain any changes in their number of employees, positions, expenses, etc.  

 

 Long-time Finance Committee member Peter Ventresco told Snyder’s Stoughton, “The way they have it now, the salaries are all on one line. There is not a breakdown by position, separately, as in the past. Things can easily be hidden, and we wouldn’t know.  And, with no department heads to answer questions, it makes no sense.  Everyone was quite upset. They can pad departments and there would be no way for us to detect it.  I submitted a motion to require everything to stay as it was, and it ended up tied. Chairman Rick Hill broke the tie by voting against it.”

 FinCom Vice Chair Pat Colburn was concerned, but open to change, She told me, “He’s trying to make some changes to the budget.  The jury is still out to whether these are good or bad changes. I’m open to some change. Contractual items we can’t do anything about. But, moving away from transparency is not good for the town.  If I don’t get the information I need, I won’t be supporting the budget.  My biggest concern is on the salaries. We have to get it.  I’ve found mistakes on every budget I’ve ever worked on. We need to make sure the budget adds up.  We need to see overtime for police and fire. We don’t want to spend lots of time on purchases of staples, but that doesn’t compare to a 600,000 overtime budget. We will get the information.  If we don’t, we’ll put out our own budget. We will not rubber stamp anything. We’ll continue to do the job we were elected to do.”

 Colburn also mentioned that Hartman said he was doing the bottom line because the schools do it.  “But, the schools have provided us line items for their entire budget throughout the years.  What he is proposing is not the same,” she said.  In addition, Colburn said the entire finance committee was shocked when Kelley told them that “department heads were excluded from the budget process.”  How much sense does that make?  

Finance Committee member Dr. Roberta Camacho told me, “We need more detail.  Mr. Hartman is saying that they can all be lumped together as contractual.  My understanding is we will not be allowed to talk to the department heads, only the Budget Committee (Mr. Hartman, the HR Director, the Internal Auditor, etc.)  He said the bottom lines of the departments were all off.  They didn’t add up. We need more discussion on this.  If the department heads aren’t working on budgets, perhaps we can reduce their salaries. We don’t know the reasoning behind this.  But, it is change and no one likes change. If Mr. Hartman wants to come five nights in a row to represent everyone’s budget, then so be it. We may reconsider Mr. Ventresco’s motion to go back to the old way. If so, we may re-instate the subcommittee structure.”

 

 A message left for Hartman and Kelley was not returned.  FinCom Chairman Rick Hill said he had nothing to say when I reached him. “I don’t wish to have the problems between town hall and the finance committee in the newspaper,” he said politely.  Well, I think that taxpayers need to know exactly what is being done to the group that through this town’s charter is charged with reviewing the budget with a fine tooth comb and reporting their findings to Town Meeting. As a veteran of a full nine year term on FinCom (three as Vice Chair), I can tell you that this would not have flown at all when I was there. This new plan seems about as transparent as the amount of returned phone calls from this town manager--ZERO.   

 

NEXT WEEK: MORE TARNISH ON TOWN HALL 


(photos by Mark Snyder)


TRASH TALK

On Monday, February 17th, there will be no curbside trash collection in observance of President's Day. Trash collection for President's Day will be scheduled for Tuesday, February 18th in addition to the regular Tuesday collection. This is standard procedure for any holiday.    All rubbish and recyclables must be curbside by 7 a.m. on your collection day. Reyclables are to be separated as follows: (1) Commingled containers (glass, plastic, aluminum cans, aluminum foil) and (2) curbside newsprint (newspapers, cardboard boxes, brown paper bags, magazines, phone books, inserts).

 We are now able to pick up tubeless TV's and computer monitors with curbside trash but older TV's and computer monitors with tubes (CRTs) cannot be picked up curbside and must be brought to the transfer station. Large household appliances (metal items) must be called into the Public Works for appointment for pickup. The Transfer Station is open every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Feel free to call the office if you have any questions. (781) 344-2112

 

 


 

MOBIL STATION ARMED ROBBERY

On Tuesday, January at 5:36 p.m., The Stoughton Police dispatcher received a report from a caller that stated they were robbed at gunpoint at the Mobil Gas Station on Sharon Street at Cobb's Corner (at the corner of Stoughton, Canton and Sharon). The suspect was described as being a black male wearing a black sweater, who allegedly showed a gun. He was reportedly driving a silver Xterra and drove off toward Canton. Canton police were notified of the incident. 

(from the Stoughton Police log)

 


 

GOOD NEWS---NO POT DISPENSARY FOR STOUGHTON!

Stoughton averted more problems when the company that wanted to located a marijuana dispensary in Stoughton was not awarded a license from the State. The closest dispensaries will be in Brockton, Quincy, and Taunton.

Compete List of Proposed Locations


 

WHILE UNEMPLOYMENT CLIMBS, AND
AMERICANS TREAD WATER,
WHAT DOES OUR STATE SENATOR DO?

 

 

Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) has agreed to co-sponsor legislation introduced by Senator Marc "South Coastal Rail" Pacheco (D-Taunton) that would require the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to comprehensively review the current and future effects of climate change on the Bay State and to work with municipalities and regional organizations to address potential problems.

“Climate change is scientific fact and we must prepare for its effects immediately,” said Joyce. “Our state is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and inclement weather and by being proactive instead of reactive we will be prepared for the changing nature of our planet.”

The legislation would create an advisory committee under the direction of the Secretaries of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Public Safety to develop a comprehensive adaption management action plan which would gather and assess data on climate change and the state’s preparedness in terms of emergency response, energy, transportation, communications, health systems, and more. The bill would also offer grants to municipalities and regional planning services for implementing their own preparations. These actions come on the heels of Governor Patrick announcing that $52 million would be made available to assist local municipalities to combat climate change.

(from a news release)

 

I'm feeling relieved about this. Aren't you? Climate change is all our family and friends seem to talk about.
NOT

 

 

COMMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE OK'S THEATRE REQUEST

 

On January the CPC committee unanimously supported a grant request for $500,000.00 to the Save the State Theatre group, subject to a favorable business plan. The group, led by former selectman John Stagnone, still need to win town meeting support.


 

IS FINCOM CRIPPLED BY HARTMAN’S CHANGES

 

Town Manager Michael Hartman is in the middle of implementing a reorganization plan that will impact the Finance Committee in a very negative way. It will also impact other departments, as well.

Many around town are mumbling that it’s retribution by the Town Manager and his HR manager Jamie Kelley, towards people they may not like, especially some of the members of the Committee on Finance & Taxation (a/k/a Fincom). Finance Committee Chairman Rick Hill doesn’t believe that. “I don’t play that game,” he told me. “I think Mike is earnest about his reorganizational plan.” But even Hill acknowledges how much the moving of secretary Denise Lochiato downstairs to the Board of Health hurts his committee. Hill tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “The timing is certainly inopportune. Her role was to support Bill Rowe, the Finance Committee and the Board of Health. With the financial end of town now reporting to the town manager instead of the auditor, and the hiring of a new sanitarian, I understand the increased demands in the Board of Health. The logic of this move is understood. Denise, at the moment, is still supporting us. But, Mike indicated to me that she’d be going downstairs in two weeks. She is a specialized person, with a great grasp on municipal finance, municipal meeting laws, and the Department of Revenue. That’s hard to replace. I’m hoping we can work out a joint schedule that allows her to still serve the Finance Committee part time, as we need her.”

Dr. Roberto Camacho of the Finance Committee was more direct when she spoke with me on Monday. Camacho explained, “Rick is trying to keep everyone happy. But, the Finance Committee represents Town Meeting. We review all the budgets and give our recommendations. If we have no secretary, how do we do this? The employees no longer have a place to eat. Their lounge is going to be the new Board of Health and Sanitarian’s office. This is really sticking it up the butt of the Finance Committee, and by extension, the Town Meeting members, and the residents they represent. The Town Manager has a right to reorganize departments as he wishes. But, Denise was hired for this fiscal year to work for Bill, Mike, the Fincom, and the BOH. I think it’s being done to undermine the Finance Committee and make us look like idiots at Town Meeting.”

John Anzivino , Chairman of the Board of Selectmen (and the husband of FinCom member Barbara Anzivino ), told Snyder’s Stoughton, “Certainly the timing of this, without needed support, will not be helpful to the Finance Committee. There is a reorganization going on. Denise was there the other night. Rick was made aware of this change in early November. I’m not sure how this will impact the upcoming Town Meeting. Long range, they may need to hire someone else.”

I called Town Manager Mike Hartman for an explanation or reaction to this potential problem resulting from the fallout of his reorganization. He had his Executive Assistant Reggie Kowalczykowski call me with his statement: “No Comment.”

Meanwhile, Hill says he just received the budget, and without a secretary it will be more challenging to get through it. “We may have to hire a temp or a transcriber. Either way, it will cost taxpayers more money. We’d need to get computers, printers, and office space. We are supplying a lot more information to Town Meeting than we ever did. Still, there’s no story here. There’s just more work for the 17 volunteers to do.”

 

 


 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE INVITES STA TO PUBLIC MEETING

From Joyce Husseini, Chair of the School Committee: "We are scheduled to meet for our next session on Monday, January 27 at 6:00 PM.  The STA has asked to meet with the full School Committee as they do not feel that we are keeping the full committee informed of the offers that have been presented.  The Committee has asked me to extend an invitation to Andrea Pires, President of the STA to make the January 27th negotiating meeting an open meeting so that not only will the School Committee be able to hear the offers, but the full membership of the STA (the teachers) and the public can be present as well.  I have extended this invitation to Ms. Pires and am waiting to hear her response by the end of the school day tomorrow (January 23rd).  This would allow us sufficient time to post this as required under Open Meeting Law.  If they do agree to an open meeting I will follow up with an announcement tomorrow evening."  

STA SAYS YES!

From Andrea Pires, President, Stoughton Teachers Association: "We are excited to be meeting with the full committee on Monday during negotiations so that we may have a conversation about how both sides are viewing the proposals and to clear up any misinformation on either side. According to our ground rules, negotiation sesions will be closed to the general public. As you have stated many times, negotiations should be conducted at the negotiation table. We will see you all there on Monday."

BUT, SCHOOL COMMITTEE SAYS NO TO STA TERMS:

The entire School Committee will not be present for the Teachers’ union contract negotiation scheduled for Monday, January 27th because of the union's insistence that the meeting not be open to the public.

As per the ground rules, negotiating sessions are to take place between negotiating teams from each side.  Union President Andrea Pires has requested several times to meet with the full School Committee, and in response the Committee issued the invitation waiving the ground rule.  Ms. Pires has indicated numerous times that she does not believe that the negotiating team for the School Committee (Joyce Husseini and George Dolinsky) is representing the union offers fully to the School Committee.  Not only is the full committee informed of the discussion of every negotiating session, every piece of paper supplied by the union is distributed and discussed, and the full committee participates in shaping strategies and offers.  The union has chosen to speak publicly on the status of negotiations at five consecutive School Committee meetings and has already used these opportunities to address the full committee and to make their plea to settle the contract.  Yet recent negotiating sessions have been spent on extraneous issues not related to the contract offers at the insistence of the union bargaining team.  

Negotiations will go forward as scheduled on Monday. from Joyce Husseini

 

Latest from STA's Joyce Pires, on January 29:

Stoughton Teachers Association
The bargaining session on Monday, January 27th lasted from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There was no progress to report but there was animated discussion. The STA gave a fact sheet to the school committee team. The SC team assured us that they would share it with the full school committee in executive session at their meeting tonight, January 28, 2014.

Our next session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5th at 6:00 p.m. We will continue to keep you posted. Thanks for your continued support!


  CHAMBER CHANGES

It was the changing of the guard on January 6th at the New England Sinai Hospital. The Stoughton Chamber of Commerce said thanks and goodbye to long-time Chairman of the Board, Chris Petrie of Windsor Tire, and welcomed a new Executive Board. Elected as the new 2014 Chairman of the Board is Roger Kahan, CPA, a wealth care and tax settlement specialist based in Randolph. Kahan had served as the President of the Randolph Chamber of Commerce, as well. Named as the new Vice Chairman (replacing Beth Snell of Randoph Savings Bank) was local realtor Mark Leppo of Zip Realty. Staying as treasurer of the Chamber is John Jarvis of MAJ Business Services. Terry Schneider is the Executive Director of the Chamber, and his wife, Joanne, is the Membership Director.


NEW YEAR'S EVE DAY FATALITY

This morning, December 31st, at approximately 1:30 a.m., there was a motor vehicle crash on Route 138 (Washington St.) in Stoughton. The crash involved two vehicles, a 1994 Honda Accord and a 2011 Ford Edge. Both vehicles contained single occupant/operators. Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine tells Snyder's Stoughton, "We are saddened to report that the operator of the Accord, Christopher Lee Wengler (32) of North Easton, was declared deceased at Good Samaritan Hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The second operator was transported to be medically evaluated and is believed to have sustained minor injuries."

The Stoughton Police Detective Unit, in conjunction with

the Massachusetts State Police Vehicle Crash Reconstruction team and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office are currently investigating the circumstances that led to the crash. It is far too early to speculate on cause as the investigation remains fluid and on going.

 


 

 

NOTE DOESN'T WORK FOR WOULD BE THIEF

A would-be bank robber, wearing a wool hat, heavy jacket, and an uncovered face, tried to hold up the Randolph Savings Bank on Pleasant Street approximately at 5:45 p.m. Friday evening, December 20th, in Stoughton.

He passed the teller a note, according to the Stoughton Police social networking sites, and the teller didn't respond in a manner he'd have liked. Instead of giving him money, she gave him a look. Police said that when he got no money, he took off.

Anyone with information about the incident or with knowledge of the identity of the atttempted perpetrator should call the Stoughton Police at 781-344-2424.

(photo courtesy of Stoughton Police Department )

(Posted on December 21 @ 3 p.m.)

UPDATE:

Michael Holland, 35, of 100 Norton Avenue in Easton was charged on Monday, December 23rd with the attempted robbery at Randolph Savings Bank, 15 Pleasant St., Stoughton last Friday.

 

 

 

 


 

TOWN PLANNER:
“VACANCIES AREN’T NECESSARILY BAD”

 

Two more Stoughton businesses have closed their doors. The D'Angelos Sub Shop on Park Street closed late last week. The one on Central Street will remain open, according to management sources. Also closing was Charl's Restaurant in downtown Stoughton. That one is not a big surprise. They had never really caught on, with their limited night menu. However, the House of Brews, located in front of Town Hall, has been a big success, with its plush seating, fireplace, and unique hot and cold beverages. If you haven’t been to Leo Fay’s place, you should definitely stop by.

And, there is other good news as well. At least part of the vacant Friendly's Ice Cream location will be taken by Honey Dew Donuts, which is relocating from their closed downtown location. And, their former location may not remain empty much longer. There have been interested parties checking it out. Cumberland Farms/Gulf Station on Washington Street is closing, but building a brand new place in the former Bank of Boston building, and the lot where the old Stoughton bowling alley was located. Stoughton Carwash on Washington Street is adding a convenience store, and gas islands to their property. That side of this street should end up looking much better. The closed down NAPA Auto Parts Store on Wyman Street, which was owned by Lester Davis, has been sold. Depending on future permitting, it may soon be housing a cafe and a dry cleaning store. A new restaurant is also planned to occupy the closed-up train station when it is refurbished, if all of the efforts of the redevelopment authority and planning board come to fruition.

In other good news, Medical Recruitment, run by Joe McDonough, doubled the size of their office at 2 Canton Street. Steve Kelley, owner of the 2 Canton Street Trackside Plaza, sponsored 4 foot by 4 foot art pieces that were placed in front of the former location of Cheng Du downtown. Kelley, whose building houses many artists, told me, “We wanted to make people aware of the art community and diversity in Stoughton. We thank the Parsons family for letting us place them there.” The Stoughton Mural Project is currently on display downtown. When the building is finally rebuilt, the artwork will be auctioned off for charity, according to Kelley. In addition to Kelley, some of those involved since the start of the project during the summer include Sarah Feragen, Regina Ierardi, Bob Walker, Juanita Gomes, Beth MacNeil, and Planning Board chairman Joe Scardino.

There are, of course, two big question marks for the downtown—the planned South Coastal Rail and the State Theatre rejuvenation. The South Coastal rail, if it goes electric as planned, could bisect the downtown and a corridor throughout the town, causing safety concerns at crossings, and tying up traffic for miles when the train is parked at the Stoughton station. The town is working toward getting some mitigation, but unless it’s something like Hingham obtained (with its underground tracks), it may not solve the problem. I know that the Planning Board, the Town Planner, The Redevelopment Authority, and the Board of Selectmen are all working toward improving the downtown.

Town Planning Noreen O’Toole told Snyder’s Stoughton on Friday morning (12/27) that the Stoughton Pharmacy, a long time tenant in the square, has closed down, and their prescription service was purchased by Walgreen’s. She added, “The economic development component is that we’re trying to match up businesses with land use. I call our consultant and let them know of vacancies. There’s been some activity on the Shaw’s space. As for the downtown, we have to look at traffic, circulation and parking. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that we have vacancies. We need to find uses that people can walk or drive to. For instance, it appears the Parsons building (the burned down Cheng Du location) will have housing and retail development.”

As for the historic theatre building, which closed up years ago when it was then running as the Stoughton Cinema Pub, if it reopened it could be a solid anchor of the downtown. It would spur an impetus of businesses that would be around it, taking advantage of the foot traffic it would generate. Former Selectman John Stagnone and his wife own a long-term lease on the building, and with a large committee of volunteers (including this columnist), he is trying to raise the seven figures necessary to refurbish the building, make it compliant with the ADA, and raise it from the ashes to make a sparkling new fine arts center for the town. They are hiring consultants to generate business plans, and aid in the applications for grants. If by a small miracle, John pulls it off, it would truly be foreshadowing of good things for Stoughton Center.


BOARD OF SELECTMEN RACE EXPANDS….

The field is getting larger! Incumbent selectmen Steve Anastos & John Anzivino have pulled papers. Also pulling papers were David "Spanky" Sousa, Chairman of Stoughton's Christmas Parade of Lights; Transportation Consultant and former Selectman Joe Mokrisky; and Dawn M. Reardon, a former Town Meeting member, and a native of Thailand, is co-owner and operator of D & J Services. This should be interesting! I can’t wait for the debates.

MERRY NEW YEAR to all my readers !
“ This is not the first New Year. Nor is it the last! Then why do we celebrate New Years as if the world is about to end? Does a New Year justify a celebration? For a cynic, a New Year is just another day. But for an optimist, the New Year heralds the birth of hope.

You can make your New Year special by doing something special on the last day of the year. Or for that matter, on the first day of the New Year. Don't wait for the turn of a year to do a good deed. You can do it today. Think of each day as a blank sheet, which you can color with your dreams and aspirations. Celebrate each day as the New Year.”-- Simran Khurana

 

 


THE DUCK DYNASTY CONTROVERSY---MY TAKE

 


 

LET'S GET THIS THING DONE!

THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE vs THE TEACHERS

(The Story)

 


STOUGHTON TO RECEIVE INCREASE IN CPA FUNDING

The Stoughton Community Preservation Committee was notified late last month that the town will receive a higher than normal contribution this year from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

The additional revenue is coming from $25 million that has been deposited into the CPA trust fund from the state’s fiscal year 2013 budget surplus.

What that means for Stoughton is that it will have an additional $151,000 on top of the $127,000 that it had budgeted for this fiscal year. “We’re extremely happy” community preservation committee chairman John Morton said earlier this week. “It is a nice windfall, but with no guarantee that it will ever happen again.”

This year’s state match will represent roughly 52% of the revenue Stoughton collects locally, which is a much higher figure than the 26% match it had been expecting. Local revenues were also higher than expected.

Stoughton receives funds to be spent on CPA-related projects in two ways. At the local level, Stoughton charges a 1.5% surcharge on property tax bills (excluding the first $100,000 of assessed value). The town also receives a distribution from the state trust fund, which is raised from transaction fees at the Registries of Deeds throughout the Commonwealth.

Stoughton uses the money to fund projects that fit into any of the four CPA categories: open space, community housing, historic preservation and recreation. By law communities that have adopted the CPA are required to allocate at least 10% of their CPA revenue to each of the open space, historic preservation and community housing categories..

One of the reasons the state match was increased was a change in the CPA law last year. That amendment allows funds to be spent on the rehabilitation of existing recreational land, parks or fields. Prior to the change, CPA funds could only be used on recreational projects if they created new land, parks or fields.

The Community Preservation Act is statewide enabling legislation, which was adopted by Stoughton and approved by Town Meeting and by a vote of the residents in November 2008.

To find out more about the Stoughton Community Preservation Committee and current initiatives, visit the Community Preservation Committee page on the town’s website @ www.stoughton.org

 

 


TRASH TALK!

On Wednesday, December 25th, there will be no curbside trash collection in observance of Christmas Day. Trash collection for Christmas Day will be scheduled for Thursday, December 26th, in addition to the regular Thursday collection. This is standard procedure for any holiday.

On Wednesday, January 1st, there will be no curbside trash collection in observance of New Year's Day. Trash collection will be Thursday, January 2nd.

 CHRISTMAS TREES (with bags and stands removed) may be left at curbside on your regular RECYCLING collection day and will be picked up by a separate truck during JANUARY only; this is the only method of disposal. Christmas trees will not be accepted at the Recycling Center.

 The Transfer Station on Page Street is open every SUNDAY from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All rubbish and recyclables must be curbside by 7 a.m. on your collection day. No barrel over 30 gallon size will be emptied. Plastic containers, bags or boxes broken or damaged because of cold weather conditions or animals will be the responsibility of homeowners. Large household appliances (metal items) must be called into the Public Works for appointment for pickup.

 


 

STOUGHTON HAS NEW TOWN CLERK

The Stoughton Board of Selectmen voted at their December 10th meeting to appoint Amy Summers as Stoughton Town Clerk. She currently serves as Town Clerk for the Town of Lynnfield. Jeremy Gillis, a Stoughton resident who is Town Clerk in Easton, said that "Amy is an excellent pick" in a posting on my Facebook page.


 

 

STOUGHTON ELECTIONS SHAPING UP!

Story

 


 

 

SURVEY: HALF OF STOUGHTON TEACHERS
COULD BE LOOKING FOR JOBS

 

STORY

 


 

DANCE GROUP FEEDS FIRE DEPARTMENT

STORY


 

 

A SIGN OF THE TIMES

 

"Signs, Signs, everywhere there’s a Sign; blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind: do this, don’t do that—Can’t you read the signs?” were the lyrics to a 1971 tune by the Five Man Electrical Band. But, I can dig it. Have you seen the plethora of signs everywhere in Stoughton? From old yard sale signs on posts, to get rich quick signs on telephone poles, and a smorgasbord of signs advertising everything from pizza to car repairs, illegally placed in public places.

I wrote about this a number of years ago, when David Tonis was the town’s building inspector. At the time, he said he was getting mixed signals from that particular Board of Selectmen about enforcement of the law. Of course, when Tonis “clamped down” it was usually Page’s Market, Chuck and Cheese Pizza, and MurMac’s Roast Beef that were the only targets of his enforcement action. So, it’s nice to see that a new department head in the town is thinking in a different way.

Snyder’s Stoughton had a sit down with Building Inspector Tom McGrath and Assistant Building Inspector Jack Erickson at the plush national headquarters of PMPNetwork, Inc. at 4 Cabot Place earlier this week.

Erickson was recently hired as a result of a vote of Town Meeting to find McGrath some help to enforce the law. He was fully occupied with construction permits and public safety issues, and sign ordinances were not being enforced. McGrath says that now that he has Erickson, things are going to change.

“Jack was a building inspector in Plymouth and Walpole. He is going to start cracking the whip up and down Washington Street. He will also be covering for me when I’m out doing an inspection, on vacation, or out sick. It’s nice to finally have that kind of support in the Department,” McGrath said.

Erickson said his initial actions will involve “pulling signs off light poles, and public property.” But he wanted to give notice to all the business owners that signs on private property that are not properly permitted are also illegal. “Jack and I won’t be going on private property to pull down signs. But, we can certainly request the owners to pull them down. If removal is not done, then we have the right to ticket the owners. But, most people are willing to comply.” McGrath also emphasized that “We’re trying to do this even-handidly.”

If you are one of those that hates the clutter of signs inside windows, you’re not alone. But, McGrath says that “anything inside a store is legal. Once they are outside, they’d need a done, then we have the right to ticket the owners. But, most people are willing to comply.” McGrath also emphasized that “We’re trying to do this even-handidly.”

If you are one of those that hate the clutter of signs inside windows, you’re not alone. But, McGrath says that “anything inside a store is legal. Once they are outside, they’d need a permit, and have to meet our zoning requirements.”

McGrath said that when business owners refuse to cooperate with him on removal of their on-premise signs, he can take stronger action. “We can hold back their common victualler or liquor license, and really tie them up if they are jerks and won’t obey the law.”

He said that “temporary banners” are allowable by permit, and are good for 30 days. They can go for up to $100. They are an excellent way to advertise Grand Openings and Holiday Specials. And, they can be renewed month after month.

So, it appears that the cluttered look of sign after sign in the Town of Stoughton will soon disappear. I, for one, am very happy about that.

(I have to close with another lyric from “Signs” that I always loved, and in my current state of hirsuteness, it rings a bell: “And the sign says, ‘Long-haired freaky people need not apply.’ So I tucked all my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said ‘You look like a fine, upstanding young man - I think you'll do.’ So I took off my hat and said, ‘Imagine that! Huh, me, working for you!’")

 

(Photos and Story by Mark Snyder. Posted on November 19, 2013 @ 9 p.m.)

 

 


 

WHERE’S “WALDO” HARTMAN?

 

I remember the first time I spoke to former Superintendent of Schools Claire McCarthy. She told me that she would be working a five day week and added, “I will not be coming here on weekends. I’m not Tony Sarno. I have a life.” McCarthy went on to set the school department back two years, and Sarno had to come back out of retirement to fix it.

I only mention this because we have another Big Cheese in town with the same philosophy. Town Manager Mike Hartman is a likeable fellow. I have no problem with him at all. But, he has the same attitude about working “off time” hours. If it’s not a workday, he doesn’t show up.

This became crystal clear this past weekend when three events helped define the town and its people. On Friday night, SMAC held their Annual Awards ceremony, which was attended by former Town Managers Mark Stankiewicz and Joseph Feaster, and Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh. That same night, the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce roasted Police Chief Paul Shastany, a Department Head for the Town of Stoughton. The evening was a big success, with about 150 people packed into the Portuguese National Club to be a part of it. I wasn’t surprised that the school department wasn’t represented. It was disappointing, but not surprising. Many municipal employees were there, including Library Director Pat Basler, Executive Assistant to the Town Manager Reggie Kowalczykowski, Building Maintenance Supervisor Bob Grover, Town Planner Noreen O’Toole, Veteran’s Agent Mike Pazyra, Youth Commission and Council on Aging Director Karen Hall, Fire Chief Mark Dolloff (a roaster), and retired Treasurer Tom Rorrie. Selectman Steve Anastos was on the panel.

But one person’s absence stuck out like a sore thumb—Town Manager Michael Hartman.

On Monday, when Town Hall was closed to observe Veteran’s Day, Pazyra, who had hosted a re-flagging of all the town’s soldiers graves on Saturday, presented a full day of activities to honor those who have served from Stoughton. There was a parade, presentations at Town Hall and Faxon Veterans Memorial Park, and a long celebration of the life of Charlie Large—WWII veteran and Town Meeting Precinct Chairman—at the VFW. Then, there was the dedication of the memorial square for Herbert J. Lindelof. There was no sign of Hartman at ANY of these activities. Last Friday morning at O’Donnell Middle School was their annual salute to veterans, usually attended by the town managers of the past. No Hartman.

John Anzivino, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “I’d like to see him more engaged at town wide functions. I think the town is used to having their town managers at many events. The Board will have to talk with him if there’s a concern among the majority of our members. It seems he has not been making it to much of anything.”

Vice Chair of the Board of Selectmen, Cynthia Walsh, tells me, “I attend most town events. I would like to see him at the senior center, at least, which is open during weekdays. Our department heads go there regularly. I’m not asking for heavy lifting. I’m just talking about going around and saying hi. Previous Town Managers have told us exactly where they spent their time, and what meetings they attended. To me, part of the job of town manager is being visible.”

Selectmen Steve Anastos adds, “I’m a strong believer that the town manager should live and be active in the town. The previous Board felt that wasn’t a requirement when they did the search. I disagreed with them. Stankiewicz moved here and attended many functions. Frank lived here and was very involved. I think that’s the key---living in town.”

Hartman sat out the Memorial Day parade, and every other town event that was not held on a work day. He lives in nearby Canton and is being paid $140,000 a year by the taxpayers of this town. What does it say when he shows no interest in attending town events? I travel from the Cape to be here, because Stoughton is still in my heart. Is Stoughton in Hartman’s heart, or just in his wallet? I think the answer is obvious.

(Mark Snyder photo)

UPDATE

The Board of Selectmen, including all those quoted here, voted unanimously on Tuesday, November 19, to give Hartman their highest evaluation possible, and a 3% raise. Imagine if he showed up for stuff!

 

 


 

FAREWELL CHARLES LARGE

 

Lt. Charles Large was a WWII Hero, A Town Meeting Member Precinct Chairman, A Retired Firefighter, and one of the greatest men I ever met. He passed at age 89 on Saturday, November 2. He will be sorely missed by everyone who ever met him. May he Rest in Peace. Charlie will live on through the Charles Large Gazebo at Faxon Veterans Memorial Park.

(Mark Snyder photo)

 

Charlie Large Wake & Funeral Arrangements:
 
Monday (Veteran's Day)  Noon-2 p.m.- Tribute and Memorial at Stoughton VFW. Veterans, firefighters and police will be in full uniform.
Anyone who wishes to speak will get the opportunity. 
 
Monday (Veterans Day) 2-4 p.m. Calling hours/Wake at Farley Funeral Home, Park Street, Stoughton
 
Tuesday  (November 12) 10 a.m. - Funeral procession and burial at Evergreen Cemetery. The procession will pass by and slow at 31 Lowe Ave, 122 Walnut Street, the Stoughton Fire Department, and the Charles F. Large Gazebo.

 

MAN KILLED ON WEST STREET

Two Stoughton men have been arrested following an apparent altercation among housemates preceding the death of a 52-year old West Street resident.

Jonathan Munro, 52, of 275 West Street in Stoughton, was transported to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton on Saturday afternoon, where he was pronounced dead, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey and Stoughton Police Chief Paul J. Shastany.

“The facts and circumstances of this case are under active investigation by the Stoughton Police Department, the Norfolk District Attorney’s State Police Detective Unit and prosecutors from my office, with the assistance of the Crime Scene Services Section of the State Police and others,” District Attorney Morrissey said.    

Munro was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston and underwent an autopsy this afternoon (Nov. 3, 2013), Morrissey and Shastany said. The cause and manner of death remain undetermined pending further testing and review.    

Two of the several adults who reside at 275 West Street are currently under arrest charged with Domestic Assault and Battery. (Please note that the Domestic A & B statute encompasses those who reside together and is not limited to those with relationship or familial connection.)  

Arraignment is expected at or after 9 a.m. in the Stoughton District Court tomorrow for Robert Westbrooks, age 50, and Edward Aguiar, age 40, both of 275 West Street.       

This investigation remains very active, and we are awaiting further results of the autopsy.” District Attorney Morrissey said. No further release of information is anticipated prior to arraignment.

275 West Street is a 3 bedroom single family home, according to Stoughton records checked by Snyder's Stoughton. Westbrooks is the home's owner.

The Medical Examiner's determination of Cause of Death with determine if further charges are forthcoming. Currently, only a Domestic Assault and Battery is anticipated.

Both defendants pled not guilty at their Stoughton District Court arraignment On November 4. The Court set $100,000 cash bail and ordered that they return to court Dec. 4, 2013.

 

 


 

YELP'S TOP TEN STOUGHTON RESTAURANTS

(The List Changes Daily--here's 10/23/13)

YELP NAMES TOP TEN RESTAURANTS IN STOUGHTON: The website Yelp, which features reviews contributed by their readers, recently posted this list as the Top Ten Restaurants in Stoughton.  My own personal preference does have a few of these, as well as a few omitted.  But, here's their take (as of 10/23/13. It changes daily):   1. Mr. Chef’s, 490 Washington Street, 2. Chinatown Restaurant, 103 Sharon Street, 3. Chicken Kabob Restaurant, 756 Washington Street, 4. SuSu Sushi, 408 Washington Street, 5. Chateau/Nocera’s 1165 Park Street, 6. Lastoria Italian Bar & Grill, 577 Washington Street, 7. Cheng-Du Restaurant, 657 Washington Street, 8. Foley's Backstreet Grille, 531 Pearl Street, 9. Piezoni's, 839 Park Street, and 10. Jenna’s Place 434 Pearl Street.  What do YOU think of the list? What would your Top Ten look like? Send them to pmpco@aol.com and we'll share them in a future column!

 

 


 

 

DA Morrissey sponsors national training

On emergency response for school nurses

 

               Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey sponsored a national training for Norfolk County’s public school nurses, addressing how nurses can best integrate into a community’s response to a school disaster - either natural or man-made - as part of his ongoing campaign to enhance school safety.

               Stoughton Public School nurse Mary Quinn (pictured with the D.A.) joined more than 80 area colleagues taking part in the day-long seminar.

               “We are thinking through every aspect of student safety and trying to provide Norfolk County schools with as many tools and as much training as we can to improve security,” District Attorney Morrissey said after the conference. “Nurses form a natural part of the response to any school incident with injuries. We looked nationally, and this training program appeared to be among the best and most comprehensive available.”

               District Attorney Morrissey used funds forfeited in successful drug prosecutions to pay for the National Association of School Nurses’ Chris Tuck, a Kansas-based trainer and member of her state’s Committee on Safe and Prepared Schools, to come to Massachusetts and conduct the seminar.

              Morrissey said the training was a natural next step after providing I.M.P.A.C.T. assessments, from the MetroLEC regional law enforcement coalition, for one school in each Norfolk County community this spring. The Incident Management Protocols and Critical Tasks – I.M.P.A.C.T. – program is designed to help schools and police decrease or prevent injuries if a violent school event occurs. Bank of Canton President Stephen Costello donated the use of the seminar room at his corporate headquarters, as he has repeatedly done for law enforcement trainings.

               “The nurse’s training, the I.M.P.A.C.T. evaluations, our school safety grant program – none of it would be possible without the partnership of local school, police and community leaders,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “I want to thank the many nurses who attended and the administrations who are working with us to make our schools as safe as we can.”

 (photo and story provided by David Traub of Norfolk County DA's office)

 


 

CAPTAIN O'DONNELL HONORED BY SELECTMEN
with Medal of Valor

The Board of Selectmen gave Stoughton Fire Captain Robert O'Donnell a "medal of valor" for his assisting of victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. In his usual manner, O'Donnell shrugged of his heroism. As he told Snyder's Stoughton many months ago, he did anything any of his fellow department members would have done. Still, we're quite proud of him! His son Bobby Jr. is pictured in this photo provided by Steward Medical Group from another presentation of a Hero Award. Captain O'Donnell's mom pinned him with the Medal of Valor, after an introduction by Fire Chief Mark Dolloff. Selectman Chairman John Anzivino read a proclamation for O'Donnell.

VIDEO of the Ceremony by Jeffrey Pickette of SMAC.

 

 


 

CHASE RESULTS IN POLICE CRASH

Joseph Boucher, 19, of 245 York St. Stoughton threw a pair of pliers out of his window at a police cruiser, according to Stoughton Police Deputy Chief Robert Devine. His action broke the driver's side mirror of the cruiser, they allege.  Devine said, "He then proceeded to lead the officer on a high speed chase, which resulted in the officer crashing. Thankfully the officer is ok. Boucher was located by Officer Conforti after attempting to abandon the vehicle and placed under arrest. He is being charged with Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Failure to Stop for a Police Officer, Operating to Endanger, Malicious Destruction of Property, Wanton Destruction of Property, as well as various motor vehicle offenses."  Officer Medina, one of the Department's new recruits, was driving the cruiser and was "shaken up, but uninjured", according to Devine.  Devine adds, "Running from the police is a dangerous decision that can lead to others being hurt or even killed. Hopefully, next time this young man will exercise better judgment."

(photo courtesy of Stoughton Police Department)

 


 

STOUGHTON COUPLE ON REALITY TV

A Stoughton couple, and their company, All Season Tree Company, is being featured on a national TV show that debuts in October! Brian and Laura Kittery's company will be competing against three other tree companies in a reality show called "Big Bad Wood" on the National Geographic Channel. 

Here's how National Geographic described the show to Snyder's Stoughton in a news release sent via email:

 "It's one thing to cut down a tree in  the forest but when you're cutting down trees in an urban environment, there's a whole new set of obstacles. From power lines to irate neighbors, urban tree cutters encounter situations that forest loggers wouldn't dream of. Big Bad Wood follows four tree trimming companies in the Greater Boston area as they cut down trees in some of the most challenging and dangerous environments that a tree cutter can encounter."

Brian Kittery started his company after Hurricane Gloria took down a ton of trees in 1985, when he was 32. He bought a power saw, and things developed from there. The couple, who are natives of Wakefield, have lived in Stoughton for close to a quarter century. The company is headquartered in their Kinsley Street home. 

If you think a show about four crews cutting down trees is boring, then the National Geographic blurb on the first show might pique your interest:

“Four urban tree cutting crews take down giant trees right smack in the middle of greater Boston. The crew of All Season Tree Service starts its day off wrong when the bucket man shows up for work drunk and punches the owner. The cowboys of American Climbers have to avoid power lines and a locked, unmovable car on the street to remove a 70-foot box elder from a narrow yard. 

Specialized Rigging and Tree Care take down a towering white pine while giving a new crew member the chance to show his stuff. And a climber on the Tree Tech crew accidentally drops a "widow-maker" tree branch on the grounds men below.”  That episode of the series is entitled "Boston Tree Party." All the episodes have very clever titles.  Eight shows are titled, so far.

Sounds interesting to me!  Brian and Laura were closed-mouthed on the results of the show.  "We really can't talk about anything, unless the channel authorizes us," Laura told me. Brian, to this day, still doesn't know how he and his company got featured on the show. "We never applied.  The phone rang one night," he told me.

Residents in town might recognize some of the footage--some of it is at and around his Stoughton home. The show premieres Thursday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m.  National Geographic Channel is seen in Stoughton in HD on Comcast Channel 821 and Verizon 621. It's in regular digital format on Comcast Channel 210 and Verizon Channel 121.

( From Left to Right: Crew Chief - Kyle “Coyote” Keenan , Groundsman - Michael Conley, Owner - Brian Kittery, Bucket Chief - Jimmy ‘Goat” Scannell ) Credit:National Geographic Channel

 


 


 

STOUGHTON MOURNS JEFF CIFFOLILLO

Jeffrey A . "Jeff" Ciffolillo , 49, a resident of Canton for the past 17 years, died unexpectedly Sunday, September 22, 2013 at Norwood Hospital. He was the beloved husband of Carol (Heptig) Ciffolillo for 18 years and the amazing father of Christian and Colby Ciffolillo.  Although Jeff was from Canton, he impacted many of us in Stoughton.

Jeff was quite involved in Stoughton’s downtown. He was a landlord who valued his tenants, and tried to keep his properties looking good. At one point, Jeff owned the former 5 & 10 cent store that served as a temporary town hall, and also housed the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce. It now has a Church as its main tenant. He also owned the former Bay Bank building in the center of town, which houses Planet Security, Millennium Marketing, and a number of small businesses. And, he owned the former Stoughton Post Office building, which now houses a dentist, Betsy Disharoon. He currently owned the original Jewish Community Center building at 1044 Central Street, which has Amethyst Day Spa among its tenants.

As for his biography, his obituary notes that he was born in Somerville, New Jersey on August 11, 1964, son of Joseph and Joyce (Fink) Ciffolillo. He was raised in Easton and was a 1982 graduate of Oliver Ames High School. Jeff continued his education at UMass Amherst, graduating in 1986 with a Bachelor's degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and in 1988 he added a degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, NY. He later earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from UMass Amherst. He furthered his studies at Boston University, graduating in 2002 with an advanced real estate certificate and in 2006 he earned a degree in Construction Technology from Northeastern University, Boston. More recently, Jeff attended Harvard Business School of Continuing Education.

Jeff worked as a commercial real estate developer and was the Proprietor of both New England Realty Group of Canton and Home Helpers of Canton. A licensed registered broker and land developer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he was a member of the Board of Director's for Father Bill's & MainSpring. He was an avid golfer and collector of sports memorabilia. Jeff was a member of the Bay Club in Mattpoisett and a lifetime member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.

Terry Schneider , Executive Director of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce, was sitting in Ciffolillo's Red Sox seats Sunday when Jeff succumbed while attending the Patriots game.  He tells About Town, "Jeff was a friend of mine, someone who I trusted and respected.  He was way too young to have been taken from us, but we must accept what we cannot change and take this time to remember the wonderful person he was, mourn for our loss, and do everything we can to help his family get through this very distressful and shocking time."

John Yazwinski , President & CEO of Father Bill's & MainSpring, based in Quincy, wrote, "Jeff was a tremendous friend and a great leader to our mission at Father Bill's & MainSpring.  As a long time Board Member, Jeff was very instrumental in helping us create over 300 units of housing for families and individuals in need. There are a lot of children who are not homeless anymore because Jeff Ciffolillo believed in ending homelessness one life at a time."

State Department of Transportation employee Ed Coppinger tells About Town, “I got to know Jeff pretty well during the planning of the reconstruction project to revitalize downtown Stoughton a few years back. Jeff was always a fixture at the planning meetings and came with a smile on his face and always offered positive and straight forward advice concerning the scope of the project and how it would affect downtown merchants. It was through his input and expertise that made the project a success.

Adds Stoughton landscaper Phil Yaitanes, “Jeff was a longtime customer and also a personal friend. We just talked last week. My thoughts and prayers are with Carol and his family. I still can't believe it.”

In addition to his wife Carol and his parents, he is survived by his children, Christian and Colby Ciffolillo of Canton; his brothers, Joseph Ciffolillo of Mattapoisett, Jon Ciffolillo and his wife Julie of Mattapoisett and Jamie Ciffolillo and his wife Pam of Mattapoisett; son-in-law of Ruth Heptig of Canton and her late husband Christian Heptig; brother-in-law of William and Donna Heptig of Woburn and Robert Heptig of Wells, ME.; also survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend visiting hours on Thursday from 4-8 p.m. in Kane Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 605 Washington Street (Rte.138) Easton. A funeral Mass will be held on Friday at Noon in the Holy Cross Church 225 Purchase Street, Easton. Interment will follow in Canton Corner Cemetery, Canton. In lieu of flowers donations in Jeff's memory may be sent to Father Bill's & MainSpring, Development Office, 422 Washington Street, Quincy, MA. 02169. For directions or condolences visit www.kanefuneralhome.

Jeff will be missed by all of us who had the pleasure to know him. May he Rest in Peace.

 

(article posted 9/24/13. courtesy photo from Kane funeral home. Obituary also from Kane in Easton, MA)

 


 

STOUGHTON SCREWED AGAIN...

South Coast Rail to Divide Town, Cause Traffic Jams
and Pose Danger to our Students

We wrote this years ago---Stoughton would be the dumping ground of the collosal mistake known as the South Coast Rail. This TWO BILLION DOLLAR boondoggle to New Bedford and Fall River, is a giant waste of taxpayer dollars, a threat to the environment, and a danger to our citizens. But, as I wrote many moons ago, this was a fait accompli. Promises were made from Governor Patrick to State Senator Pacheco for his early supporter of Deval. Our own Representatives are weak and impotent to help. As I also wrote, it would be cheaper to drive those who actually commute from Fall River and New Bedford in limousines, with champagne and caviar, than to build this high speed financial disaster. Barney Frank, the man behind the recession, made promises to obtain the money. So, when the reps get the money, they spend it (mostly unwisely.) I will make a bet with any rep that this train never breaks even. Put your house on it. The MBTA has been sucking out taxpayer money all along. They are already losing tens of millions. What's a couple more billion.

It's very maddening. Stoughton continues to be the dumping ground--with Chapter 40 B housing (Quail Run and Lodge at Stoughton, two of the leading sites of police calls), the NSTAR monstrosity, and the town dump that is becoming more of a mountain on a daily basis (but could become a useful solar field.)

It's enough to make me scream out my office windown on Cabot Place---but no one on Beacon Hill is listening.

The State's "Fact" Sheet


 

TOWN OF STOUGHTON

 


The Town of Stoughton Public Works Department will be conducting a water main flushing program starting on Monday September 30, 2013 and continuing for approximately two weeks.  The majority of the work will be done between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

The areas to be flushed will include Morton St. (Forest to Plain ), Plain St. (Morton to West) and West Street (Plain to Ames Pond).  This will include but not limited to all side roads.   For a complete list of streets you can go to www.stoughton.org 

The activity will cause discolored water in varying degrees in this section of the Town. Persons who experience water discoloration should flush their systems by opening the
cold water faucet for a few minutes and then waiting for about an hour.  If the water is still not clear, they should repeat the flushing procedure.

The Public Works Department regrets that it cannot be responsible for any damages incurred as a result of the flushing activity, which is a necessary and normal maintenance function of the Water Department.

 

 

Stoughton Detectives are investigating an alleged home invasion that occurred today (September 11) at 12:16 p.m.at an apartment in the Buckley Rd. complex. Two dark- skinned males wearing hooded sweatshirts and bandanas allegedly entered an unlocked apartment, tied up the occupant while threatening him with a knife and proceeded to search the residence. Stoughton Police arrived immediately upon being called, but learned the event had occurred several minutes before being reported. The investigation is ongoing and developing. Stoughton Detectives do not believe this to be a random act of violence and we urge our residents to maintain calm. If anyone in the area has any information that may lead to the capture of these two males, please call the Stoughton Police Department at 781-344-2424.

 


 

HOW DID STOUGHTON SCHOOLS FARE?

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) earlier this year evaluated the Stoughton Public School District, and issued their final report in May, 2013. At the beginning of the School Committee meeting on September 10, 2013, Associate DESE Commissioner Eva Mitchell presented that report.

Mitchell said that the district had many positives that outweighed the challenges it faced. She also said that the Stoughton School Department "has taken us up on everything we've offered to assist them."

She had ten recommendations for the District, including having a third party individual act as a go-between from the administration to the Stoughton Teachers Association; Giving teachers sufficient timely data on students, and the proper time to review it; Attracting a more diverse staff, through recruitment policy that reflects more the student makeup, via things like recruitment fairs; More training for teachers to benefit high needs students; all students should be taking "meaningful courses." She suggested eliminating the "Pathways" courses at SHS, or using them ionly as supplemental courses; Having the budget more closely aligned with the District's future plans.

Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Ford, who is in charge of curriculum, said the District had embraced the plan of "smart goals." (a S.M.A.R.T. goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.)

 

THE REPORT


STOUGHTON MOTHER AND DAUGHTER APPEAR ON "KATIE"

 

 On Monday, September 9th Season Two premiere of the nationally syndicated daytime talk show, “Katie,” 4-year-old Darla Holloway, who sang “God Bless America" at Fenway Park recently, and her mother, Sherelle, both of Stoughton, appeared on the show to discuss Darla’s diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The international press reported on Darla's singing of "God Bless America" at a Red Sox-Orioles game in late August.  The Daily Mail in Great Britain wrote, "As she started singing into the microphone, the crowd and the baseball players rose in respect.  With her tiny voice echoing around the silent stadium, players and coaches stood motionless with their hands on their hearts. A policeman also listened intently, clearly moved by the young performer. As she reached the climax of her performance, the crowd rose and cheered. A woman could be seen wiping tears from her eyes.

The toddler, as reported by WebProNews, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year and is now undergoing chemotherapy as part of a two-year treatment plan. 

Before the performance, her mother gave an interview to the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, which ran on WEEI-FM and NECN. In it, she said her daughter was diagnosed with the illness after constantly complaining of feeling tired.  Mrs Holloway explained the moment she was told by doctors her daughter had leukemia.

 'I was a sobbing mess that day', she said. 'It was overwhelming just to hear.

'She is dealing with it and we are all dealing with it and we are happier now.'

The youngster was appearing at the stadium thanks to The Jimmy Fund, which raises money for cancer patients in the Boston area.

Photos courtesy of NESN and "Katie"

 


 

FOUR ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES

(STORY HERE)


 

STOUGHTON TEACHERS SHORTCHANGED IN PAYCHECKS?

Educators were shortchanged in paychecks distributed Thursday, the Stoughton Teachers Association has charged.

In a news release they wrote:

" The school committee and superintendent refused to pay contractually guaranteed rates, which the STA contends is a violation of the law.

In June, school Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi and the Stoughton School Committee told the STA that teachers would not receive their previously approved step increases, meaning salaries would not be increased for length of service, after the current contract expires and while a new contract is negotiated. But the STA, in an attempt to avoid taking legal action, pointed out that past practice and state law require that terms and conditions of employment (including step increases) must remain unchanged until a new contract is negotiated and that educators are entitled to the step increases established in the contract that expired Aug. 31.

The STA filed a charge of prohibited practice with the state Department of Labor Relations and an investigation is scheduled for Sept. 23.

 “This is yet another example of the district disrespecting teachers by failing to honor its obligations,” said STA President Andrea Pires.  “The salary schedule in the contract that just expired is supposed to be in effect until we reach a new agreement. I am concerned that the school committee is making it harder to reach that agreement as it continues to bargain in bad faith and treat teachers this way.”

Pires also expressed concern that the administration’s persistent violation of the law is creating a situation where vital resources are being  diverted from the classroom to pay for legal fees for an attorney to defend the unlawful actions of the superintendent and the school committee.

Last month, the Department of Labor Relations found probable cause that the school committee violated the law when failing to negotiate with the STA over a schedule for training sessions for the new teacher evaluation system.  The investigator further found probable cause that the administration illegally interfered in union business.  A hearing on that complaint is being scheduled."

 

School Committee Chair Joyce Husseini responds:

 

The School Committee began negotiations with the Stoughton Teacher’s Association (STA) on February 4, 2013. We have met regularly up until our last bargaining session. At our last bargaining session on August 26 th, the School Committee’s negotiators offered to meet once more before the end of the contract and the beginning of the school year to present yet another proposal but that offer was turned down by the Teacher’s Association. The School Committee did offer another proposal by email on August 30 th. This offer was in direct response to the Teacher’s Association’s concerns that the School Committee was not doing enough to attract and retain new teachers. Since February 4 th there have been three substantive offers on the table by the School Committee. Each offer presented a fair but new salary plan that included increases which are equitable and also sustainable in light of budgetary constraints. The STA made no movement to come to resolution. In fact, the STA filed their Unfair Labor Practice against the School Committee for non-payment of steps on July 11, 2013, demonstrating that they had no intention of having a negotiated contract in place for the beginning of the school year.

On the opening day of school, Andrea Pires, STA President, told the teachers that the School Committee was proposing a cut in pay, a longer school day, and less sick days. This is a gross misrepresentation of the School Committee’s proposals. The latest proposal has a base pay and step structure that increases the starting salary of a new teacher by 10% and increases pay for teachers at the top step by 1%. This is without any consideration for other contractual increases in compensation such incentives for new programming or educational advancement. The Committee’s plan spreads the increase over a few additional steps, thereby reducing our yearly escalation in our salary line in the budget. No one will be taking home less money than they did the year before, and many will be taking home substantially more. We have asked to increase the school day at the Middle and High School levels by 40 minutes per week (eight minutes a day) to allow us to overhaul the High School schedule and thus be able to offer our students an opportunity to take more electives. This proposal would allow our students to fit in desired classes that are often bumped from their schedules due to conflicts. At all levels we are working to build more teacher collaboration time into the schedule. And lastly we have not proposed the elimination of any sick time, rather the tightening of reporting and documentation of sick time in excess of three consecutive days. This is in large part to answer to the rampant abuse of sick time that has for too long infected the culture of the system. This pattern of abuse was recently highlighted in our District Review by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The tactic of the Teacher’s Association in filing numerous unfounded complaints, Unfair Labor Practices, and grievances timed with the expiration of their contract is not new. It is a common tactic used by the statewide Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA). It is an intimidation tactic used to try to gain public support and sympathy. In the past they have used political demonstrations, votes of no confidence, and work to rule practices to garner attention. These practices are extremely irresponsible and only hurt our students. We are deeply troubled that the Association has stooped to these radical tactics to win what they could not gain at the bargaining table. These hurtful tactics only benefit the Association while damaging the finances and reputation of the Town of Stoughton. The School Committee is extremely grateful for the overwhelming support in the town for the schools, including our most recent efforts to secure funding for new school facilities. While Ms. Pires has already asked her union membership to cease all but a limited number of volunteer activities, the School Committee is ready to continue to bargain a fair agreement for the teachers and the taxpayers.

All of the other School bargaining units in the schools have reached agreement and had ratified fair agreements, including the Unit B administrators (Vice Principals and Directors) which are also represented by the MTA. All completed collective bargaining contracts, including the expired Unit A contract, will be posted to the school website at:

http://www.stoughtonschools.org/Committee/sccontracts/.

We are grateful that the other unions worked with us to come to agreement on equitable contracts that offer our employees a reasonable increase of 2.5% now and into the future. These agreements provide long term predictability and sustainability, and provide security for our employees. The School Committee and administration deeply value our teachers and want to continue attracting first choice teachers into the system by continuing to offer competitive salaries. We urge the Teacher’s Association to share with its membership the entirety of School Committee proposals, and to come to the table prepared to work towards resolution of the contract.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

State board issues complaint
against Stoughton School Committee

 

The state Department of Labor Relations found probable cause that the Stoughton School Committee violated the law by unilaterally implementing new policies affecting teachers’ work schedules and interfering in the business of the Stoughton Teachers Association, according to a press release of the STA.

“Over the past four years, the school committee and the administration have ignored the contract and the law on numerous occasions, so we are pleased that the labor board found probable cause that they broke the law and failed to bargain in good faith,” said STA President Andrea Pires.  

The labor board issued its complaint of prohibited practice on Aug. 22 after investigating an unfair labor practice charge the STA filed in February. Amid negotiations last year to set up a training schedule for a new teacher evaluation system, the Stoughton School Committee unilaterally determined that all training sessions would take place outside of contractual hours, and that teachers would not be paid for their time. The investigator further found probable cause that the administration illegally interfered in union business.

"This was all avoidable because ultimately the school committee and administration agreed to schedule the training during work hours.  After we filed the original charge, we began negotiations for a new contract and, regrettably, the school committee and administration have continued to find new ways to violate the collective bargaining law.  As a result, the STA intends to pursue the original charge and has filed a new unfair labor practice charge," said Pires.

 A formal hearing is expected to take place in January.

In a related matter, Nicholas Chalupa, Investigator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Labor, said he did "not find probable cause to believe that the School Committee violated the law in the manner alleged" and dismissed another portion of the charge.

Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, tells Snyder's Stoughton, "There can be a lot of confusion about the Labor Relations Commission process.  When a party files a complaint, as the STA did in this case, there is a pre-hearing conference at which time a hearing officer decides if the case is even worth hearing at that level.  Most of the time the case is moved on to hearing.  It is exceedingly rare for the responding party ( School Committee in this case) to get a complaint dismissed at the first level.  What this document means is that the hearing officer decided that there was enough to examine or find facts about to have a hearing in this matter.  It does not mean that there has been any finding of fault whatsoever, only that the matter is worth a hearing in the mind of that hearing officer, and so he has moved if forward to the hearing stage.  Nothing, in short, has been decided, except that a hearing should be held on the Union's allegations."

It should be noted that the contracts of Stoughton teachers expires this weekend.

(THE COMPLAINT)

Posted on August 29 2013 @ 4:30 p.m. Photo by Mark Snyder


 

 

 

A SCUMBAG STEALS FROM AN AUTISTIC BOY....

and a Town answers back....

 

(Watch It)

 

 

 


 

STOUGHTON POLICE LEAD WITH TECHNOLOGY

The Stoughton Police Department was the first department in the world to use QR codes on their cruisers, which allowed smart phone users to be able to go directly to the SPD web site.  One department in England had used QR codes on some signs for advisories, but Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany and Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine are proud of the Department’s early use of technology.  Snyder's Stoughton sat with both on Tuesday to discuss it. 

Now, the Stoughton Police Department---and the Stoughton School System—are about to embark on the next journey of effective technology designed for the safety of residents, school children, and staff.   Smart-911 comes at a cost of $14,000 for the first year.  It was not available in the police department budget, but Shastany said that “through the generosity of Dr. Rizzi and the School Department, we will be able to implement the program. It gives a big advantage for students and their parents. It gives students, teachers, administrators and staff a direct link to the police department through their cell phones. Any concerns for safety would appear on the computer display of our dispatchers.”

 

For instance, if a staff member texted “active shooter,” Devine explained, “the dispatcher would be able to verify the caller’s identity, activate their exact location in the school building, and could text with that individual. It would give us more information that we could ever have hoped to have obtained under the current system.” The current system sends all 9-1-1 cell phone calls to the State Police dispatchers.  Under the Smart 9-1-1, calls are directed to the exact jurisdiction of the callers. 

 

The police, through this story, hope to get people to register at www.smart911.com.  The more residents, business owners, students and school staff that register, the more effective the system is.  Devine said that individuals can note their medical conditions, like diabetes or Parkinson’s, any allergies, pets, or other details that could help first responders be more effective.  The system uses Google Maps to pinpoint coordination inside a building. The program pops up as incidents are reported, so dispatchers know exactly where calls come from.  For instance, if a call came from the high school, the dispatcher would see on his or her screen the exact location in the building where the caller was. 

 

One result of the Smart 9-1-1 program would be that more calls would come into the dispatchers at both the police and fire departments.  Chief Shastany said that his department is preparing for this. “We’re hoping by the end of September to get the hardware upgrade that would enable us to use the new system. It has been approved by the Town Manager. The next generation 9-1-1 is upon us. We’re planning on consolidating with five central dispatchers. We’re working with the HR department to modify current contracts to allow us to implement this system. Everyone will need extra training, and their will be a necessary construction build out. I don’t want police officers in dispatch when I need them on the road.” 

Shastany said that he is working on saving money in his budget to try to do some of these things. “We’re trying to use existing resources, and save on things like subscriptions. We’ve tried to migrate over to the software. We’re going to be more and more an electronic department.” In addition, Shastany said, “This program lends itself to the idea of a combined public safety building. This is something we will need in the future, but I’m focused on our immediate needs. The process for our current building to evaluate future needs was not done here.”

 

 Devine said that in many ways the department has already gone in that digital direction. “Currently, using CrimeReports.com, residents can check the town neighborhood by neighborhood to seek out what they feel may be the safest areas.  Consequently, we’ll use that same information to determine patrols, placement of officers, and where to send them shift by shift. There will also be civilian modules for live apps for smart phones. They’ll be able to alert you if something happens in an area you specify.” Both Shastany and Devine urge residents to set up a profile with www.smart911.com. “All the information, including photos, gets sent to our dispatch. It allows first responders to know your medical issues, if you have a pet, etc.  And, it’s for your protection. For instance, if your profile indicates you have a restraining order out, and specifies the model of car and license plate, and a photo of the individual, even if you call 9-1-1 and hang up, our officers would get a screen shot of the information, and our officers would be able to check for the vehicle. Circumstances could justify entry.”

 

It should be noted that any data submitted to the smart911.com website is confidential and remains private.  The police cannot access any of this information, unless you call 9-1-1. 

 

(Posted on 8/21/13 @ 8 a.m.)

 

 

 

 


 

 

STOUGHTON WOMAN WORKS
FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN IN ISRAEL

 

Liz David-Dembrowsky , a 1990 Gibbons Elementary School grad, is now living in Manhattan, and working for an organization called Keren Or, the Jerusalem Center for Blind Children with Multiple Disabilities.

Dembrowsky, raised in a Christian household (her dad is infamous local attorney and cable TV host Jack Dembrowsky), is on track to convert to Judaism. She tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “I want to convert. I’m 35 and don’t have children yet. I would like my kids to be Jewish. My Rabbi died recently, so I am looking for another to lead me.”

This dynamic woman is also an author. She appeared on Snyder’s Stoughton TV show to talk about her book “My Monk” about three years ago. At the time, she was dating a Romanian liver surgeon. She is now married to him, and he is still trying to secure a residency in America, so he can begin practicing medicine here.

She was working for the Jewish Federation, when she heard of the work Keren Or was doing with children with multiple physical and mental issues. “They take the most difficult kids,” she told me, “There are blind autistic children in wheelchairs, and others with no where else to go.”

The staffing is a 2-1 ratio of staff to students, and the program is also accepting disabled adults, as well. “It’s so expensive to run. There’s just not enough money to fund the program.” So, Dembrowsky took on the role of raising the much-needed funds to keep the Israeli place going. She runs into anti-Israel and anti-Semitic people all the time. “I don’t understand how they can feel that way about a program that helps children that no one else wants to help. This program literally saves parents, and their marriages.”

She is now the Executive Director of Keren OR, and tells me that one parent told her, “We know our children won’t be doctors or lawyers. We just hope our daughter will remember who she is.” Liz saw the need right away and researched the organization and the program. “I saw that 93% of all money raised goes to the programs for the children. It rated four stars on Charity Navigator. I met with the Board and was hired last February. I traveled to Israel last June and met with therapists, teachers and staff. We all have the same goals for the children and adults in the program—we want each to reach their own potential.”

Dembrowsky came back to Stoughton Monday night for a fundraiser at Jake’s Wayback Burgers. The Lopes family donated 20% of all purchases that night to Keren OR, Inc.

High in the hills of Ramot, overlooking the city of Jerusalem, sits Keren Or. Recognized as a pioneer in the field of visual impairment and multiple disability when it was established over 30 years ago, Keren Or is the only center of its kind in the world under Jewish auspices devoted to the care, rehabilitation, and education of blind, multiple-disabled children and young adults.

To donate, go to keren-or.org. To reach Liz, email Elizabeth@keren-or.org.

(Story and photos by Mark Snyder)

 

 

 

 

 


 

MANY RESIDENTS STEP UP & VOLUNTEER

The Board of Selectmen made their appointments for volunteer committees on Tuesday, August 6th.   Here is the list of those who stepped up and volunteered!


Board of Assessors-- One Year-- Debra Roberts Appointed
Board of Assessors--Three Years--Louis Jutras Reappointed
Borderland State Park--Three Years--Ardis Johnston Reappointed
Capital and Financial Planning Committee--One Year--John Hudson, William Manburg, Alan Olans, Debra Roberts, and Leon Rudman were Reappointed
Community Preservation Act Advisory Committee-- Three Years-- Laurice Rubel Reappointed
Council on Aging-- Three Years-- Michael Hirsch Reappointed and Rajendra Mathur Appointed
Cultural Council--Three Years-- Teresa Tapper Reappointed and Sharon Fradkin and Martin West Appointed
Library Trustees--Three Years-- Barbara Canavan and Sheila Osborne Reappointed
Old Colony Planning Council Three Years-- Robert Kuver Appointed; Forrest Lindwall Appointed to remaining 1yr alternate
Planning Board-- Five Years-- Michael Sammarco Reappointed
Zoning Board of Appeals-- One Year Alternates-- Rajendra Mathur and Fayssal Husseini Appointed


 

USED CARS, AND A POWDERY SUBSTANCE

 

Stoughton may well be the used car capitol of the world.  The Valero gas station, across from the vacated Shaw’s and Friendly’s, has permission to go from 5 to 8 used cars, and to add sale signs on each car.  Owner Mr. Hawies got an amendment to his Class II Dealer license Tuesday night. Selectman TJ Recupero asked him to keep the three latest vehicles in back of his building, and to put in a couple of planters of shrubbery in front of his place to make it more aesthetic. He also requested it be painted.  But neither request was in the final motion made by Selectman Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh that passed unanimously.  Before the Selectmen approved the increase to eight cars, Chairman John Anzivino had said that Hawies had “violated the previous conditions for the five cars. You’ve had twenty cars sitting there. You blatantly disregarded previous conditions. You’ll need to convince me you’ll honor the new conditions when you had not honored the previous ones for some time.”  Evidently, Anzivino was convinced.  But, he did emphasize that the conditions would be revisited for compliance.

Ironically, the day after Hawies was given the chance to sell more used cars, and told to clean the place up, his fire extinguishing system sprayed white powder on everything in sight. Photo was taken by Tom Fitzgerald.


 

JAMIE KELLY SERVING AS ACTING TOWN CLERK

Jamie Kelley, Stoughton's Director of Human Resources, has added another title to his resume. Since the departure of Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney to Florida, he has served as Interim Town Clerk. It wasn't supposed to go down that way. The plan was to bring back a retired Town Clerk to serve in the Interim while a new Clerk was found. But, it didn't work out that way.

Kelley tells Snyder's Stoughton that he has placed ads in the MMA and professional journals, and so far, has received 18 resumes from interested candidates for the position. "We asked for people with certification or comensurate professional experience and I'm pleased with many of the candidates. Kelley said that he's hoping to set up the first round of interviews for two or three weeks from now. Then, he'd like to recommend between three and six candidates for interviews with the Board of Selectmen about two weeks after that. It could be two months before a new Town Clerk is in place.

Kelley said he has been working 65 hour weeks. "I've been working alongside the Superintendent of Schools in their negotiations for contracts. All but the teacher's union has come to an agreement. The unions from the school and municipal side are now on equal footing and are negotiating from the same page. We won't have any unions complain that another union got a better deal. This is really all about trust. I am working hard to gain the trust of the unions so they know that everyone is going to get a fair deal."

Kelley added that Maureen Doherty, the town's Procurement Officer, is now working with the schools, as well. "Everyone is getting along. It makes things go a little smoother." It seems a long time removed from the days of Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. and Supt. Dr. Marguerite Rizzi battling, and former Procurement Officer Lindsay Pope battling with former FinCom Chair Holly Boykin. And, that's a very good thing.

Selectmen included a small "bump" for Kelley in their consent agenda of August 6th. Selectman Chairman John Anzivino said, "The temporary process didn't pan out. We decided to leave Mr. Kelley in the interim position. It could be for a total of four or five months. I thought we'd give him a little bump to compensate him for his work." Kelley told me he did not ask for the increase in pay, but he appreciates it. It amounts to about $40 a week.

(Posted on August 6 at 10:30 p.m.)

 


 

 

SWAT TEAMS ON LINCOLN STREET

 

The Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council SWAT team formed a caravan on Lincoln Street today, startling neighbors, and getting a large gathering of onlookers. Stoughton Police Deputy Chief Bob Devine told Snyder's Stoughton that "we were serving a search warrant. We've started using SWAT resources from MetroLec to make entries safer for our officers. Two people have been arrested, so far." The warrants were served at 100 Lincoln Street, a multi-unit residence, according to Willow.com.

Devine says that Joshua Ortiz, 21, of 100 Lincoln Street, was arrested for possession with intent to distribute Class B (crack and Oxycontin). Tatiana Mercado, who will turn 40 on August 17, was arrested on outstanding warrants, both for Assault and Battery. She was booked by Sgt. Donna McNamara. Mercado gave a Taunton address. Both are currently being booked at the Stoughton Police Station.

 

(Top photo: Mark Snyder Bottom photo courtesy of Metro Swat)


 

SAVE THE STATE THEATRE TO GET $50,000

John Stagnone, who is heading an effort to reopen the historic State Theatre downtown, was happy to hear that State Reps William Galvin and Lou Kafka, and State Senator Brian Joyce had included $50,000 for the Theatre in the Massachusetts Historical Commission budget. Governor Deval Patrick had vetoed the expenditure, fearing that taxing MA residents an additional HALF A BILLION DOLLARS just wasn't enough. But, the legislature overrode his veto, and Stagnone and his group of volunteers will have some seed money.

Stagnone said the next step, after the recent code review, is the business and marketing plan (economic impact, market analysis and operating budget), which is needed for the grant writing. "We are now an approved 501c3 non profit. We'll talk to Kathleen McCabe, economic development consultant for the Town's Master Plan. We'll take her for a tour. We'll work with the Town Manager and the Town Planner to file for some community development block grants. We'll look at those after the first of the year."

Stagnone tells Snyder's Stoughton that State Rep. Kafka's office "will set up a meeting in the near future to see about getting a check cut."

 


DID YOUR TOWN MEETING REPRESENT YOU?

The next time you pick up a ballot and vote for Town Meeting members to represent your precinct, you should do a little homework. Does your town meeting rep actually show up? Many don't. Every year I write up an article about it, and include the overall attendance sheet for all eight precincts. Some reps never even show up to a single meeting. If your reps don't show up, you are being short-changed. Some were sick---others just sick of Town Meeting.

Here's a roundup of the best and worst in each precinct (includes Organizational Town Meeting & the seven sessions):

In Precinct 1, two members had perfect attendance. They were Dr. Carol Brown (of the school committee) and (selectman) Robert O'Regan. Those missing only one meeting were Precinct Chairman Elliot Hansen, Chester Collins, John and Julie Linehan, and Cynthia Mompoint. The worst? Joan Spicer (attended once) and Charlene LaFerriere (attended twice).

In Precinct 2, the best attended Precinct in the Town, 12 members had perfect attendance. They were Precinct Chairman Mark Snyder, Jeffrey Blacker, Scott and Stephanie Carrara, Anita and Richard Hill, Phyllis Kelleher, (precinct secretary) Mary Ann Killgoar, (deputy moderator) Bob Mullen, Paul O'Leary, Jaoquin Soares, Jr., (selectwoman) and Cynthia Walsh. Missing only one was Pct Vice Chair George Dolinsky, Peter Murphy, Larry Sauer, and David Walsh. Worst attendance was Heidee Anastos, who came to one meeting.

In Precinct 3, seven members had perfect attendance. They were Robert Blumenthal, Laura Bushlow, Richard "Dick" Fitzgerald, John and Rachel Morton, John Roch, Antonio "Tony" Sousa, and David Young. Missing one meeting was Pct Chairman Dennis Gada, Lisa Anderson, John Perry III, and Christine Shannon. Worst attendance was recorded by Donna Ayers, Richard Blea, and (Stoughton High Vice Principal) Mike O'Neil, who all attended only two meetings.

In Precinct 4, perfect attendance was turned in by eight members. They include Dr. Roberta Camacho, (FinCom member) Patricia Colburn, Pct. Chair Juliann and Louis Gitto, Ardis Johnston, Gerald McDonald, Stephen Shepherd, and (school committee member) Deborah Sovinee. Missing only one meeting was (fincom member) Barbara and (selectman) John Anzivino. Worst attendance was turned in by Shawn Croke, who attended two meetings, and Carlos Vargas, who attended three.

In Precinct 5, four members turned in perfect attendance. They included Janice Esdale, Pct Chairman Eric Kolman, Forrest Lindwall, and Larry Verdun. Missing only one meeting was Elaine Breen, Cindy Pazyra, Kathy Silva, and Edward Trunfio. The worst attendance was Jeffrey and Keril Cabral, and Joe Mokrisky. All did not show up for any meetings at all.

In Precinct 6, three people turned in a perfect attendance job. They included Joseph Figueiredo, Joseph Madden, Jr., and Janice Schneider. Missing only one meeting were Russell Clough, Ed DeFelice, James Gearin, Joseph Piana, and Mary Shea. Worse attendance was from Arlene Bown, who missed them all, and Faith Weiner, who showed up for one.

In Precinct 7, six members had perfect attendance. They include Dianne Dolan, Jeanne Fleming, Donald Interrante, Pct. Chair Elizabeth Pietro, Paula Smith, and Robin Zoll. Those who missed only one meeting included Candace Fisher, Billy Mote, Nancy Patterson, and Paul Smith. Worst attendance was turned in by Margaret Buresh, who missed every meeting; and Roger Kahan, who attended two.

Finally, in Precinct 8, five members had perfect attendance, including Denise Bronsdon, Frank Lyons, Jr., Allan MacNeil, Wendy McAlister, and Precinct Chair Frances Stetson. Missing only one meeting were John Kavin, Fred Simms and Teresa Tapper. Worst attendance was turned in by Aina McMann, Steven Mitchell and Peter Ventresco. All three missed every meeting.

 

TOWN MEETING 2013 ATTENDANCE


 

TWO NEW BUSINESSES OPEN IN STOUGHTON

STOUGHTON HOUSE OF BREWS

A former eyesore has been renovated into a thing of beauty by Leo Fay, a member of the Board of Assessors, and his wife Sandra. The former Porter Street Pub, located adjacent to Town Hall on Porter Street, has been transformed into Stoughton House of Brews, a beautiful establishment that sells coffee, fruit, baked goods, and pastries in the morning, and beer, wine and appetizers in the evening.

With comfortable couches, a fireplace, a sleek wooden bar, and plush seating, the place begs you to come in and plant yourself. It's like going to a neighbors, and sinking into their living room chair. The Fays spent 18 months renovating and hitting town hall for the necessary permits, but their long journey has come to a wonderful end with the opening this weekend.

The evening tavern, which features local crafted brews, is a welcome addition to the downtown. There is finally a classy place to take a date, enjoy chicken wings, meatballs or sliders, and a classic dessert, with an upscale brew or glass of wine.

The prices are reasonable, and the place is sure to be packed. They offer WiFi, for those who want to sip a coffee in the morning and do their work. I'm hoping all their hard work will pay off in great success. Check out their morning menu in the photo, along with others I took on my visit there on Thursday morning, July 25.

 


The way it looked before....

(All photos by Mark Snyder)

Chic 2 CharityThrift Store

Chic 2 Charity Thrift Shop opened up in the former Family Dollar Store on Rt. 138 in Stoughton in the Citizens Bank Plaza, adjacent to the STOYAC Community Field. Owner Janelle Polomba owns a consignment shop in Foxboro. What doesn't sell there is sent to her thrift shops in Brockton (at Westgate Mall Plaza) and in Stoughton. Polumba also donates to a large number of charities, mostly in the Foxboro area. She says, "We donate $100.00 per full bin of clothing given to us by our consignors each month to a variety of 501c3 non profits. In our first 4 months of operation this has added up to $6,229.00 dollars we given to local charities in addition to allowing women living in area domestic violence shelters to shop at our charity store free of charge. In adddition to clothing donated by our customers we also pay 50 cents per pound in our Foxboro location directly to individuals and fundraising organizations to help keep our charity store stocked with quality merchandise."

When asked where the clothes come from, Janelle responded, "About half of the clothing is donated by our 6,000 plus consignors and about half is purchased from our customers at our Foxboro location and at fundraising events. None of the clothing sold in our stores comes from outdoor donation bins like other “thift” stores. At our express Cash 4 Clothes Consignment Drop Off we ask each consignor in the event that any clothing is rejected for consignment due to age, brand name, season or condition “Would you like to pick up those items or donate them to our charity store?” Over 75% of our consignors choose to donate their unaccepted items. The clothing we purchase at our store and at fundrasing events is weighed on a scale and you are paid instantly 50 cents per pound. This direct purchasing helps give us quality inventory not found at typical thrift stores relying on outdoor bins."

Prices are dirt cheap, and there are offerings for men, women and children. All handbags, 2 piece suits, dresses, coats and blazers are $5. All shoes, sneakers, sandals, and boots are $4. All jeans, pants, skirts, shorts, activewear and tops are $3. All children's clothing, most earrings and costume jewelry are $2. And, all toddler and infant clothing, belts, scarves, gloves, wallets and select costume jewelry are $1.


 

STOUGHTON WOMAN KILLED BY
ALLEGED DRUNK DRIVER

On July 21, at approximately 8:45 p.m., The Town of Stoughton suffered a tragedy when 35 year old pregnant mom, Joanne White, was struck and killed on Lincoln Street, while walking with her 11 year old son, Jahmara. According to Stoughton Police Deputy Chief Robert Devine, "The alleged offending vehicle operator backed out of a driveway at 107 Lincoln Street at a high rate of speed, crossed onto the opposite sidewalk and struck the victim before coming to rest against a tree. Stoughton Police and Fire personnel attempted life saving aid and the victim was transported via helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital where both she and the unborn child were pronounced dead."

Stoughton Police, in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office have conducted a preliminary investigation and reconstruction of the scene. As a result of this ongoing investigation, Karen Blau, 46, of 10 Suffolk Roard in Sharon was arrested at the scene and charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide by Negligent Operation, Operating Under the Influence of Drugs with Serious Injury, Operating Under the Influence of Liquor with Serious Injury, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Failure to Remain in a Marked Lane. Additional charges are possible. She is being held on $500,000 cash bail. She told police she had taken Percocet, according to the police reports. But her defense attorney, James Gavigan, said she was taking Prozac. He will be requesting a reduction in bail.

Adds Devine, "This is a tragic reminder that we all have a responsibility to not drive when impaired in any way or for any reason. We extend our deepest condolences to the family of the victims."

White, a volunteer at the St. Anthony's Free Market Food Pantry, was 3 1/2 months pregnant, according to police.

(Posted at 4 p.m. on July 22, 2013 Booking photo courtesy of Stoughton Police.)

 


Blau


 

Halloran Park Left a Mess by Bridgewater Renter

A birthday party that was held at Halloran Park on Saturday night, July 20, resulted in substantial costs to the town for cleanup. Stoughton's Recreation Director, John Denison, told Snyder's Stoughton that a woman named Tamika Noiles from Bridgewater had a permit to do a birthday party that night at the park. On Sunday morning, the park had three tables, loaded with trash, and there were over 75 candy wrappers and juice boxes all over the park, which is a jewel in the Town of Stoughton. Currently, those who rent the park don't have to pay any kind of security deposit. That may soon change.

Denison said, "This sheds a light on possible situations that can occur at the park. We have a different agreement for Halloran than for our athletic fields. We won't get burned again. We'll work on a new policy that includes a refundable deposit that could cover cleanup costs."

DPW Superintendent John Batchelder tells me, "We picked up a huge mess this morning (Monday, July 22) from what I've been told. I guess we will have to require a deposit for cleanup, which they would get back when the place is clean."

One neighbor, who requested anonymity, said that he saw the Noiles party in a vehicle that actually drove over the Halloran Field grass to get to the party. The neighbor said he was disgusted by what he saw. "First of all, they drive on the lawn. Then, they leave tables, wrappers, plasticware. pieces of cake, melted ice cream, and candy everywhere. They showed no respect for the property. None. I think we should send them a bill in the mail." Not this time, but maybe next!

Halloran Park, located on Pierce Street, adjacent to the CAPP Playground, has picnic grounds, a basketball court, and a round concourse used by dog walkers, joggers, and moms with strollers. It is a wonderful place. Previously, Batchelder had ordered his people to remove the basketball hoops, after players had left a huge mess. This time, it was out-of-towners. My own feeling is that NO ONE should be allowed to get a permit that lives outside of Stoughton, no matter how large the deposit.

Noiles, who is listed as Tamika Noiles-Johnson on Facebook, did not have a listed number. Snyder's Stoughton left a private message for her on Facebook.

(Top photo by Mark Snyder. Bottom courtesy of Facebook)

 


 

NEW OFFICERS JOIN POLICE FORCE

As Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany continues to bring a high level of professionalism to one of the State's Top Departments, he told Snyder's Stoughton that a number of new officers officially joined the force after their swearing in ceremony at the Selectmen's meeting on July 9. He writes, " Their academy experience started on January 7, 2013 and ends officially on July 12, 2013. The whole class of recruits had the unique experience of providing security at many high profile locations in the city of Boston during the Marathon Bombing. I am very proud of them." New Officers include: Officer Daniel Barber, Officer Heather Cheever, Officer Thomas Covino, Officer Tim Hansler, Officer David Hoadley, Officer Albert Medeiros, and Officer Michael Medina.

(Posted on July 8 @ 11 p.m)

(Photo by Jeffrey Pickette of Stoughton Patch)

 

 


 

DA Morrissey's Basketball Camp A Layup For Young Stoughton Athletes

The O'Donnell Middle School gym was loud with laughter and the sounds of kids practicing their layups and learning life lessons this week, as DA Morrissey’s Office held its annual summer basketball camp.

"The camp provides a blend of constructive activity and constructive messages for the kids chosen to come," Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said. "We intersperse basketball skill building with talks from older kids who have made good choices and adults they respect. They take away more than a better jump shot."

Many of the youngsters who attend the camp are hand-picked by the adults around them for a positive summer experience. "We are always looking for ways to help good kids stay on the right path."

Retired Southeastern Regional Vocational and Coyle Cassidy High School basketball coach Carl Boen, who runs the three-day program alongside Norfolk County ADA Chris Meade, provides instruction for campers in grades 3 through 8.

Members of the varsity basketball teams at Stoughton High School have also volunteered their time this week to coach the kids. Ashley Medeiros and Kayla Motley, both 17, are the captains of the girls’ varsity team and agree working with the younger kids at the camp is a rewarding experience.

“I enjoy it a lot because I love playing basketball, and teaching the kids here you get to watch them play and see them practice, and you hope that maybe they’ll follow in your footsteps one day,” says Medeiros.

Motley adds that while working with some of the younger kids can be challenging at times, seeing their improvement makes it worth it. “By the third day of camp, they’re always better than when they started,” she says.

Varsity Captain, Joe Wilder, 18, is in his third year coaching at the camp - and attended it as a boy.

“I was one of them,” Wilder says, “Teaching younger kids to work hard and improve is important.  I’ve had a lot of fun doing it.”

In addition to learning from the coaches and Stoughton High varsity players, the kids also heard from a number of guest speakers. Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine spoke Monday morning on the importance of making positive choices and the necessity of teamwork and strong leadership. Stoughton resident Dr. Keith Motley, Chancellor of UMass Boston and a former basketball player at Northeastern University, spoke Tuesday. Stoughton High School coach John Gallivan donated his time to the camp again this year, as did State Police homicide detective and Stoughton-native John Fanning.

 (Information and photo courtesy of Norfolk County DA's office. Pictured is D.A. Morrissey and Dr. Motley.)

 


 

As of Tuesday, July 9, Mia was still missing. Police Chief Paul Shastany tells Snyder's Stoughton that indications are that she is a runaway. "Endangered runaways are high priority cases. Runaways try to evade the police. Their friends sometimes help with concealment. It can be a very unsafe event that can turn tragic. Young people end up placing themselves in the midst of very dangerous situations, and sometimes, predators." Deputy Chief Robert Devine says that Sgt. Detective Bob Welch is running down the computer trail. We posted this information yesterday because we haven't found her in two days of looking for her."

If you see her, call the Detective's Desk at the Stoughton Police Department at 781-344-2424.


SHAW'S IN STOUGHTON TO CLOSE AUGUST 3

Shaw’s and Star Markets of East Bridgewater have announced they will be closing six stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including the Shaw's Supermarket at 666 Washington Street on Route 138. External Communications Manager Steve Sylven issued a statement today saying that the company would be closing the stores "no later than August 3." Sylven said the decision to close the locations was based on "lack of profitability."

“We strive to ensure the success of all our stores, however, it is occasionally necessary for us to close those that are not meeting company goals. As a company and as responsible business owners, we need to position ourselves to be profitable. The stores identified have not been profitable for quite some time, and despite the best efforts of the company and our associates, we have not been able to reposition them to better compete in the marketplace and don’t anticipate being able to change this trend,” a statement from Sylven read.

The Stoughton location has undergone extensive renovations, and a new policy, where the Shaw's Card was discontinued, and lower prices were offered. The store is an anchor of a plaza that also features a hair salon, radio shack, dry cleaners, liquor store and other small businesses. Shaw's also has a location in Cobbs Corner, right over the Stoughton line, in the Village Shoppes, as well as other nearby locations in Easton and Sharon. This leaves Stoughton with only one supermarket, Stop and Shop.

Over 100 full and part time employees in Stoughton could lose their jobs in this move by Shaw's. An employee told me on July 9 that a meeting had been called for all employees, and that some may be selected to move to other existing locations.

This is not good news for Stoughton. Add this empty storefront to the Friendly's Ice Cream and the newly-vacated downtown Honey Dew Donuts and you have some large holes to fill in town. Not even to mention, the Malcolm & Parsons boarded-up eyesore downtown.

(Posted on July 8, 2013 @ 10 p.m.)

 

 


 

TOWN CLERK LEAVING FRIDAY

Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney, who is credited by many for making the Town Clerk's office much improved, is leaving for Florida. She tells Snyder's Stoughton that Friday, July 5, will be her last day on the job. But, there's no vacation in the immediate future for Mooney. She starts her new job as City Clerk of Temple Terrace, Florida on Monday, July 8!

Mooney said that her "significant other" is retiring and she's always wanted to go to Florida. "I just didn't know I'd be going there this soon," adding, "I still need to sell my house in Reading. I've been commuting from there. We've had three offers on the house, and they all fell through." Mooney feels that she's leaving "the department in better shape than I found it. I'm leaving a better legacy behind. I'll miss everyone from town. It's been nice here. But, I won't miss the snow."

Human Resources Director Jamie Kelley will be directing the department until a new clerk is hired, according to sources in Town Hall. Mooney says that ads are being prepared to search for her successor. Mooney started as Town Clerk in May of 2009, after serving in the same position in Reading for 13 years.


DOWNTOWN HONEY DEW DONUTS TO CLOSE

The Story

Story and Photo by Mark Snyder


 

MARKEY EDGES GOMEZ IN STOUGHTON

As predicted, Congressman Ed Markey had an easy victory over Gabriel Gomez. It was closer in Stoughton, where the 37-year US Rep edged the Navy Seal, 2515-2393. Gomez crushed Markey, 449-310, in Precinct 4. Congratulations to our new Senator.

JUNE 25 ELECTION RESULTS

 


 

IT'S OVER--TOWN MEETING ENDS ON SEVENTH NIGHT

Well, it took seven nights, but Stoughton's Annual Town Meeting concluded before the first period ended in the Game 5 Stanley Cup match on Wednesday, June 24. Town Moderator gaveled the opening at 7:28 p.m., and about 70 minutes later, the nineteen remaining articles were concluded.

The 90 Town Meeting members present unanimously voted to support two requests by Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany. Members supported a $184,200 article for the purchase of three cruisers and an SUV. The vehicles are driven 24 hours a day, and TM supports yearly replacement of part of the police department's fleet. Members also supported a $16,000 article to replace the carpeting at the Stoughton Police station.

Selectman Chairman John Anzivino of the seven articles for funding of collective bargaining. He dismissed articles for Collective Bargaining for Superior Police Officers Local 400 and Library Staff Local 4928. Both of those unions had already reached agreement with the town, and their contract funds were includes by Town Meeting in the 2014 town budget. Anzivino also made motions to "postpone indefinitely" collective bargaining funds for Town Hall Employees Association, Stoughton Professional/Administration Union, Police Patrolman's Association, Local 1512 Firefighters, and Public Works Association. None of those unions have settled with the town. If, and when they do come to agreement, a Special Town Meeting will need to be called to transfer the funds to pay for the contracts.

A long and detailed article from Stoughton Animal Control Officer Michael Gormaley passed on a voice vote. Gormaley said that the rewrite of Chapter 78 of the Stoughton by-laws was intended to "re-inforce the law to match with the State." If you have a messy animal don't worry. The law, in part, reads, "No person shall lead or drive any horse, goat, swine or neat animal upon any sidewalk so as to interfere with the convenient use of the same by pedestrians," and "No person shall own or keep in the Town any dog which by biting, excessive barking, howling, or in any other manner, disturbs the quiet of the public." It also details the methods of seizure, impounding, muzzling, confinement, and fees, Most importantly, the changes voted by Town Meeting members eliminated the muzzling requirement for any American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, or Bull Terrier. Under state law, no blanket condemnation of certain breeds is allowed. (There feelings may be hurt, and hopefully, they're "neat.")

Three articles recommended by the Town Code Publication Committee were necessary, but not too exciting. However, since Town Moderator Howard Hansen chairs the Town Code Publications Committee, Precinct 2 Town Meeting member and Deputy Moderator Bob Mullen took the gavel for the passing of the three articles, which concerned publication of town codes, and zoning by-law re-codification and re-captioning. (See photo above by Jeffrey Pickette of Stoughton Patch.)

Town Meeting voted 95-5 to update the zoning by-laws by changing the flood hazard, wetlands, and watershed districts to comply with state and federal regulations. Building Commissioner Tom McGrath said "the town is playing catch up. We needed to revise our flood maps and update the flood hazard, wetlands and watershed for the DCR. Town Counsel Brian Riley negotiated the necessary wording with DCR attorneys. In this way, residents can be covered by flood hazard insurance."

Articles on granting seniors tax breaks, proposed by Town Meeting members Ed DeFelice and Peter Ventresco were withdrawn by DeFelice. "Peter had knee surgery and we weren't able to prepare for Town Meeting," he explained.

Town Meeting supported the creation by the Board of Selectmen of a Capital Reserve for Future Building Projects Stabilization Fund. Initially, $1,251,792 was inserted in the fund. It will be used as "seed money" for any future building projects. To utilize the funds, 2/3 of Town Meeting members will need to approve the transfer. Additionally, $294.02 was deposited into the town's Stabilization Fund. (That one will really impress Moody's!)

Quote of the Night: From DeFelice to Hansen: "Mr. Moderator, through you, to you."

Get Well wishes to Town Assessor Joseph Gibbons, who broke his hip playing soccer with his son. Condolences to Town Meeting member Arnold Smith on the loss of his beloved wife of 55 years, Delores. Funeral Service is 7 p.m. on June 26 at Sheehan Funeral Home. Wake is 5-7 p.m. that night.

On a personal note, this was my last Town Meeting after over two decades in Precinct Two, three as Chairman. I also served the full nine year term on the Finance Committee, three as Vice Chair. I will miss sitting at Town Meeting, and having a voice in the process.

(Posted at 10:15 p.m. on June 24, 2013.)

 


 

STOUGHTON VETERANS AGENT ELECTED TO STATE POST

Stoughton Veterans Agent Mike Pazyra was installed on Wednesday, June 19 as President of the Massachusetts Veterans' Service Officers Association. The festivities were held at the Yarmouth House on Cape Cod. 

Many dignitaries were in the crowd, including Secretary of Veterans Affairs Coleman Nee, State Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton), who presented Pazyra with a Citation from the Senate, and Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo. 

Senator Joyce addressed the crowd and said, "Since Mike took over in Stoughton, services to veterans in the area have grown immensely, even as his pay has decreased." 

Joyce detailed: "For instance when Mike started the town had eight active state service cases and zero federal cases. At the end of last year, he had 93 active state cases and more than 100 federal cases. In 2004, his office paid out $22,100 in aid for the town’s veterans. Last year, that number was $441,000." 

"He’s the kind of guy that once he puts his mind to something, is unstoppable in his advocacy. So naturally, he’s going to be a good president for your organization," Joyce added.  

Joyce also told the veteran's agents in the Cape Cod audience, "Honestly, sometimes I feel like the state should be charging Mike rent in my office in Boston for as much as he stops by with information on an amendment or a bill. In the Legislature, we do what we can and try to anticipate and react to the needs of our current and former soldiers. But you’re working with these brave men and women every day. And it is critical that you continue to reach out to us in the Legislature to let us know what hurdles our veterans are facing." 

The Massachusetts Veterans' Service Officers Association is comprised of Veterans' Service Officers (VSO's) and their staffs across the State.  Actually, the term Veterans' Service Officer officially replaced the term Veterans Agent years ago, but old names die hard. In Stoughton, Pazyra is still known as the Veterans Agent. 

Pazyra became a member when he started his job for Stoughton in April, 2005.  

He tells About Town, "I became Secretary/Treasurer [of the Massachusetts Veterans' Service Officers Association] around October 2006 and continued in that role through June 2012, at which time I became the 1st Vice-President of the Association."

Pazyra continued, "Our Association is well regarded at the State House, reflective of the fact that when we have our annual Legislation Luncheon at the State House, the vast majority of Representatives and Senators attend.  In fact, when I'm at the State House on veterans issues, I really don't see Democrats or Republicans, just Americans doing what they can to help those citizens of the Commonwealth who served."  

Pazyra, a Stoughton resident, who lives in town with his wife Cindy, added, "Veteran Service Officers are the link between veterans and their dependents (spouses, children, widows, widowers) and benefits which have been earned by or for them.  We help apply for Federal, State and Local benefits.  Those that need the most help are often the ones that are the hardest to reach.  Suicide among veterans is nothing less that a national tragedy.  Both the State and Federal Governments are heavily involved in this issue. Outreach is critical to the job, as is knowledge and on-going training." 

Pazyra said that by law, every community in the Commonwealth with a population over 12,000 is supposed to have a full-time VSO. Those under 12,000 have part-time VSO's.  

While there have always been Districts formed by smaller communities, Regionalization has over the past few years become a bigger issue.  Fortunately, the Secretary of Veterans' Services, Coleman Nee, has established strict guidelines with set staffing requirements.  

"While most communities are in compliance with the law, unfortunately, many are not.  This is an onging issue, the result being that in those communities, the veterans and their families do not get the services they deserve.  Secretary Nee has stated many times the veterans are often punished by geography," Pazyra added. 

Pazyra continued, "VSO's are currently on the path to becoming certified through testing.  A bill to establish this is currently winding its way through the Legislature.  This is projected to help with the aforementioned compliance issue. We generally file State legislation during the legislative cycle, and this year I anticipate the Association filing Federal legislation on at least two issues." 

Pazyra, a Vietnam era veteran, concluded, "Dealing with the Veterans Administration can be difficult.  Cases can take years to get completed.  The priority, until just very recently, was to give priority to OIF/OEF veterans, those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This also includes the Gulf War veterans from the first war in that region in 1990-1991.  Next came the WWII and Korean veterans.  Someone thought it might be a good idea to try to get through these claims before the veterans died of old age.  And finally, at the end of the line was everyone else, including the Vietnam vets, who at least were used to being at the end of the line.  As stated, however, the priorities recently changed.  The VA is now trying to finish up all cases over two years old.  They have also developed a new claims process that seems to be speeding the adjudication of cases along."

"Massachusetts is a national leader in providing benefits and services to our veterans and their families because of the strong partnerships we have with federal, state and local resources," said Department of Veterans' Services Secretary Coleman Nee.  "The municipal service officers and The Massachusetts Veterans Service Officers Association (MVSOA) are critical components of that system and the "first responders" for our veterans in the community.  Mike has served the Town of Stoughton and his community well over the last seven years and I have every confidence he will bring the same commitment and dedication to leading the MVSOA and I look forward to working with him."

Story posted at 10:43 p.m on June 21, 2013 and updated at 5:15 p.m. on June 24, 2013. Courtesy Photos


 

TOWN MEETING: NIGHT SIX

Zoning Changes, GIS Flyovers & Muslim Brotherhood

Annual Town Meeting picked up a bit of speed on Wednesday, June 19, as they got through 30 articles before the night was gaveled to a close at 10:35 p.m.

Members helped to conform Stoughton's by-law on "Abandonment or Discontinuance of a Non-Conforming Use or Structure" to State Law. Stoughton had said that any lawfully pre-existing nonconforming use of a structure abandoned for a year shall not be used again except for conforming use. That was changed to two years to comply with State law. The measure passed 101-0. A measure to penalize public consumption of marijuana or THC with a $300 fine, was dismissed on a motion by this writer. The motion to dismiss passed handily.

A presentation was made on behalf of the Capital Outlay Planning Committee by member Debra Roberts, which discussed guidelines on purchasing through borrowing or paying cash. She represented Chairman Leon Rudman, and his committee of Bill Manberg, Dave Hudson, and Alan Olans. This presentation led to a group of Capital Outlay articles.

The members passed unanimously articles for SCADA Sewer Upgrades ($60,000); Sewer Infiltration & Inflow (I & I) Improvements ($300,000); Replacement of Pumps in Royal Road and Beaver Brook Wastewater Lift Stations with higher efficient pumps ($90,000); SCADA Water Upgrades ($60,000); Station 1 (Muddy Pond) Pump Station Boiler to be replaced with a new high efficiency boiler. Conversion from oil to natural gas to save money. ($20,000); Replacing a Water Department 1996 pickup truck ($24,000), Design of Replacement Well for Pratt's Court, and Associated Piping ($35,000); Water Distribution System Improvements to replace undersized and unlined water mains, as recommended in the Town's Water System Master Plan of June, 2006 ($100,000), Highway Department Equipment, including replacements for a 1971 Sidewalk Tractor and a 1989 4x4 cab w/rack for the Highway Dept.($165,000); Roof repairs to the DPW Buillding at 950 Central Street ($35,000); and Upgrade of the Water Meter Reading and Recording System ($54,000.)

Town meeting also passed an article for municipal building maintenance, as outlined in the Town-Wide Facilities Master Plan of Municipal Buildings. The study of close to 20 municipal buildings, prepared in 2010, was completed by Architectural Firm of DRA. Buildings included in the article are Town Hall, Stoughton Historical Society Building, and Stoughton Senior Center ($133,000); and $60,000 for Storm Water NPDES Regulation compliance.

Much discussion took place on a $10,000 article requested by Town Engineer Ben Fehan and the Board of Selectmen for a Flyover for a GIS Town-Wide Survey. Town Meeting member Denise Bronsdon wrote an 11 page treatise against the article. Bronsdon said that, "You can go on these maps and get information for targets of terror from your home. This is highly dangerous technology. It was invented by the U.S. Military to be used in theatre of war. Employees should get a security clearance, and they should keep it at Town Hall and not online." She feared the Muslim Brotherhood might be successful in utilizing it and "if they are successful in completely conquering the United States, all little girls, our daughters and grand-daughters, and women of America will suffer Shariah Law mandates, including honor killings of daughters, husbands beating wives, women being stoned for adultery", and it got more barbaric from there. Town Meeting member Ed DeFelice was also against the GIS Fly Over, saying, "These devices infringe on our 4th Amendment of the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. Our rights are being trampled on in D.C., with losses on the first, second and fourth amendments." Town Meeting passed it, 86-11.

After another long debate, Town Meeting members passed unanimously a petition to modify the interest rates charged to residents for betterment projects, like sewer lines. Currently, the town must charge 10% per year. The article requests the legislature to allow Stoughton to charge 5% per year, or "2% above the interest rates charged to the town." Fehan said that "It is a hardship to people with sewer projects. Essentially, it would cut the rate in half."

Assistant Town Engineer Mark Tisdale recommended that the town meeting spend $75,000 for a 25% Design Plan for traffic-related engineering analysis, design and surveying services. Tsidale said the request stemmed from the Traffic Safety Task Force, which was formed last September when three year old Shayla Lutz was killed by a box truck in front of the Hansen School in Stoughton. "It was started by former Town Manager Joseph Feaster after her death. Small fixes have been done. The task force meets every other month, and its number one goal is to protect the town (and its people). Every member of the task force is on board. If we pass this, we could be eligible for 100% reimbursement of the 3-5 million dollars the total project could run." Initial studies will focus on Central Street, and its intersections at Pearl, Pleasant, Lincoln and Turnpike Streets. The article passed.

Town Meeting members tried to help the firefighters working in Station One on Freeman Street (a/k/a "the ruins.") They voted $60,000 to repair the kitchen and living area, and another $60,000 to repair the bathroom and living area. I've toured the area those hard-working heroes live and work in and it's disgusting. They deserve to be in a safe place, not in a delapitated one. Let's hope the work gets done sooner, rather than later.

Among the other noteable decisions, Town Meeting also voted to fund a new command vehicle ($40,000), Firefighter's Protective Clothing ($110,000 for 52 sets), and $5300 for an inflatable boat ($5300) for the Stoughton Fire Department. When asked what the boat was used for by DeFelice, Stoughton Fire Chief Mark Dolloff said, "We use the boat in the water." DeFelice retorted, "I knew there was a reason you were Chief." Town Meeting also voted unanimously to spend $60,000 on a feasibility study to construct and equip a new fire station or combined public safety building.

On Monday, June 24 at 7:15 p.m. at Stoughton High auditorium, Town Meeting will tackle a number of police articles, including one to change the General Bylaws on Dogs and other Animals. There are nineteen more articles left for Annual Town Meeting, and three remaining nights to get them done.

(Posted on June 20, 2013 at 12:30 a.m.)

 

 

 

 


 

 

24 Year Old Found Guilty of Murder, Shooting Stoughton Man as He Lay in Bed

 

The Stoughton man who shot thorough a bedroom window and killed 21-year-old Stephen Erving in his bed has been found guilty of murder, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey. Michael W. Blanchard, age 24, fired several rounds from a 9 mm pistol through Erving’s first-floor bedroom window on Lincoln Street, Stoughton, at roughly 3:30 a.m. on March 16, 2010. Blanchard and Erving were known to each other and had a history of conflict.

“Our thoughts and our thanks are with Stephen’s family and friends tonight,” District Attorney Morrissey said, after a Norfolk Superior Court jury had delivered guilty verdict on second degree murder at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. “This was a senseless attack. We thank them for their patience, assistance and testimony as this case came to trial.” State Police detectives from the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and Stoughton Police investigated the homicide with the assistance of State Police Crime Scene Services Section, Ballistics Section and other specialized investigators. Evidence quickly developed making Blanchard as a person of interest. He was arrested and arraigned the day of the murder.

“Assistant District Attorney Greg Connor and Victim/Witness Advocate Maureen Russell again showed dedication and professionalism in the prosecution of this case,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “Michael Blanchard is held accountable for this crime.” The jury had heard closing arguments on Monday, Morrissey said. Sentencing before trial Judge Elizabeth M. Fahey will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, 2013

(Top Photo by Tim Correira of the Enterprise; Bottom Photo courtesy of Stoughton Police Department)

(Posted on June 18, 2013 @ 7 p.m. from information provided by David Traub of the Norfolk County DA's Office).

 

 

 


 

ANNUAL TOWN MEETING NIGHT FIVE

On a night where it was thundering and lightening outside, Town Meeting weathered the storm by plodding through a dozen or so articles on Monday, June 17.

Members approved four school department articles early in the evening. The first allowed National Grid an easement on property at 137 Walnut Street, the location of the E.A. Jones Early Childhood Center, for the purpose of providing electrical and communications service to the former elementary school. The second appropriated $830,000 for replacement of the roof system at the West Elementary School at 1322 Central Street. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said that the Massachusetts School Building Authority ("MSBA") had approved the Stoughton Public Schools to receive 56.6% State reimbursement for the roof, as well as for the $945,000 project at the Dawe Elementary School at 131 Pine Street, to replace all the window assemblies in the school. Both were passed unanimously. In addition, Town Meeting also approved a large collective of school maintenance requests, for all eight schools. Dr. Rizzi said that "each of these projects have been deferred because funding was not available. Town Meeting member Joe Soares said, "We need to take care of our maintenance a lot sooner. I'm for repairing, but I'm against this article." The article, which borrowed $492,000 and used $190,000 of "free cash", passed 87-18.

The town took a giant technological leap forward, passing a $285,000 upgrade for Network Hardware in all eight schools and in six town buildings. Dr. Lawrence Gray, Director of IT for the Town of Stoughton, said, "We are out of warranty with our current equipment, and the manufacturers no longer support the system. We'll be going fro a 1 gig system to a 10 gig system, with hardware that can potentially handle 40 gigs (gigabytes)." The town borrowed $283,967 for the project, and utilized money from a few old articles for the remainder. It's a major capital improvement on the technological side.

In some housekeeping, Town Meeting passed articles to rescind unissued borrowing authorizations; spend $25,000 to recover federal reimbursements of health related services provided to Chapter 766 students; and pay a $383 bill owed to Inspired Technology, a phone system vendor.

Town Meeting then dug into the Community Preservation Committee, which oversees funding from the Community Preservation Act. Their Budget was approved, which includes a 1.4 million dollar annual reserve. Five Recommendations of the CPC were considered by Town Meeting. The first seemed to draw the most discussion. It was for the rehabilitation of the exterior of the Stoughton Railroad Station, which is currently owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA). The Town has agreed to purchase the historic building, at a cost of $350,000. Half of that amount was tucked into the 2012 Transportation Bond Bill that cleared the legislature and was signed by the Governor. We have still not received anything. The Redevelopment Authority had agreed to put up the remaining $175,000 cost of the station. The Community Preservation Committee wanted to borrow $250,000 (to be repaid through CPA funds) to produce engineering, architectural, and construction services to restore the building, which is listed in the National Historic Register. Selectman TJ Recupero fully supported the expendature. "This is exactly what the CPA was set up for. This is an important building in this community. The plans, and the funds that are set up to preserve it, are exactly what it should be. We need to preserve this asset. It makes sense," Recupero said. Michael Barrett of the Redevelopment Committee and the Community Preservation Committee agreed, adding, "This will be good for the town. We're using the funds the way they are supposed to be used." CPC Chairman John Morton termed the Rail Station "the centerpiece of the downtown restoration." It passed, 93-12.

A CPC article to use $20,000 in CPA historic funds for the purpose of "conservation, restoration, and repair of the vital history in the Town Clerk's office, requested by Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney, passed unanimously. $38,700 to purchase a parcel adjacent to the property at Glen Echo already owned by the town, passed 100-1. Part of the property is located in the Town of Canton, and includes the historic Drum Rock, that many Stoughton natives remember. Of the property, Morton said, "it is an essential piece to preserve the quality of the water at the lake, and to protect its historic connections, like Drum Rock." The land is to be used for "conservation and passive recreational activities (such as hiking and nature walks.) Town Meeting members unanimously approved spending $25,000 in CPA funds to pay for final design, construction and bid documents to replace and/or refurbish the CAPP Playground on Pierce Street. Recreation Director John Denison said the new space would be well lit, modern, and more easily viewed by police cruising by. The current playground had fallen into disrepair, and became a hangout for teens. It is located next to a gem in town, Halloran Park, which sports a paved walking path, basketball courts, and picnic area. ATM also approved $20,000 in CPA funds for permanent high quality signs on many historic public buildings in town. CPC member John Linehan, Chair of the Open Space Committee said "putting signs on some of our great treasures will educate our youth and enhance our town." That one was also unanimous. Afterwards, Denison clarified to About Town that the vote was purely for the ability to put out RFP's (Requests for Proposals) for architectural and engineering designs and plans. "After we get the engineering and architectural blueprints, we'll know exactly what to buy, the security and lighting needs, the equipment, and where it will be located. We'll go back to the CPC and give them details of the final design and specifications, and how much money it will cost. We'll approach them, hopefully, in November at their meeting, and then we'll ask for approval at the Annual Town Meeting in May of 2014."

In what could be the most important action of the evening, the Town Meeting voted to spend $235,000 for the purchase of approximately two acres and a boarded up building at 75 Lambert Avenue. I recommended the purchase of this parcel in a previous About Town article, when a Stoughton businessman had proposed re-opening it as a garage. The property is adjacent to the Council On Aging/Youth Commission building at 110 Rockland Street. It could provide badly-needed additional parking, and could allow the facility to be expanded. It's smart planning. The article passed, 83-3.

Stoughton real estate owners will be getting more mail in the future. The Board of Assessors, represented by Chairman Louis Jutras, had asked to start quarterly billing. "78% of municipalities have quarterly billing. It gives four definitive dates for billing, and better cash flow," according to Jutras. Town Treasurer Donna Erickson said, "It would be an added burden and cost to my office, but it's more convenient for taxpayers." The new billing system passed, 58-23. Another Assessor's recommendation, for an Agreement in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for a solar field on a building at 139 Shuman Avenue & Providence Road, was approved, 68-14.

When Town Meeting re-convenes on Wednesday, June 19 at 7:15 p.m. at Stoughton High auditorium for Night 6, they will tackle Zoning and General By-Laws, a presentation from the Capital Outlay Planning Committee, and Capital Outlay Articles.

(Posted on June 18 at 12:15 a.m.)

 

 


 

TOWN MEETING NIGHT 4

TM MEMBERS NIX MEDICAL MARIJUANA TREATMENT CENTERS FOR A YEAR

 

On Wednesday night, those suffering from ailments that marijuana might be a helpful aide, got bad news at the Annual Town Meeting. On November 6, 2012, voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly back a law that approved the cultivation, distribution, possession, and use of marijuana for medical purposes. The State Department of Public Health is required to provide new regulations to govern this new business. Town Planner Noreen O’Toole moved to adopt a moratorium on medical marijuana treatment centers in Stoughton, which would prevent any from opening until at least June 30, 2014. Planning Board Chairman Joe Scardino said the “template for this article is adopted from wording approved by the Attorney General’s office.” It will give the town a year to adopt zoning bylaws for these non-profit entities. Town Meeting member Paul Smith opposed the Article. “The voters approved medical marijuana. This article goes against their wishes,” he said. But, Town Meeting passed the moratorium overwhelmingly, 78-2.

Much of the discussion on Wednesday night centered on two proposals from Stoughton Human Resources Director James “Jamie” Kelley. The first was a Personnel By-Law which sets basic standards for the administration of personnel policies, for the definition of basic employee rights and working conditions, and for the management of certain employee benefits. Kelley made a Power Point presentation to Town Meeting members. Scardino said that “this will provide a better morale for employees. It’s the next step of Best Practices on our way to World Class.” But, Stoughton Fire Lt. Jim Curtin, the local firefighter’s union president the last six years, railed against it. “The Board of Selectmen are going to implement this whether you vote for it or not. It’s bullying. Collective bargaining works. I’m not here for me, I’m here for you. I represent one of seven unions. I live or die by that contract. This by-law hurts us. The Town of Sterling has revised it regularly, since adopting it in 2008.” Kelley defended the by-law, saying it evens the playing field, and is fair to all employees. Curtin said that “Kelley was picking and choosing pieces of the contracts for information purposes. When he says no employee will be harmed by that. I oppose that view. It’s also the first time I’ve heard him use the term ‘red-lined.’ It sounds like they are implementing a salary cap.” Town Meeting member voted to support the Article, 66-43.

Kelley’s other proposal, a classification and compensation plan, also got a lot of discussion. The article “establishes a town-wide comprehensive plan classifying positions, other than those filled by popular election or under the control of the school committee, into groups and classes. It seeks to pair up those doing similar work or having substantially equal responsibilities, and to establish minimum and maximum salaries to be paid to employees in positions so classified.” Kelley said that both articles would save the town money, but he had no estimates of how much that might be. Town Meeting member Jeff Blacker, who works in HR, said, “If you have rules in place, it’s less likely that there would be litigation. It protects everyone.” Scardino added that, “This provides for equal pay for equal work.” Finally, Town Meeting member Peter Murphy said, “It’s well spelled out. We have a Human Resources Director who is also an attorney (Kelley). If employees don’t feel their pay is fair, they can look elsewhere for another job.” Members supported this one, as well, 63-42.

In an effort to try to get Town Meeting to get more done, TM member Lou Gitto made a motion that Annual Town Meeting be gaveled each night by 7:15 p.m., and that no new articles be taken up after 10:45 p.m. In essence, he was getting another 30 minutes of work in each night. The article passed easily on a voice vote.

Town Meeting also passed customary Articles to “accept and contract funds for town roads” and “Apply for and accept federal and state funding.”

Annual Town Meeting continues on June 17 at Stoughton High School auditorium at 7:15 p.m.

(Posted on June 12, 2013 @ 11:50 p.m.)


 


 

TEMPLE VOTES AGAINST PLANNED MERGER!

Story Here

Photo by Jeffrey Pickette of Stoughton Patch


 

HERE COMES THE SUN or TRANSFORMING THE STOUGHTON DUMP

It was suit city at Town Hall Tuesday night as Terrence Conroy of Conroy Development and Stoughton Recycling Technologies lined up a team of experts to allow him to further grow the Stoughton landfill, and to delay the capping of it once again.   But, this time, the proposal seemed to make sense and was unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen.  So, what will be on top of the capped landfill? Will it be wind turbines? No, that was proposed in February of 1976.  Wind is out. 

 

What Robert W. Golledge, Jr., an environmental consultant from Golledge Strategies & Solutions in Canton, proposed was a 2.6 acre Solar Farm.  The bow-tied Golledge requested of the Board that they be allowed to bring in more materials to allow for larger solar panels. The Acting Chief of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Solid Waste Management Section, Mark Dakers, said he had been working on advising Conroy’s company on the project. Garrett Keegan, a Senior Environmental Engineer with Green Seal Environmental in Sagamore Beach, recommended that 70,000 additional cubic yards of fill be added to the northeast quadrant of the landfill to “create a plateau, but not to raise the elevation. This would provide a wider top level for the 2.6 acre field when capping is completed.  That would take about nine months.”

 

Mark Tisdale, Stoughton’s Assistant Town Engineer, aired his concerns with the project.  He reviewed the draft amendment and had no objection to the change of use of the extended time to cap.  What troubled him was the access roadway design and “the structural capacity of the cap to withstand the weight of the panels”, and the lack of specifics in the draft.     But, Dakers of the DEP was quick to respond. He said that they would “check all capacity and the integrity of the cap before its approval. We require the Board of Health to get copies of everything, and we’ll add the engineering department. We can also involve your department in the pre-application process.”  Tisdale was satisfied.

 

 Attorney Richard Nylen, Jr. of Lynch, DeSimone & Nylan, LLP of Boston, said the original proposal was a more modest renewable energy source which would only serve Conroy. “This is much larger and will allow the town to put out RFP’s (Requests for Proposals) and the benefits of the solar project would go to the town.”  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on their website, reports, “There are a fairly wide set of considerations that are important when planning a solar system to be placed over a closed landfill. With respect to the solar technologies available, considerations include whether concentrating solar power (CSP) or photovoltaic (PV) will be best suited to site- specific conditions. Additional factors to consider during the planning process, given the constraints of building on a landfill cap, are the desired output capacity, weight characteristics, and degree of mechanical stress expected from onsite weather conditions. 

Dakers told About Town that there are numerous similar projects all across the state. He noted neighboring Canton has had an operating solar field since August of 2012 on Pine Street.   Easton has a proposed solar project on Prospect StreetHull’s has been operating since May of 2006, without any problems.  Scituate has one under construction, and Norfolk’s has been running since June, 2012. Selectmen Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh liked the idea. “I think it’s a good use for the property. It would otherwise remain vacant.”  Walsh moved to sign the agreement, and it passed unanimously, 4-0. (Selectman Steve Anastos was absent.)   No details were made about what this would power, or how much power would be generated. Also, no details were given as to any costs that the town of Stoughton would absorb in this process.  It seems that in the future—possible about 18 months from now---when the sun shines in Stoughton, it’s more power to the town!

 

Posted on June 5, 2013. Story and Photo by Mark Snyder


CEDAR HILL GETTING BACK TO PAR

 A couple of things have been missing this year at the town-owned Cedar Hill Golf Course.  The first (and most apparent) is probably the lack of golfers.  The numbers for rounds, leagues and everything else is DOWN.  Why?  The weather hasn’t been too bad.  Global warming hasn’t yet toasted the greens.  The Park Street facility, which some people consider a nine-hole gem in our town, has been lacking a liquor license all season.  If you know golf, you know that having a drink after a match is part of the game.

 

Derek Johnson of DrinkingMadeEasy.com said it best: “What better occasion is there for an ice cold glass, cup, mug, or flask of something than the driving around in a funny little car, wearing what could not pass as socially acceptable anywhere else on the planet, and being in the great outdoors mocking your friend mercilessly as they duff yet another drive? Everything about golf lends itself to it being the greatest drinking sport of all time.  It doesn’t require any kind of overly physical activity at all and most golf carts have at least 4 cup holders while only seating two riders.”

So, if you remove either of the social aspects of golf (the golfing and the drinking), you lose business.  And, the Cedar Hill Golf Course has gone through an ugly number of vendors. They haven’t lasted long.  And, there have been issues with the liquor license there many times over the years, including a contentious lawsuit that forced the course to keep issuing “seasonal” temporary licenses (which turned out to be illegal.)So, the Cedar Hill Golf Committee was determined to try to bring in some people that would serve their golfers good food, reasonable safe drinks, and offer good service.  They sent out an RFP (Request for Proposal) and received the sound of one hand clapping.  Silence.  Crickets.  So, they sent another RFP.

Town Manager Mike Hartman said the second attempt netted two proposals.  “Both were from inexperienced operators,” he said, adding that “the Cedar Hill Committee chose one of them, after interviewing the applicants.” The chosen applicant, Vera V. Doctor, proposed running Club 66 at the Cedar Hill Clubhouse, and also requested to deliver food and non-alcoholic beverages at two of the nine holes. She was accompanied by Gregory Parker, who was listed as a co-owner of the business, at the same address as Doctor in Brockton. After much discussion at that Board of Selectmen meeting, the Board voted to request additional information on the applications and continued the hearing.

At another hearing, a Common Victualler’s license was given, and the Club 66 opened up for food and non-alcoholic drinks.  A third hearing was held on June 4 on the liquor license, and new Selectman T.J. Recupero had concerns. “I would like there to be excellence at this establishment. I have no confidence that this application is any more truthful than the previous one. I don’t see the applicant as the true employee. It’s a day time business, and the applicant works full time for the Industrial Accident Board.” Selectman Chairman John Anzivino said, “I share TJ’s concerns. It seems the applicant didn’t list people truly involved with the business. It appears the paperwork was simply shuffled. I have the same concerns as before.”

Selectman Bob O’Regan strongly disagreed.  “I don’t share my colleagues concerns. I simply see innuendo created by some of these comments.”Parker told the Board he was an employee of Doctor’s and had worked for a year as a restaurant/bar manager in Stoughton about a decade ago.  That was his only experience in the business.  He said he’d never applied for or been part of a liquor license. Doctor said she had experience in the catering business, but not in the restaurant or bar business, but that owning a restaurant was one of her dreams. Recupero said, “This is the most precious liquor license in this town. It’s run in the town’s name on town property. It should have the greatest amount of scrutiny. I have no confidence in the paperwork. Who exactly is the applicant? It’s a sweetheart deal. I can’t vote for this.” It appeared the application was going to be defeated.  But, Anzivino said, “I’m willing to consider the investment you made up front for the equipment. This golf course is a jewel in this town. I take it as a sign of good faith you spent money out of pocket.” O’Regan mentioned that he didn’t expect seasoned pros to apply to run the small golf course shop. “I don’t see the Marriott stepping in to run it.”

In the end, owner Vera Doctor and her Operations Manager Gregory Parker, got in on a 2-1 vote.  Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh, an abutter to Cedar Hill, and a former member of their Operating Committee, recused herself from the discussion and the vote. After meeting, Doctor told she was on the verge of tears.  She was shocked at all the personal questions she was asked. “My sister, with whom I lived, recently passed away. So, I moved from her place. I really didn’t think those personal questions were necessary. I nearly cried in there on TV.”   Parker was in a boot after recent ankle surgery.They are currently serving lunch from 11 am to closing, and dinner from 5-7 p.m.  We wish them luck in a place that hasn’t had much.  

Not only has Stoughton-owned Cedar Hill Golf Course gone all season without a vendor to sell drinks, but since golf professional and course director Jody Smith retired, there has been no leadership, except from guidance coming from the Cedar Hill Golf Course Committee, a group of volunteers.  But, Town of Stoughton Human Resources Director Jamie Kelley told Snyder's Stoughton that the search is on. What started out with 10 applications has been whittled down to five, and Kelley says that Town Manager Michael Hartman is interviewing all the final candidates.  Kelley said he was shocked at the incredible quality of all that applied, adding, "It was difficult to sort through the ten.  They were all professionals, most with turf management experience and business degrees, as well. I was really impressed with their backgrounds."  Kelley said most had pesticide licenses, and other requirements needed for the job. "The hiring could come as soon as Friday, and the new person could be working for the town in about three weeks."  Kelley said that applicants came with experience as Assistant Superintendents at numerous courses, some quite well known, and high end.  The HR Director also said there was quite a mix, with "some younger and looking to move up, and others who were older and looking to retire in ten years. But, they are all excellent candidates." 

If this doesn’t work out, perhaps the town should explore two options: selling the place or leasing it to a company who would run the golf course and the restaurant. 


(Posted on June 5, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.)
Photo from Stoughton Patch

 


 

TOWN MEETING: NIGHT THREE

 

Town meeting picked up where if left off on Wednesday night, May 29, with debate on a motion by the school department to add an additional $308,000 to the Stoughton School Department, making the total budget $40,707,147. On May 22 nd, there was over an hour of debate on this motion from the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Marguerite Rizzi. On the 29 th, School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee gave a 12 minute presentation to open up the meeting. She reminded members that Stoughton was 235 out of the 328 Districts in Massachusetts in total per pupil spending. After that, the debate continued.

Janice Lindwall of Pct. 5, a retired educator, said the demographics have changed since her children attended the schools. “ We're compared with Canton, Sharon, Easton, Randolph, Brockton and even Dorchester. They move in from Dorchester. They bring lower socio-economic groups, and more learning, behavioral, social, and emotional issues. As our schools go, our town goes.”

Chris Shannon of Pct. 3, a mother of a 1 st grader and kindergarten student, who is an educational consultacurrentnt and classroom teacher, said additional funding does not necessarily bring added value, adding, “We are all trying to do more with less. I wonder if this is the right time to ask for more money. I’d respectfully ask to fund the additional request of Southeastern Regional (70k), but not the other 238,000.”

From the same precinct, John Roch said, “What the schools are asking for is not unreasonable. We’ve approved positions on the municipal side. With the schools, we have a tendency to micro-manage. I don’t see the same scrutiny in other departments.”

School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural supported the motion, but said, "The budget was not as transparent as has been claimed. Information I requested was not made available to me. Where do we stand in spending from our budget? And, this new budget was approved by the School Committee in December 2012. Public hearings were in March, 2013. Cutting the budget will only hurt the children, so I support this motion.

Elliot Hansen, Pct. 1 Chairman, told members, “They are using the school department as a hiring agent for friends and neighbors. That really doesn’t help the students.They are adopting Common Core. That is a dumbing down of the schools. Hiring another person to implement Common Core is a waste of money.” Hansen also questioned where all the money from the water machines in the building went. “I don’t see it in the budget.”

School Superintendent Rizzi explained that the food services department is totally self-sufficient, and doesn’t cost the town anything. They keep in their revolving fund all moneys from lunches, snacks, and drinks. As for Common Care, Rizzi said that, “We have no choice. We must adopt Common Core over Mass Standards. It’s a mandate.”

Pct 5 Town Meeting member Bob Cohn, said “it’s what the parents do for the students, along with the teachers and schools. It’s not the money.”

Pct 1 member John Linehan, waving his daughter’s degree from Endicott College, said, “The teachers in Stoughton are great. There have been changes in the student body. Some parents need to become more engaged. That’s the missing link. It’s about pulling up the bottom.” It’s obvious everyone wanted strong schools. There’s certainly proven evidence that good schools contribute to higher property values. The question was, did members feel that an extra $300,000 would make a worthwhile dent in the 40.7 million dollar school budget?

The answer came after another hour of back and forth discussion. And, after Moderator Howard Hansen, with assistance from Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney, had counted the votes, the schools won their fight, by a convincing 83-38 margin.

The Town, after moving funds into the Selectmen’s account to cover collective bargaining, then approved a final town budget of $76,341,448.

The next hour and a quarter of Annual Town Meeting were taken up by a very informative presentation by Finance Committee Chairman Rick Hill (a Pct. 2 TM rep, as well) on the town’s debt, which currently sits at $27,134,576. Authorized and unused debt totals $21,182,105.

Hill said the philosophy of Fincom has been to keep as much cash as possible in stabilization accounts, and borrow (at less than 2%) to boost the town’s credit rating. It’s working. Moody’s boosted the town from A1 to aa3 this year, lauding the town’s “manageable debt burden and satisfactory reserves.”

Selectman O’Regan said that the BOS is taking input from the Capitol Planning Committee, and is borrowing only items with a 5 year life and a cost of $20,000 and more. “As a policy issue, we don’t want to borrow for short-term consumables.”

So with only six more available dates before the required June 30 completion of Town Meeting, 70 articles remain. That’s right. In the first three nights of Town Meeting, ten articles---out of 80 on the Warrant—were completed.

With Hansen starting meetings at 7:45, and spending an average of 15 minutes regurgitating prior meeting activities, the pace is slow. And, with lines of speakers for every article, it may never get finished at all. It may necessitate a Special Town Meeting in the Fall.

Town Meeting continues on June 12. One of the items up for discussion---marijuana zoning. Yes, it’s high times at Stoughton High. And, let’s hope town meeting serves a birthday cake for this columnist. I should have worked up an appetite by then.

 

 


 

SHASTANY ELECTED

 

The FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association has elected Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany as 3rd Vice President of the organization's Executive Board on May 21. Via phone from Louisville, Kentucky, Shastany told Snyder's Stoughton, "It's quite an honor to be elected by popular vote of the members to the Executive Board. We now have an opportunity in Stoughton to put our name out as leaders in the law enforcement comunuty, instead of being followers of the FBI's probe of corruption here. It's synonymous with excellence. I'm extremely proud."

 


Anzivino Elected Chairman of the Board of Selectmen,
Cynthia Walsh remains Vice Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

ANNUAL TOWN MEETING 2013

 

Night #2 May 22, 2103

 
Wednesday, May 22, Town Meeting Night Two started late and didn't really get going until 8:10 p.m. It ended in the middle of a motion by the Stoughton Public Schools to add $308,000 to their 2014 budget, bringing the total department to $40,707,147. That was about what they originally requested,and replenished the cut by the Finance Committee in their recommendation. The Board of Selectmen had recommended $40,409,553.. About 1.1 million dollars of that total would fund Southeastern Regional School, Norfolk Agricultural Service, and Blue Hills Regional. Transportation costs were 1.7 million dollars. The rest would be dedicated to the Stoughton School District's effort to educate students in the Stoughton Schools..

The debate on the school committee's motion, voiced by Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, took a long time, and will have to wait for a conclusion until next Wednesday, May 29. The additional funding was to come from an additional $245,000 from the Town's tax levy, and $63,000 from "free cash", although Town Accountant Bill Rowe had stated that all the free cash had been accounted for in the Finance Committee's recommendations (the result of numerous hearings, subcommittees, and discussion.)  Town Meeting member Barry Crimmins said, "What price do we put on the education of our children? There is no investment that reaps a bigger dividend than our children." Others like Town Meeting member John Morton spoke about the impact a good education has on property values. I don't disagree. I've been a big supporter of the school system in two decades of town meeting and a nine year term on the finance committee. And, the schools requested a total of a 4.7% increase from their 2013 budget, matching approximately what Rowe said that the municipal side was asking for. Dr. Roberta Camacho, a 30+ year retired science teacher in the Stoughton Public Schools, is a member of the FinCom subcommittee. She did not support adding anything more to the budget. She said, "If you take a real good look at the FinCom recommendation on this budget, I could remove $700,000 out of this, without affecting the education of any of our students. In addition,the school committee did not deliver all the information we requested." The schools proposed to add 35 new full and part time positions, including a community relations specialist, 2 PT parent coordinators and 5 PT parent liaisons. Dr. Rizzi said she wanted to bring a "World Class Education" to the Stoughton Public Schools. I applaud her effort and that of the School Committee. 62% of the proposed $1,967,903 increase from the 2013 budget would pay for contractual teacher "steps" and raises. Even with the increase, Stoughton Schools would be funded about $2,000 under the state average per pupil.

Town Meeting opened with the Stoughton Police budget, which was increased to $5,333,926 by a unanimous vote, after an hour of discussion which centered more on a Board of Selectmen/Town Manager/Human Resources vs. Finance Committee battle on how to handle five union contracts that have not been negotiated to completion by the BOS, TM and HR trio yet. Pat Colburn, vice chair of the FinCom, pointed out that the FinCom subcommittees "worked their tails off to verify the numbers. We were told by the Board of Selectmen, the town manager and the HR Director that May 7 was a drop dead date. We put money in the budget to fund signed contracts. We were never given spread sheets we requested in January." FinCom Chairman Rick Hill said they were told to remove the Selectmen's Collective Bargaining Reserves from the budget, and they re-distributed them to other areas of the budget. "We don't have signed contracts. So, what do we fund?" Colburn said that inserting funding in the budget for raises that are not negotiated is not FinCom's job. "It's our sole responsibility to fund signed contracts, not to approve them without collective bargaining." Selectman Steve Anastos explained, "We now have contracts with 7 unions that expire on June 30. In order to negotiate in good faith, it's important to have funding. Without the selectmen's reserve,there is no funding source available." And, Selectman Chairman John Anzvino echoed that, adding, "We have been in this process since February. I would have liked all seven union contracts to be settled in time for Town Meeting, but I'm happy where we are." Town Counsel Brian Riley pointed out that Town Meeting must provide funding of negotiated contracts to validate them. In the end, the parties all agreed to make a motion at the end of the budget discussion (next Wednesday, in all probability) to move funds from the new Building Stabilization Fund of the Stabilization Fund into the Selectmen's Collective Bargaining Reserve line. Town members were happy with the police department, which was represented in person by Deputy Chief Robert Devine, and via a letter from Police Chief Paul Shastany, who was recently elected to a very prestigious FBI Executive Board  and is out of state. As mentioned, their budget--lost in the union talk--passed unanimously.

Town Meeting Night Two picked up a bit of speed after that contentious battle. Unanimously approved were Department of Public Works ($1,124, 083), Highway Department ($355,400), Snow Removal ($245,615), Street Lighting ($266,000, which includes $70,000 towards replacing broken wood and fiberglass lamps in some older subdivisions), and Public Property Parks & Trees ($29,850, which featured a 15 minute discussion on cigarette butts in the square. DPW Supt. John Batchelder quipped, "If we do away with smoking and red lights in the square, we can eliminate the cigarette issue.") Without discussion, and by unanimous voice vote, they also passed DPW Sanitation Department ($1,485,228), Council on Aging (382,887), Historical Commission ($1820), Library ($981,025), Memorial Day ($3700), Care of Soldier's Graves ($10,375), Recreation ($193,032), Veteran's ($606,439), and Youth Commission ($228,584).

It may have been the longest three+ hours I've ever sat through, especially with pain shooting through my leg. But, in the end, hard-working employees will get their raises, and harmony reigns. Will the schools get their additional money?. You bet they will. It's for the children! And, we always find the money somewhere. Iif we can--without hurting other departments, or crushing taxpayers with more taxes, we should.

Following the end of the budget next Wednesday, TM members will be greeted by a new Personnel By-Law and Classification and Compensation Plans from Jamie Kelley, the HR Director, and some proposals from the Community Preservation Committee on their recommended projects. Also, slated for discussion that night, is a new flood hazard zone by-law and the marijuana overlay district zoning. Inhale deeply, night three will be here in a week. It could even get one toke over the line.

(Posted on May 23, 2013 @ 6 a.m.)

 


 

 

 

 

Stoughton's Annual Town Meeting got underway on Monday, May 20 at Stoughton High School's Auditorium. Scheduled for a 7:30 start, it got underway at 7:50 p.m. Boy Scouts from Troops 516 and 88 provided a color guard with the US flag, and were accompanied by Congressman Stephen Lynch. Deputy Moderator Bob Mullen did a nice job reading the historic invocation from September 7, 1774. Congressman Lynch, who touched upon some of the scandals to beseige the Obama White House, also saluted Stoughton's own Jeffrey Johnston, who was his nominee for West Point. Lynch said that Johnston, who was the3 subject of a previous About Town piece, "is at or near the top of his class." Town Moderator Howard Hansen said he was honored to hear from a Congressman and a Senator in one day, noting, "It's unusual to hear from them, because they are not in my party." Hansen is a Republican. More on what Congressman Lynch had to say in tomorrow's About Town on Stoughton Patch.

Interim Selectman Chairman John Anzivino introduced a new Board of Selectmen initiative to the Town Meeting members. It's called "Best Practice" and involves many new ideas for improving town government. He invites anyone interested in hearing more to attend the Board of Selectmen meeting on Wednesday, May 22, at Stoughton High School, just before Town Meeting in Room B5.

After these formalities, the 122 Town Meeting members present (out of 154), took up the first of 80 articles before them. They unanimously passed five Enterprise Fun Budgets: Ambulance ($1,307,907), Cedar Hill Golf Course ($223,683), Public Health Association ($935,277), Sewer Department ($6,262,694) and Water Department ($5,055,713). They also passed an article which allows for revolving funds for the Council on Aging, the Recreation Department, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Stoughton Community Events Committee, The Stoughton Youth Commission, the Conservation Commission, the Board of Health (Hazardous Waste Material Control by-law), the Dept. of Public Works (Storm Water Management and Compost Bin program). A motion by new Pct. 8 Town Meeting member Denise Bronsdon to remove the GIS from this article, garnered support from Pct. 5 member Ed DeFelice. Bronsdon cited the lack of privacy, and the intrusion of government into her yard without her permission. She said that she feared that the GIS funding could go for intrusive "drones." Her motion lost and the revolving fund article passed unanimously.

Then, Town Meeting got into some of the meat on the table. Article 10--the town's budget. It started rather routinely, with departments passed including, Debt Service ($3,743,177), Finance Committee ($257,200), Insurances ($8,633,620), Moderator ($10,190), Muncipal Fuel Depot ($35,000), Retirement & Pensions ($3,389,611), Accounting ($304,078), Assessors ($295,278), Board of Selectmen ($139,799), Centralized Purchasing ($213,028), Elections ($26,600), Human Resources ($85,491), Information Systems ($251,962), Registrars ($54,781), Town Clerk ($200,455), Town Counsel ($354,000), Town House ($430,963), Town Manager ($325,159), Treasurer/Collector ($551,379), Unemployment Compensation ($35,000), Animal Control ($62,710), and Auxiliary Police ($5,163). Things were flying!

During discussion of the Building Department budget, Ed DeFelice made a motion to delete the $52,200 funding for a new Assistant Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer. Bob Mullen, a Pct 2 Town Meeting member, thought it was the fiduciary responsibility of Town Meeting to keep the tax rate down and didn't want any new positions added. Rick Hill, Chairman of the Finance Committee, noted that the Committee held numerous hearings where the reasons for the position were clearly delineated (if you missed them, you can still view them on Stoughtontv.com. Just hit on demand). Hill said, "It's a revenue generating department that brings in excess of $300,000." Town Manager Mike Hartman, at his first Stoughton town meeting, added, "With our current staffing, we can only address zoning complaints. With this position, we can be more pro-active on zoning enforcement. Last year, this department brought in close to $400,000." (The excess of over 100,000 dollars went into the General Fund, for all departments, including the schools.) Former interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., now a Town Meeting member, also supported the position, saying, "We have lawsuits because of things like this. This is a position that it is necessary for us to have. The building department has made it clear, and I've observed this as well. Fees are generated by the work done." Anzivino pointed out, "It could pay for itself by avoiding one lawsuit against this town." Selectman Robert O'Regan concurred, adding, "Code enforcement affects property value and quality of life." The budget, including the new position, passed, 84-32.

The Engineering Department survived another motion by Bronsdon, to zero out the $18,000 line in the budget for GIS. She again stressed "the most scrupulous protection from government invasion." She cited Lord Camden as saying, "Every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass." The Engineering budget passed intact, with two no votes after the GIS was explained by Town Engineer Ben Fehan and DPW Director John Batchelder. An upcoming article (56) looking to fund a GIS Town-Wide Fly Over is sure to generate more discussion along these lines. In defense of Bronsdon, Americans are becoming more and more distrustful of their government. With AG Eric Holder hesitating on drones killing Americans, the Obama administration's hijinks with the IRS and Department of Justice, can you blame them?

As the clock passed 10:30 p.m., the remaining Town Meeting members passed the Fire Department budget ($3,773,466) and Planning Board ($154,312). The Planning Board budget survived an attempt to remove the new $25,000 position of Economic Development Specialist. When Town Meeting meets again on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m., the first item on the agenda is the Police budget ($4,794,082).

(Posted on May 21, 2013 @ 12:20 a.m.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

BUILDING SITS EMPTY ON TECHNOLOGY DRIVE

 

 

STORY

 

 


 

 

TOWN MEETING STARTS ON MAY 20

Interested in where your tax money is going? Every penny in every budget is approved by Town Meeting members. They listen to recommendations from the Board of Selectman and the Finance Committee and make their own decisions. Snyder's Stoughton has been bringing resident taxpayers a unique view of Town Meeting for over two decades. As Chairman of Precinct 2, and a former full-term 9 year Finance Committee member (and Vice Chair), I know the budgets (and the tricks) and am the first to tell you about them. Find out what members are saying. Who is advocating for what, and the famous Quote of the Week.

Watch the meetings live on Channel 6 on Comcast and Channel 22 on Verizon. Want to follow the Warrant items"? That's Easy! Click on the link below.

(COPY OF THE 2013 WARRANT)

Photo by Mark Snyder

 

 


 

STOUGHTON MAN HELD ON $500,000 BAIL
IN ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF CURRY CHEERLEADER

PATCH STORY

 


 

TORNADO HITS STOUGHTON

Tornado took the "used car blowout" seriously, blowing out and twisting to
shreds a garage door at the dealership (above photo courtesy of WCVB-TV)

A funnel cloud came down at the old Bay State Ford about 4:45 p.m today (5/9), causing damage to several vehicles in the lot, destroying a bay garage door, and lifting a part of the roof. Firefighter Scott Mellyn said that the funnel cloud was visible from their Freeman Street station. It touched down near Shaws causing no reported damage. The Stoughton Police Department came to the Bay State Ford location and inspected the damage. The dispatcher there said that the police could not confirm it was a tornado. But, Michael Lupacchino, of the internal finance department there, told Snyder's Stoughton that they could see the funnel cloud and hear the loud wind noise. He said that the roof over the office was temporarily blown up and the sky was visible. The wind blew through one garage and took the other one off it's heavy bolts, flinging them, and ripping the door up like an accordian. The tornado also lifted two large trailers in the lot, smacking them into one another, and landing one on a huge boulder that also hit the air. It through one of the trailers through part of the fence on Rt. 138.

The National Weather Service has tweeted from their Boston account that IT WAS A TORNADO, as we first reported on April 9th, due to photos and video clearly showing a funnel cloud.

Yesterdays Article, which appears in Today's (5/10) Stoughton Patch, with additional info from Jeffrey Pickette.:

It came down at the Bay State Pre-Owned Ford dealership at 1776 Washington St. on Route 138 around 4:45 p.m on Thursday, May 9, causing damage to several vehicles in the lot, destroying a bay garage door, and lifting a part of the roof.

Stoughton firefighter Scott Mellyn said that the funnel cloud was visible from their Freeman Street station in the downtown. 

The Stoughton Police Department came to the Bay State Ford location and inspected the damage. The dispatcher there said that the police could not confirm it was a tornado.

But, Michael Lupacchino, of the internal finance department at the Bay State Pre-Owned Center, told About Town that they could see the funnel cloud and hear the loud wind noise.

He said that the roof over the office was temporarily blown up and the sky was visible. The wind blew through one garage door and took the other one off its heavy bolts, flinging them, and ripping the door up like an accordion.

The tornado also lifted two large trailers in the lot (which weigh several thousands of pounds), smacking them into one another, and landing one on a huge boulder that also hit the air. One of the trailers crashed into a fence. 

The Stoughton Fire Department reported a tree down on Dean Road, which is located in the neighborhood behind the Ford dealership. But there were no other tornado-related calls or reports of damage. 

Local meteorologists seem relatively convinced a small tornado hit town. 

WCVB-TV meteorologist Harvey Leonard tweeted that based on pictures and video he saw it "indicates a small tornado touched down in Stoughton."

"Looking at new pictures and video tonight, am becoming more convinced of weak tornado in Stoughton," FOX 25 meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz tweeted.

Take a look at a video below this article of the funnel cloud shot from Brockton in the Oak St./Pearl St. area near the Stoughton line (video courtesy Pete Fountain). 

 

VIDEO BY PETE FOUNTAIN OF TORNADO--FROM OAK STREET IN BROCKTON

(Photos by Mark Snyder)

 

 


 

 

SELECTMEN WHIP WHIPLASH

 

The Stoughton Board of Selectmen dropped the hammer on May 8, just about assuring that Whiplash will be out of business in short order, as it is currently run. First, Cynthia Walsh moved to change the venue's hours, rolling back the 1 a.m. closing to 11 p.m. That alone may have killed a business than owner Danny Silva said makes most of its money from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. That passed unanimously, 4-0, with Steve Anastos not in attendance.) Then, T.J. Recupero moved to revoke the establishment's entertainment license. That one won, 3-1, with Cynthia Walsh opposing it. Finally, the sledgehammer landed with Bob O'Regan's motion to suspend the Whiplash liquor license the entire month of June. That one also passed 3-1 with Walsh opposing.

Earlier Sgt. John Bonney, Deputy Chief Robert Devine, Police Chief Paul Shastany, and Officer Matthew Farwell all testified to the situation on April 14, when five arrests were made, and a woman tried to take Bonney's gun out of his holster. They talked about the drain on law enforcement resources, with the entire overnight crew there regularly for closing time, and that night 3 cruisers from Randolph and three more from Canton, in addition to the State Police, were needed to quell the disturbance. Shastany and Devine spoke about the Boston Police Gang Unit notifying Stoughton Police that rival Boston gangs had chosen Whiplash as their spot to party (and evidently, to fight.) Shastany said that he was afraid one of his officers would be killed. He feared for the safety of them, the patrons, the employees and neighbors.

Unfortunately for Silva, a week later, on April 21, there was a shooting, with two victims--one a 16 year old boy. Officer Farwell said the crowd "had zero respect for anyone, including uniformed officers." Shastany said that "problems were spiraling out of control and it was a serious public safety issue. The problem was not going away, unless it was addressed. It galls me to have my officers repeatedly exposed to violence."

Silva didn't have an attorney with him, and Town Counsel Brian Riley repeatedly asked him if he wanted to question witnesses. He didn't. He did address a huge printout of "police incident" reports over the past two years. He said many of these were routine, including delivery of paperwork from the SPD. He also said he did not receive it until just before the meeting. Silva, a lifelong resident of Stoughton, has put a ton of money into refurbishing the inside of the club, which is beautiful. He has raised $100,000 for charities in his 12 years in business. (I attended one for the State Theatre, featuring Lori McKenna and Mike Viola, which attracted hundreds of Stoughton residents.)

After the decision was rendered, Deputy Chief Devine was happy. "I think it was fair. The Board took the safety of our officers and the town's residents seriously. We're pleased," he told Snyder's Stoughton.

Walsh told me she voted against the last two motions because "The ABCC wants to see progression. Regardess of the incidents, the letter mentions one date, and it was his first time before this Board. Do you need a sledgehammer or a flyswatter?" The liquor license suspension can be appealed. The shortening of hours is not appealable, according to Walsh.

Quote of the Week: Walsh, when viewing photos of events at Whiplash on a giant screen, said, "Some of the girls are much more attractive than their mug shots."

 


(photos by Mark Snyder)


 

MURDER IN STOUGHTON

 

Last night(5/4) at approximately 7:23 p.m., the Stoughton Police Department was called to 76 Glen Echo Road to perform a well being check for the resident of that address, 46 year old Anita Clark.

Friends expressed concern because Clark, who we understand worked as a phlebotomist, had missed work and had been out of contact for a period of time.

Police made entry with a key supplied by the callers and went from room to room. Police found indications of a struggle in a bedroom area.

Probing into a closet in that bedroom, Officers found Anita Clark dead. She had been covered . Stoughton Fire arrived and confirmed that she had expired.

Stoughton Patrol officers then held the scene and summoned detectives from their department and the State Police Detective Unit attached to the district attorney’s office.

A warrant was obtained to search the premises. State and Stoughton police have been investigating and developing information since that time.

We are awaiting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death, but there were obvious signs of trauma - possibly including stab wounds.

Evidence located inside the residence and developed through other investigation has established probable cause; a warrant for the arrest of Willie FOSTER, age 47 today. FOSTER is 170 pounds, height 5’11. He is a resident of Dorchester. He is the estranged husband of the victim.

 

The public is asked not to approach Mr. Foster. If you see him or know his whereabouts, please call 911 or the Stoughton Police Department at 781-344-2424.

 

He should be considered dangerous. He may be driving the victim’s automobile, although that is not a certainty. That automobile is a GRAY 2001 Pontiac Aztec bearing Massachusetts license plate number 4CTT10. If you believe that you know of his whereabouts, or potential whereabouts, please call the Stoughton Police Department or the Massachusetts State Police at 508-820-2121

 

 

**UPDATE**

Willie Foster has been arrested in Boston on the Stoughton District Court murder warrant . The District Attorney's Office anticipates an arraignment in the Stoughton District Court at or after 12:30 p.m. today (5/6). Further information on details of the arrest and any updated information relative to arraignment time will be released as it becomes available later this morning.
 

District Attorney Morrissey thanks the Stoughton Police Department and Massachusetts State Police detectives whose work on this investigation moved it forward so quickly, and thanks the Boston Police Department for taking the defendant into custody on this warrant.

Foster pled not guilty on May 6th at Stoughton District Court and is being held without bail until his June 7th Probable Cause hearing in Stoughton District Court.

 

 

(Photo courtesy of Jeff Pickette at Stoughton Patch. Watch the PRESS CONFERENCE HERE)

 


 

FROM "BANANA REPUBLIC" TO "RISING STAR"

Stoughton Picked As One of Top 13 Places To Live in Greater Boston

STORY

(photo by Hank Herbowy)


 

ACTIONS OF A FEW HURT EVERYONE
(language warning)

Halloran Park is a jewel in Stoughton. It has a "track" that has families walking in strollers, dog walkers (who can get a complimentary bag for cleanups there), joggers, and other assorted adults--young and old--who utilize the park every day. a A few times a year, Grace Church shows films there, and has fun fairs for the kids. There's also a basketball court. Groups of young people play there regularly. Most people pick up after their dogs, and most pick up after their own messes. But, recently, there was a large amount of garbage tossed on the ground at the basketball court (just a few feet from an empty barrel.) And, once again the backboards were covered in graffiti. The hoops were removed by the DPW to send a signal to the few who ruined it for everyone else. Will they get the message? We'll see. But, if you utilize the area (like I do), and see someone trashing the place, call the police. Or, tell them yourself. No one needs to see a diamond turned back into coal. The park is regularly maintained by the DPW. They fill the doggie waste bag dispenser all the time, and maintain the place very well. DPW Supt. John Batchelder told Snyder's Stoughton that Halloran Park was cleaned up as part of Pride of Stoughton day, and then cleaned again on Monday. This is what was most recently found. The kids who did it have no pride in their community or themselves.

There are barrels strategically placed all around the park. There are at least eight of them, that are regularly emptied by the DPW. There is simply NO excuse for throwing your filled McDonald's bag or Dunkin' Donuts cup on the lawn there. Spaces like this are precious and few. As a community, let's see if we can protect it!

(Posted on May 2, 2013 @ 11 a.m.)

 


STOUGHTON POLICE DEPARTMENT ACCREDITED!

Stoughton Police Deputy Chief Robert Devine and Sgt. Tom Murphy collect Stoughton's accreditation today in Andover. The Department is only the 36th one to receive such recognition out of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Police Chief Paul Shastany was at his daughter Lauren's graduation. She received her Doctorate in Audiology. A win-win for the Stoughton Police!

(Posted on May 2, 2013 @ 5 p.m.

When Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany came over from the Framingham Police Department April 5, 2010, the town was still reeling from a corruption probe that ended up with two officers in jail, and a former chief convicted on a felony charge. It was an ugly time for the Stoughton Police Department and the Town of Stoughton. The Boston Globe had termed Stoughton, "a banana republic." Morale in the Rose Street headquarters was at a low. Shastany promised to turn things around, and added, "My goal is accreditation of this department." At the time, it seemed like a pipe dream. But, on May 2, Deputy Chief Robert Devine and Sgt. Tom Murphy collected the official accreditation award from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. It made Stoughton the 36th town or city to be certified, out of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Murphy coordinated the entire accreditation effort, and he received the plaque with Devine. Shastany was at his daughter Lauren’s doctorate graduation today. But, he was elated when notified by the MPAC. He told Snyder’s Stoughton, "Where did the time go? Three years. I’m so proud. The officers put their faith and trust in me. They’ve had a number of chiefs in the past ten years. They all stepped up. I’m fortunate that I was the man sworn in on that date. But, we still have things we need to work on." Towns nearby that are accredited include Abington and Easton.

 

 


 

SINCEREST CONDOLENCES TO FORMER SELECTMAN JOHN KOWALCZYK AND HIS WIFE MARY ON THE PASSING OF THEIR SON GRAIG AT 6 a.m. on MAY 1st. HE WAS A WONDERFUL YOUNG MAN.

Stoughton is saddened at the death of 37 year old Graig John Kowalczyk, who passed away yesterday  (Wednesday, May 1, 2013) at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton after a lifelong struggle with Muscular Dystrophy.
 
He was the beloved son of former Stoughton Selectman John J. Kowalczyk and Mary R. (Power) Kowalczyk, a teacher at the West Elementary School in Stoughton. Born in Quincy, Graig was raised and educated in Stoughton and was a 1994 graduate of Stoughton High School. He also attended Massasoit Community College in Brockton, and worked as a dispatcher at the Stoughton Police Department in Stoughton.
 
Stoughton Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine said that  "Graig was a good and gentle soul that made all those who knew him smile. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family." Stoughton Police Officer Sandra Barrett wrote, "Graig was always such a pleasure to be around and had such a great sense of humor. He was truly inspiring. May he rest peacefully."   Ed Mercer, a family friend from South Carolina, was thinking along the same lines, adding, "Graig was such a compassionate and caring person. I know he will be missed by all those that knew him."  Jonathan Bloom, a friend from Easton, looked back on Graig's days as a dispatcher: "I think the thing that impressed me the most about Graig when I knew him (when he was working as a dispatcher) was he always appeared to face life head on. He never made excuses, never sought sympathy or pity as others in his position may have done & was always 'his own man' and a good man at that."
 
Graig was the Massachusetts State Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He loved music and was an avid Bruins and Patriots fan, who enjoyed talking with family and friends.
 
Stoughton Private Investigator James Lindelof said Graig  was "a tough kid and an inspiration. His picture will always be in our hearts."  Sharon Fradkin of the Sharon/Stoughton League of Women Voters, wrote to John and Mary, "Graig's life was a struggle on so many levels and yet, it seems, he handled it graciously and lovingly and you must know how your love and support made his length on this earth possible."  Bob Evangelista, president of STOYAC, wrote, "Graig was an exceptional human being who simply enjoyed life and fought everyday because of that."
 
Lisa LaCasse D'Andrea might have put it perfectly. She wrote a note to Graig the day before he died: "You are the most amazing person, I miss our late night talks and I have learned so much from you! Anytime I feel sorry for myself I think of you and your amazing courage, personality and charm. I wish there were more people in the world like you."

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his brother Keith J. Kowalczyk, MD and his wife Tara of Washington, DC.  To those who met Graig, he will live on in their memories.  He was an inspiration to so many people. May he Rest in Peace.

Funeral will be held from the Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St. (Rt.27) Stoughton on
Saturday, March 4 at 8 AM, followed by a Funeral Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Stoughton at 9 AM. Visiting Hours Friday, March 3,  from 5-8 PM. Interment will take place at Evergreen Cemetery, Stoughton. Donations in Graig's memory may be made to the parish of the Kowalczyk family friend and Holy Cross and Notre Dame priest, Fr. Steve Newton: St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church, 601 West Burnside St., Portland OR, 97209. Donations can also be made directly at www.standrechurch.org.

 


Congrats to new Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine

STORY


 

HUSSEINI AND BROWN ELECTED TO SCHOOL COMMITTEE

About 3750 residents took the time to vote in the April 30 town election. In the only contested race, Vice Chairman Joyce Husseini was re-elected in a first place finish, with 1783 votes. Dr. Carol Brown finished second with 1377 votes, 60 ahead of the third place finisher Patricia MacNeil. Debra Cote finished fourth with 1191 votes. I think Dr. Rizzi may be breathing a sigh of relief.

Husseini told Snyder's Stougton that, "I'm happy to be able to finish up the work we started. We're in the middle of contract negotiations. I was thrilled this time around to have opponents. Last time I ran unopposed. This time we were able to have a dialogue on the school system. The voters got to know me a bit more. I respect the other three candidates who ran." Husseini said she was excited to have an educator joining the Board. "Dr. Carol Brown has no conflicts and will be able to participate fully. I'm looking forward to her input." On Husseini's immediate radar is Town Meeting, Budgets, and Contract Negotiations. She said Stoughton is in good position to tackle the Common Core Standards curriculum being introduced.

Dr. Carol Brown, author of two books, and an Administrator for the Boston School System, was excited to be elected. She thanked her campaign chairman Stan Zoll and her treasurer Gerald McDonald. She told me, "The campaign was hard work. I want to thank the other candidates. We had a lot of fun and we were supportive of one another. I want to talk to the other members of the school committee and find out what their goals are. I'll do what I can to support them. Winning is exciting. The people came out and they spoke. They were embracive of me. I love education. This is what I do."

Pat MacNeil was unavailable for comment.

Debra Cote said, "I hope they both work very hard to promote the changes that need to take place. I wish them luck." When asked if she planned to run again, Cote said, "We'll see where I am career-wise in a year or two."

School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural wrote, "I congratulate Joyce Husseini and Carol Brown for winning the election. I look forward to working with them. I applaud Pat MacNeil and Debra Cote for courageously voicing their views. Election results show that their views resonated with many Stoughton voters. I hope this temporary setback will not discourage them, and they will continue to be passionate volunteers advocating for schoolchildren."

In other election news, Attorney T.J. Recupero won an uncontested race for John Stagnone's vacated seat on the Board of Selectmen. Howard Hansen won an uncontested race to remain Town Moderator. Barry Crimmins won a write-in campaign for a vacant seat on the Housing Authority. Forrest Lindwall was re-elected in an uncontested race for Redevelopment Authority.

(photos courtesy and Mark Snyder)

Posted on April 30. 2013 @ 10:30 p.m.

LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS
SPECIAL ST

ATE SENATE ELECTION RESULTS

 


 

 

 

SEWER PROJECT DOESN'T SMELL RIGHT....

The town's efforts to put sewerage on Park Street doesn't look good. A capacity crowd filled Town Hall on Monday night (4/29) and not one person voiced support for the project. Selectman Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh, on lives on Park Street, certainly was not enthusiastic. "They want to put a $73,500 betterment charge on my property for this sewer project. My pension is $18,000 a year. "Until Farley carries me out of there, there won't be industrial development on my property. I prefer to leave it to the next generation of the Walsh family." Walsh said there is a working farm on the property, with goats, chickens and corn.

Town Engineer Ben Fehan and Engineer Mark Thompson from Kleinfelder (a municipal engineering firm) had a Power Point presentation on the project, which they estimate will cost 6.3 million dollars (and if approved at May 2013 and May 2014 Town Meetings) would be completed by November 2015. Stoughton Town Assessor Joe Gibbons estimated the project could eventually bring a million dollars in additional tax revenue from new development, and filling the many empty buildings at Campanelli Industrial Park.

But, the crowd was unanimously against assessing $10,000-$30,000 per residential unit and $70,000-$300,000 for commercial and industrial properties along the route. Finance Committee Chair Rick Hill suggested that the anticipated growth be put in a separate fund to pay for the project. Others thought the Town should change the 10% interest they charge, as well. As presented, the project is too expensive for most people (and many companies) to afford in this recession.

The impetus for this project, for the past decade or so, has been The Chateau (formerly Nocera's) Restaurant, which has experienced many expensive problems with their septic system, and really would like sewerage. And, some of the reason cited for the empty buildings in Campanelli Industrial Park, was the lack of sewerage in the area.

Town Meeting will be tackling a Warrant item to pay for the Design Phase of the project ($500,000), and another one to allow the town to lower the interest rates on these types of projects, when assessing citizens their betterment assistance. It should be noted that residential properties are charged based on the square footage of their frontage, which often times has nothing to do with the value of their property, or the costs associated with connecting sewerage.

DPW Director John Batchelder, although not fully giving the project his blessing, did say, "We are also looking to sewer the south end of Rt. 138 to Easton, and the other end of Park Street to the square. We should go ahead with the survey and design plan. We got a four million dollar grant from the MWRA for our water. You need shovel ready projects with a plan, to qualify to get grants. You want to be ready in case that golden egg comes our way."

Elaine Felos Ostrander's son, Ted, who is now running No Jokes Graphics out of the old Twin-Kee factory (and Felos Memorial Art Center), said that he has paid $120,000 for septic, which is working fine, and he didn't want to have to spend $70,000 for his commercial property and $20,000 for his house, for the sewer line. Elaine, who now lives on the Cape, told Snyder's Stoughton Monday night, "My son actually expressed my sentiments too, as between the art center and the two houses up front we have put out over $150,000.00 in the past five years for septic systems that we had to do and were told by the town that there was no plan to put sewerage on Park Street and we couldn't hook up to the sewerage across the street.  We are, of course, adamantly against this plan and cannot afford to be a part of it.  Where was this commission ten years ago or even five years ago?  We were forced to do the septic system on the art center that could handle probably 60 people or more and we probably only have 10 on any given day."

From this meeting, which had many members of the community, as well as the finance committee, it appears this sewer project is getting flushed down the proverbial toilet.

(Posted on April 29, 2013 @ 10 p.m.)

 

 


 

A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER

 

Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany and Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine went before Selectmen on Tuesday night to discuss the latest incident at Whiplash Nightclub on Wyman Street. Devine said the club was a “Clear and present danger.” Last Saturday, two people were shot outside the venue. The weekend before, a melee occurred after closing, and six Boston residents were arrested. Devine said that if the atrocity in Boston had not occurred, that this incident would have been on TV and in all the papers. Just what Stoughtondoesn’t need. “It was another violent event there,” Devine said, “These people left a licensed establishment that has had a deterioration of good practices. We have been proactive to create a safe environment in this town. Whiplash is a serious threat to the residents of Stoughton and its police officers. They are attracting gangs from Boston. The management is incapable of complying. I’ve forced them to hire detail officers for events. But, they tie up our entire midnight shift at closing.” Devine asked selectmen to modify their closing time from 1 a.m. back to 11 p.m. He requested that their alcohol license be suspended for a long period of time, and that they be put on probation after complying with necessary requirements. Lastly, Devine requested that their entertainment license be revoked, and that DJ’s and Dancers be banned.

Shastany, in a letter to selectmen, wrote, “It is a fact that Whiplash, whether knowingly or unknowingly, is attracting known criminal gangs from Boston. We cannot tolerate a business that brings violence to our town. The consequences of mixing those rogue gangs together, in and outside of Whiplash, were seen Saturday night. We cannot arrest our way out of this situation, nor do I have any hope that things will become safer without the intervention of the Board of Selectmen. Whiplash is incapable of satisfactorily complying with our efforts to eliminate that element from the club.”

Club owner Danny Silva spent hundreds of thousands of dollars remodeling the inside of the club. I attended a very successful fundraiser there, featuring Lori McKenna and Mike Viola. Can Silva’s nightclub make it with just local customers? I doubt it. His best bet might be to convert the place to a bar and grille, and start a different business plan that includes serving lunch and dinner. Shootings outside a club usually don’t portend a good future. Look at what happened with The Clubhouse in Randolph. I like Danny. I wish him the best. However, he did not return my requests for comment.

Ironically, the Whiplash Facebook page had an ad looking for help on April 18. It read, “Shooter Girl Wanted for Saturday Nights @ Whiplash.”

Selectman have scheduled a hearing on the entertainment and alcohol licenses for Whiplash on May 8th. The Board will have Town Counsel there, and Whiplash will have their attorney.

(Posted on 4/24/13 @ 11 a.m.)

 


 

SAT SCORES IN--
Stoughton in bottom 10%

 

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the combined SAT scores of all of the 351 Towns and Cities in Massachusetts. Of the 48 schools in the regional area, Stoughton High students finished 43rd, with a combined score of 1417. Sharon was first with a 1775. The only places with lower scores than Stoughton were Avon (1304), Brockton (1289), Randolph (1309), Holbrook (1292), and Wareham (1375). Neighbors scores included Braintree (1612), Canton (1573), Easton (1601), Norwood (1464), Quincy (1450), Weymouth (1494) and Walpole (1590). Obviously, socio-economic conditions, and the number of native English-speaking families enters into this equation, as well. But Marion and Rochester had the same scores, with the average house in Marion going for $552,700 and $335,705 in Rochester. Stoughton's average home goes for $272,752, according to the Mass. Dept. of Revenue. Sharon's goes for $419,720. The highest priced average home in the area was $858,072 in Cohasset, where the combined SAT score was 1667.

School Committee Vice Chairman Joyce Husssini, felt that socio-economic reasons were behind the tests. She wrote, " Income level plays a large role in overall scores.  I chose very conservatively to compare an income range of 40-60K to 100-120K.  Many families in Stoughton fall well below and above those lines.  In that income range there is a 116 point difference.  If you compare scores in households with parents with a high school diploma vs. a bachelors degree the difference is 183 points.  Again, many towns that surround us have education levels of parents far beyond a bachelors degree.  In my opinion, articles such as the one in the Globe, and the debate over these scores is irresponsible and only serves to vilify the children who work so hard to succeed.  We cannot change the poverty levels or parents education level.  We can send them all to Kaplan for a hefty fee where they guarantee a 100 point increase in your test score.  But if we did that or spent the equivalent of a Kaplan test prep on each student just to increase their SAT scores we would be concentrating our efforts on raising the scores of an artificial benchmark that even colleges and universities understand to be flawed.  Our money and time is better spent on curriculum that enriches students education, exposes them to content and options that allow them to make career choices they may not have considered, and on helping all students achieve their full potential.  The only score that should be important to any person is their child's test score, and even that should be kept in context.  To rate the schools and the town by a score that indicates their property value does just that - it rates their property value.  The answer to increasing that includes many more factors beyond the school system." In addition, Husseini shared a personal experience with the tests with Snyder's Stoughton, adding, "  I have a few problems with using SAT scores, or any standardized test score, as a sole indicator of the success of a school system.  The SATs are a test that is biased towards upper class, white America, with people who grow up in homes where the parents have achieved a higher level of education, and where the families are native English speakers.  It was a biased test when I was in high school and it still is today.  It is losing popularity with colleges as an entrance requirement for those very reasons.  My experience with the bias is firsthand.  I had an excellent math SAT score but my verbal score would be described as abysmal.  I grew up in a home where neither of my parents spoke English until they entered the public school system.  My performance on the SATs may have limited my college choices, I will never know, but it in no way limited access to post-secondary education or my ability to have a successful career." Husseini also said 88% of SHS students take the SAT's, more than towns like Norwood, where less than two thirds of students take it.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi tells me, "I am happy that a larger percentage of our students take the test than in most places, even though some of these are not as prepared to get the best possible scores.  A test on which the score can be raised over 100 points by taking a for-profit prep course, is not, in my view the best indicator of aptitude, as some other assessments might be."  

School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural went in a different direction. "As a parent and a school committee member, I am painfully aware of the
fact that Stoughton SAT scores, and Stoughton’s ranking among Massachusetts school districts have been declining sharply. SAT scores are a measure of the quality of education Stoughton School District provides. This decline is certainly not the fault of the Stoughton children and parents. I believe the root cause of the problem is that the superintendent focuses her energy to hiding or rationalizing her failures, instead of being a good educational leader for our district.
Regrettably, the school committee chair and vice-chair are misguided to think that their job is to be the unconditional cheerleaders of the
superintendent."

The School Department gets a generous amount of money each year at Town Meeting. The thought is that a good school system lifts the value of homes. We turned to a longtime resident of Stoughton and a Realtor for 31 years, for his view on the results. Realtor Fred Yaitanes (of the Fred & Nadine Team at Keller Williams) told Snyder's Stoughton, "I look at the results of our SAT scores in decline and see that we will continue to struggle to attract a higher caliber clientele who want to buy their home and raise their family here in town. While we can debate the pros and cons of SAT scores, it was and still is a measurement for evaluating the quality of our schools whether we want to believe it or not. I deal with the question of the quality of our school system every day as a Realtor. The primary reason why people with children buy homes is the school system, period! And the reason that I’m seeing many of the homes that Nadine and I list for sale is that they want their kids in a different school system. We lose a number of people to Easton, Canton and Sharon annually. Each has a higher median sale price, and the school systems in all 3 towns are more highly rated than ours. All parents want to give their kids the best opportunity for success. Education is at the foundation. They look at what Stoughton is doing in measurable terms and they don’t like it. We will continue to lose the higher income earners to our surrounding towns and will replace them with a lower income family who can afford our lower median home value. So, unless we can find the way to stop the decline in our system, we will be in a whirlpool with no way out and will always be known as the place that people will buy because they can’t afford Easton, Sharon and Canton."

 

Certainly, an education cannot be measured simply by tests.  If it were, based on MCAS and STA's, Stoughton would be mediocre, at best.  But, graduates from SHS have been going to some of the best colleges and universities in the country, year after year.  Graduates are succeeding in life, and in business. I think those things may be a more accurate measuring stick for the Stoughton school system.

 

(Posted on April 22, 2013 @ 5:30 p.m. Updated on April 24 at noon. Written by Mark Snyder)


 

 

SPARRING WITH A TERRORIST

Stoughton's Gold Glove boxer Sean Bettencourt told Snyder's Stoughton that he had been in the same ring as the late accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  Bettencourt, who is now fighting as a professional with a winning record, told Snyder's Stoughton exclusively that, "We just sparred and I dropped him with one body shot. It was a year and a half ago. I haven't seen him since then."  When asked his response to the terrible atrocities of the bombings, and the horrid toll it left, Bettencourt just said, "I would give anything to be able to knock him out right now." Bettencourt made Regimen Boxing's Top Five Knockdowns of 2011. Check out the video!

(Posted on April 21, 2013 @ 8 p.m.)


Stoughton Man Shares Photos
From Boston's Toughest Days

Justin Whitakker of JWhittaDesigns wrote to Snyder's Stoughton, "I was driving down I-93 Southbound and happen to hit traffic. I inched up a little and saw this scene. I pulled over immediately, and jumped up on the barrier and snapped these three photos of this stunning site. These pictures represent Unity, Stride, Sorrow, Pain, but overall what our state, our city and our citizens are about--Strength. #BostonSTRONG #R.I.P I Hope that you could use them and appreciate them coming locally, rather then from a news agency." Justin, I'm happy to share them!

JUSTIN'S PHOTOS

 


 

WHAT DOES THE TOWN PAY ITS EMPLOYEES?

Once Again, Snyder's Stoughton reveals ALL:

2012 Municipal Salaries

2012 School Salaries

(information provided by Town Treasurer Donna Erickson)

Posted on march 28, 2013

All Municipal Employees--2011 Gross Wages (includes overtime) (here)
All 2011 School Dept. Employees--Salaries (here)

(Information provided by Town Treasurer Donna Erickson )


SHOOTING AT WHIPLASH NIGHTCLUB

On April, 21 2013 at 12:45 a.m, a shooting occurred in the parking lot of the Trackside Plaza, adjacent to the Whiplash nightclub. Stoughton Police Officers were already on scene and quelling a fight inside the nightclub when the shots rang out. One victim was found on the ground of the parking lot with serious injuries and was Med Flighted to Massachusetts General Hospital.

An apparent second victim walked into another Boston area hospital with a wound to the leg later in the morning. Due to a large crowd of fleeing people creating a chaotic scene, officers have not yet been able to identify all of the involved parties. Stoughton Detectives in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police and the Boston Police Department are processing evidence found at the scene and conducting a thorough investigation. We would like to extend our gratitude to the Canton, Sharon and Randolph Police Departments for also providing assistance. The matter is ongoing.

Every Saturday night the club, which is located near the intersection of Wyman and Morton, has a Caribbean night, with music from the Islands. When Snyder's Stoughton drove by at 9:30 p.m., a Stoughton Police cruiser and Stoughton Police van were outside. But, there was no sign of trouble in the area.

Snyder's Stoughton attended a sold-out fundraiser at Whiplash, which featured Lori McKenna and Mike Viola. But, according to police, Whiplash has been a burden to public safety.

Executive Officer Robert Devine told Snyder's Stoughton, "One need only look at the police logs to see the drain on police resources that the Whiplash has become. The entire shift has had to be used to clear their crowd 91 times in the last calendar year. We have responded to fights and disorder culminating in this morning's shooting. The police department has taken steps to attempt to mitigate this escalating violence at the Whiplash by imposing the hiring of police details in the club, and diverting resources to clear their lot after closing, almost every weekend. The crowds have been ill-behaved and our residents deserve better."

As recently as April 14, a brawl broke out at Whiplash and five Boston residents were arrested.

Owner Danny Do Silva has not responded to a Facebook private message regarding the shooting.

(Posted on 4/21/13 @ 10 a.m. Information obtained from Stoughton Police Department Facebook page and Snyder's Stoughton.)

 

 

 


 

Stoughton man charged with smuggling drugsInto Norfolk County House of Correction

                 A 26-year old Stoughton man has been arrested and charged with smuggling drugs into the Norfolk County House of Correction in Dedham by mailing envelopes doctored to appear as if they came from area law firms to avoid detection, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey.                 “Sheriff Mike Bellotti contacted us last month to begin a joint investigation based on information that his department had developed,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “With their partnership, Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to our drug unit executed a search warrant this afternoon on a package that had arrived at the facility. Evidence they gathered provided probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant.”  Robert John Hanrahan of 17 Pinetree Road in Stoughton, will be arraigned in the Stoughton District Court Wednesday, April 17 on the following charges: 1.      Possession with Intent Class “B” Substance / 94C-32C (Suboxone)

 2.      Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Act / 94C-40     3.   Delivering or Procuring to Deliver Contraband into Correction Facility /  Chapter 268- Section 31

 

Officers from the Stoughton Police Department participated in arresting Hanrahan at the Stoughton home of a friend. He was arrested without incident and is being held over night at the Stoughton Police Department. The maximum penalty on the smuggling charge is 5 years in state prison, according to Morrissey. "I want to commend District Attorney Morrissey's office and the Stoughton Police for working with us to keep this dangerous contraband out of the jail," Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti said following the arrest.

             Authorities said 29 ½ strips of what is believed to be Suboxone were recovered; that quantity might have an estimated street value of $1,000, but a potential value of several times that inside a penal institution.

 

Bellotti and Morrissey said the investigation is continuing.


Stoughton joins DA Morrissey and NAC at“Responding to School-Based Violence” Conference

                Six Stoughton police and school officials attended the “Responding to School-Based Violence” conference hosted by Norfolk DA Michael Morrissey and Norfolk Advocates for Children last week.

              Stoughton Police Detective Erik Feist, school resource Officers Roger Hardy and Robert Kuhn, and executive Officer Robert Devine attended the half-day conference, as did High School assistant principal Michael O’Neil and  school nursing director Patricia Small. 

Sessions addressed complex issues including the developmental impact on children who experience bullying, harassment, dating violence and other trauma, and specific strategies for responding to those events at different age levels. Other presentations detailed the services that the non-profit NAC offers to area communities, including training on Massachusetts laws governing the mandated reporter statute, teen dating violence, bullying, cyber-bullying and other issues that threaten the well-being of children.“Norfolk Advocates for Children is a public-private partnership of more than 50 agencies – including all 27 Norfolk County police departments, hospitals, state agencies, and private health professionals – with the shared goal of helping children who have been abused and helping prevent future abuse,” District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said. “Today’s seminars were an important part of the work we do, and I am very pleased to see Stoughton’s strong participation.”

More than 75 school and police personnel from across the county attended the event, which was held March 28 in conference space donated by the Bank of Canton. The project is supported by a federal grant from the US Department of Justice Programs.

 


 

HELP WANTED!! 

Town Moderator Howard Hansen had never seen it this bad.  Literally, EVERY precinct didn't have enough people on the April 30th Town Election ballot to fill up Town Meeting.  In fact, in Precincts 7 & 8 alone, there were 16 slots on the ballot and 1 candidate!  Hansen had run a meeting at the Council on Aging last month, which followed a very busy Master Plan meeting, but very few new faces were in the crowd.  So, Hansen decided to take another shot. Last night, at the Stoughton High School Media Center, he held another meeting to try to recruit people, and to solidify those trying to run a write-in campaign. Twenty or so Town Meeting reps came to the meeting (including this writer) to try to help recruit.

But, honestly, there couldn't have been more than a half dozen potential Town Meeting members that came.  They must have felt like car buyers walking into a dealership and getting the high pressure sales pitch.  I know that I spoke with a few people and told them all the fun they'd have serving (I had my fingers crossed.) I did recommend to a couple people with sleeping disorders that they sign up.  I know that many of us are drowsy by the end of each meeting.   Still, I'm not sure how many people that came will actually end up at Town Meeting.

But, seriously, EVERY PENNY SPENT by the town is approved by the members of Town Meeting.  You will learn the inner workings of or budget, and really take some ownership of the place you call home.  I'd highly recommend EVERY RESIDENT WHO CARES about their town to get as many neighbors and friends to write their names on the ballot and go for it!    62 seats are up for grabs this year, and only 24 people are on the ballots, leaving 38 seats open for potential write-in candidates. There are openings in every precinct. 

Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney wanted to remind those who may have interest in running as a write-in candidate that there are parameters for how to do write ins.  Write-in candidates must receive a minimum of 12 votes and sign an acceptance form 72 hours after the election in order to be officially elected and take a seat at Town Meeting. The correct write-in name and address must be placed within the proper space on the ballot.  You can learn details of the exact type of label you can print up to fit the ballots (and make it easier to win a write-in vote) by calling Hansen at 781-344-4282, or can stop by the Town Clerk's office and speak to Cheryl.

(Photos by Mark Snyder. Top left: Part of small crowd. Top middle Tony Sousa and Anita Hill. Top right: Lou Gitto and Eric Kolman. Bottom: Moderator Hansen leads the meeting.

(Posted on April 9, 2013 @ 11 a.m.)

 

 


 

SCHOOLS LOOKING INTO "One on One"
TECHNOLOGY FOR THE CLASSROOMS

According to Stoughton School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee, "The Stoughton Public School system is very close to going to one to one computing – one
student, one computing device - using mobile technology. Whether that will be using iPads, Chromebooks, Nexus, or some other version of a tablet/netbook remains to be seen.

STATEMENT ON ONE ON ONE


Local Spiritual Leader Battles Cancer

 

Rev. Jean Lenk was leading a very busy life, like most of us.  The spiritual leader of the First Congregational Church of Stoughton for the past eight years, she is also a mother to 23-year old Elizabeth and 16 year old Ian; wife to her husband Peter, and caretaker of her 92 year old father, who lives with them.   She was preparing for Holy Week, the most solemn week of the church year.  It covers the period from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday, from Jesus’ celebratory entry into Jerusalem to his betrayal, arrest, crucifixion and death.

 

The 59 year old told Snyders Stoughton that she wished to share the news that turned her life upside down, and the faith that she has that it will be righted once again.  Ironically, she got the life-altering news on Good Friday.

 

She explained, “I learned that day that I have Stage IV cancer.  It started in my pelvic region, and it had spread to the T6 vertebrae, both my lungs, and my thyroid. My only symptom, back pain, began in mid-January.  My primary doctor referred me to an orthopedist. He thought it was muscle strain and put me on PT and pain pills.  When that didn’t work, he ordered an MRI.  My doctor called, said something looked funky, and ordered a CAT scan.  I met with the oncologist on Good Friday (the timing is beyond ironic) and he had the unhappy task of explaining to Peter and me the extent of the cancer.”

 

Lenk immediately started a three week course of radiation to try to shrink the tumor in her back. It was close to her spine and threatened her future mobility.  Then, she’s slated for a course of chemotherapy. Rev. Lenk is on medical leave for as long as she needs to get well.  As I mentioned, she’d like to share her journey with her friends here in Stoughton, and beyond.  She wrote, “I am deeply grateful that I will not be making this journey alone.  I have my family, my Church, and God who will accompany me THROUGH the valley (not into it) to healing, hope, and new life on the other side!” 

 

You can follow her story at  https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jeanlenk.  You'll have to sign yourself in to that site via your email or Facebook account.  Her page's password is ihavefaith.  She wanted me share that with all of you, so that you will visit her there on a regular basis.  Leave Rev. Jean some words of encouragement, and let the community surround her with love.

 

She is having a biopsy on her spine tumor this morning (April 5) at Study Hospital in Attleboro. She wasn't as concerned about what the biopsy would show, or the course of  treatment or long-term prognosis.  What was she thinking about? She blogged, "I'm really more worried about how I'm going to fare without eating from midnight to the 11:30 a.m. biopsy, and whether I should go to the nail salon when it opens to get my fake gels removed so the oxygen clip will register accurately."Her sense of humor, spirituality, intelligence and love are fully intact.  We here at About Town wish her a speedy recovery, and we'll let you know how she progresses.  But, do drop into "caringbridge" for Jean's own words as each day of her recovery moves forward.   

 

(Courtesy Photo from Jean Lenk, with her husband Peter, taken on April 1, 2013)   

 

 


Home furnishings giant Ikea said it will expand the warehouse section of its store in Stoughton by nearly 59,000 square feet.     The work, which begins this fall and is expected to be completed by fall of 2014, will bring the Boston market complex up to 415,575-square feet. The store will remain open with its full offering during the construction. The project includes expansion the self-serve furniture area, where consumers pick flat-packed items to take home; rearranging customer service functions to the new area; and enlarging the home delivery area.

Ikea opened its Stoughton store in November 2005. They have been a large civic contributor to the town and the schools. IKEA is a non-profit corporation.  In a release, Frank Briel, store manager, said Ikea has been "thrilled" with the store's success, "But, as its customer base and sales continue to grow - along with the product assortment we offer - the size of the store's warehouse capacity now is less than ideal."

IKEA is member of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 


 

COURT APPOINTS FEASTER TO MANAGE ROXBURY COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER

A court appointed a receiver for the Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center (RoxComp) to oversee its closure, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced. On Thursday, the AG’s Office filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court seeking a court-appointed receiver to oversee the center’s closure. Today, Judge Garry Inge appointed Joseph Feaster, an attorney at McKenzie and Associates in Boston, as receiver. Feaster, a Stoughton resident, has previously served as Interim President and CEO of the Dimock Community Health Center.

As part of his duties overseeing the closure of the RoxComp facility, the receiver will ensure that patients are properly assisted in transferring their care and medical records. He will also work to ensure that employees receive the wages they are owed.

“RoxComp has provided critical health services for more than 45 years, but unfortunately its finances have deteriorated to a level that it could not recover,” AG Coakley said. “A receiver is a necessary step to provide for the proper care of former RoxComp patients and ensure staff are paid the wages they are owed.”

“The Department of Public Health is working in close collaboration with the Attorney General and our partners in the community to see that the health needs of the neighborhood are met through Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center’s closure plan,” said DPH Interim Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith. “The receiver will help us ensure that all patient care needs are addressed and transfers are accomplished in a safe, appropriate manner.”

“I am pleased that Attorney General Martha Coakley, Secretary of Human Services John Polanowicz, and  CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers Jim Hunt, for their confidence in my serving as Receiver for Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center.,” Mr. Feaster said. “RoxComp has been an important primary health care provider in Boston for many years, and it is my intention to manage with appropriate diligence and respect the orderly disposition of patient transfer, employee pay and benefits, accounts receivables and payments, and the preservation of assets.  I look forward to immediately assembling a team to address the task before me.”

RoxComp abruptly closed late last month. That closure followed several serious regulatory and compliance issues cited by the federal and state regulators beginning in April 2012.

Feaster served as Interim Town Manager after Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. stepped aside, and before Michael Hartman was appointed as the new Town Manager.

 

 

 


 

 

South Coast Rail Economic Development & Land Use Corridor (here) (State Site)
(New EPA Letter)

GOLDEN OLDIE---The Downtown Plan from 1965!

 

TOWN MEETING CALENDAR FOR 2013


ATTORNEY GENERAL RULES:
In Board of Selectmen Case

Read The Decision


NEED FUEL ASSISTANCE?


How Did Stoughton Vote?

Town Meeting 2012 Attendance


"The Way Forward: 21st Century Transportation Plan"
from the MA Dept. of Transportation, includes South Coast Rail,
which will cut Stoughton apart & cause safety issues

(Read It Here)


SCHOOL PAYROLL AUDIT--AND THE EMAILS LEADING UP TO IT


PHONE & GAME BOY SAVED--
LADY ROBBERS NABBED

A 13 year old boy was robbed of his phone and a gameboy by two teen girls in the vicinity of Monk Street. With a brief description of the perpetrators, Ofc. Joe Desousa realized he had field interviewed two females matching the description in the area at approximately the same time. Evening officers began searching for the perpetrators and managed to get into a foot chase through back yards in the Poskus St. area where Lt. Dan McGowan found them hiding behind a fence. Both were arrested and the boy's property was recovered. Tabitha Butterworth, 18 of 439 High St. Abington is charged with Unarmed Robbery and Disorderly Conduct and Haleigh Connelly (left) , 18 of 59 Hudson St. Norton is also charged with Unarmed Robbery and Disorderly Conduct. Other Officers involved in the apprehension were John Lydstone, Allen Curtis, Emmet Letendre and Shawn Faria. Well done, gentlemen!

(Photos and info from Stoughton Police Department Facebook page)

 


LOCAL ELECTIONS MOVED
TO APRIL 30

Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney's proposal to move the date of local elections to coincide with the primary for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, passed the Board of Selectmen on March 11. The local elections were scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Under Mooney's plan, they now would be held on Tuesday, April 30. Mooney said her plan would save the town money, and would not interfere with Organizational Town Meeting. It would, however, affect the date of scheduled precinct caucuses, and Town Meeting was pushed back to May 20. Mooney told Snyder's Stoughton, "They were going to start printing the ballots today (3/7), but I told them to hold off, we could be changing the date." And, they did!

(Posted on March 7 at 3 p.m.)


SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER CENSURED by 3-1 vote

COMPLETE BACK STORY HERE


(photos by Mark Snyder)

The School Committee formally censured member Dr. Erdem Ural on March 14 at a Special Meeting. His attorney, former Boston Bar Association president, John Regan of Milton, wasn't allowed to speak during the hour-long session. Neither were a couple of dozen spectators. Due to my back injury, I was forced to watch on TV. It should be pointed out that there is no law requiring public comment be allowed. It is part of a policy decision, which doesn't necessarily include special meetings. And, Chairwoman Deb Sovinee said it was not a "court of law." Vice Chair Joyce Husseini and member George Dolinsky spoke in favor of the censure. A statement from member Tom Colburn, who was delayed in travel, was also read in support of the action, which was officially by a 3-1 vote.

Husseini said of Ural, "You don't give us the courtesy of bringing issues here to the table. Instead, you take them public on cable TV and the internet, and you make it increasingly difficult to work with you. To go on the internet and TV to call volunteers on this Board perjurers, is baseless and offensive." Colburn said "the multiple public detrimental statements are not reflected by the rest of the Board", and the censure insures the public knows that "Dr. Ural speaks for himself, not the Committee."

Sovineee said, "I have asked Dr. Ural to use his intelligence and talents to improve the schools. I didn't sign up for this job to have my reputation damaged by Dr. Ural. I have to deal with him, instead of doing things to move the schools ahead."

Ural said "I don't mind being the lone dissenting vote. But, I want to make my point without being interrupted. I think I'm doing a great job. I suggest you don't censure me, but you commend me." Ural also insisted that the Chair wasn't impartial, the proceedings were clearly violating MA Law and the Constitution.

All materials are on the linked page.

POST CENSURE URAL RESPONSE

POST CENSURE SCHOOL COMMITTEE RESPONSE

Stoughton Teachers Association President Andrea Pires, a teacher at the South Elementary School, sent the following statement to  Stoughton Patch, which is directly the opposite of the statement from School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee: "I am an elementary teacher and serve as President of the Stoughton Teachers Association.  I was a member of the team that recently negotiated the new evaluation system with the school committee.  At no time did any school committee member disclose internal bargaining strategy to me or any member of the STA team." It should be noted this was NOT sent to all members of the press, and may not be an official STA statement. It should also be noted that the STA is NOT friendly with Supt. of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, or some of the present SSC members, since the contentious contract negotiations a few years back.

(The School Committee Responds to Pires)

Politically, this could have ramifications. Vice Chair Joyce Husseini is up for re-election, and current member Tom Colburn is not seeking re-election. A certain combination of new candidates could actually elected Dr. Ural as Chairman.

 

 


 

PROMOTIONS AT STOUGHTON POLICE DEPARTMENT!


Selectmen John Stagnone, John Anzivino & Bob O'Regan surround Stoughton's newest Police Officer Dan Carmichael and Executive Officer Robert Devine.


Stoughton's first female Police Sgt. Donna McNamara is sworn in by
Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney while XO Devine looks on.


Dan. McGowan is sworn in as Stoughton Police Department's newest Lieutenant by Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney as XO Devine Looks on.

(photos by Mark Snyder)


 

STANKIEWICZ GETS RHODE ISLAND TOWN MANAGER JOB

Story

Stoughton's former Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz signed a $110,000 a year contract with Charlestown, RI. as their new Town Administrator. He was making $120,000 in Stoughton and $146,000 a year in Plymouth, his last job as a Town Manager. Stankiewicz is planning on selling his home, according to local reports. His daily commute: 64 miles each way (about 90 minutes.) We, at Snyder's Stoughton, wish Mark all the luck in the world!

(Mark Snyder photo)

(Story of February 14, 2013)

 

 


 

EPA CHOICE HAS STOUGHTON ROOTS!

McCarthy was Health Agent for Stoughton

Full Story on Obama's Choice


 

SPD BEING ASSESSED FOR ACCREDITATION

Police Chief Paul Shastany came to Stoughton from the Framingham Police Department. When he officially took over as Chief the first goal he went for was accreditation of the Department. Before he took it over, the Department was the source of national embarrassment, with a Sgt. and a Detective both jailed, and a former Chief convicted of a felony charge. (The Sgt. and former Chief are still appealling their cases.) The Boston Globe termed Stoughton a :Banana Republic." So, Shastany wanted to bring professionalism and pride to Rose Street. He is about to achieve his goal at about the same time he he once again underwent surgery on his back. On March 1st, Shastany said he was pleased to announce that a team of assessors from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission is scheduled to arrive on March 11 and 12, 2013, to begin examining various aspects of the Stoughton Police Department’s policies and procedures, operations and facilities.  

Verification by the Assessment Team that the Department meets the Commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to gain state Accreditation - a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession. The Massachusetts Police Accreditation Program consists of 257 mandatory standards as well as 125 optional standards.  In order to achieve accreditation status, the Department must meet all applicable mandatory standards as well as 60% of the optional standards.  Achieving Accreditation is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.  Anyone interested in learning more about this program is invited to call (Chief Shastany or the Department’s Accreditation Manager, Sgt. Tom Murphy).

 

(Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.)

 

 


 


Is This the Face of KOHL'S Perve?
Police Think So....

(Story)

 

Background:

Assault - Case No. 120276
May 09, 2012
Stoughton : Kohl's



Case Details:
Male party exposed himself to a young girl at Kohl's Department Store in Stoughton. The male pictured is described as a white male wearing a gray zip up coat/sweatshirt, a gray/blue baseball style hat, navy blue shorts with yellow stripes down the sides, and gray/black sneakers/loafers with a medium build.

If you have any information about the identity of this person or where they are, please contact:

Stoughton PD: (781) 344-2575
Investigator: Detective O'Connor/Officer Letendre
Case Submission No.: 120276

(From MASS MOST WANTED)

 


 

 

FINALLY, PARSONS BUILDING GETTING REBUILT

 

 After years as a public eyesore, the former home of Cheng Du in downtown Stoughton, owned by the Parsons family, will soon be rebuilt.  The building first suffered a fire a few years ago, and then the roof collapsed under snow the following winter.  The building was enclosed in fencing, which disrupted downtown vehicle and pedestrian traffic, then became a boarded up empty space. It was boarded up when its late owner David Parsons passed away October 28, 2011at age 53, after a courageous battle with cancer. His sister and current property owner Amne Parsons, has submitted plans to the Stoughton Building Department for a $432,966 rebuild to the 76,700 square foot property. 

 

Paul Oliveira of Avalon Building Systems in Stoughton is the General Contractor on the project.  CGKV Architects put together the plans.   The building is a brick front, concrete side design, with three storefronts.  There are to be no residences in the one story building. The engineer who signed off on the project in August of 2012

as Sean Fennell.  Stoughton’s Town Engineer, Ben Fehan, told Snyder’s Stoughton he has not seen the plans submitted to the building department.  But he added, “It’s good to get something done in that space. It’s been a couple of years that it has sat there vacant and boarded up. Anything would be an improvement.”

I called Parsons for comment on the timetable of the plans, and her employee Jim Moran told me he’d get her the message to call me.  I also left messages and stopped by to see Oliveria, as well.  Like Fehan, I’m certainly eager to see the long-time eyesore get rebuilt into something that will do the downtown proud. Neither returned calls  As it now stands, it’s a horrid impression that thousands of out-of-towners are getting each day when they pass through the square!

(Posted on February 25, 2013 @ 1 p.m.)  

(Photos by Mark Snyder)


 

GET WELL WISHES

To Police Chief Paul Shastany

Snyder's Stoughton sends Get Well Wishes to Police Chief Paul Shastany, who is undergoing another back surgery on Thursday, February 28. He had one four months ago, and this time the surgeon (who is listed among the best in Boston Magazine), will be repairing a huge herniated disc, similar to last time. It is pushing the nerve aside, and causing the Chief great pain. He tells Snyder's Stoughton he's relieved to be getting a discectomy. "I am very happy to get it done!"

Our best wishes on a speedy recovery!


GET WELL WISHES

To DPW Supt. John Batchelder

John had heart surgery and is recovering at home. He missed his first storms in decades. He is very much missed at the DPW. Best Wishes for a Speedy Recovery!


 

DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
HELPS SAVE SCHOOL VACATION!

READ MY STORY


 

 

LUXURY LIVING?

If you read the brochures, and the website, The Lodge at Stoughton is pure luxury.  It brags: "The Lodge at Stoughton is centrally located with easy access to Boston, and Highways. Your home at the Lodge at Stoughton includes black on black appliances, slate tile flooring, custom color accent walls, and Espresso stained cabinetry. Residents can enjoy our state of the art fitness club, resort style swimming pool, outdoor grilling area, playground and private screening room. Private access entry and available private garages are available as well. Come home to the Lodge at Stoughton today!"   But, below the surface of the glowing brochure is a trail that Snyder's Stoughton followed on local police logs:

July 16, 2012

A man was shot in the back and taken to Boston Medical Center, according to Stoughton Police, just after noon. The shooting accurred in front of the Lodge at Stoughton apartment complex at 404 Technology Drive. The mna's injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

July 16, 2012

There was a man with a gun at 408 Technology Drive in the same apartment complex, threatening to commit suicide during the evening. Stoughton Police and Fire arrived on scene and diffused the situation. The individual was transported, under police guard, to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton for psychiatric evaluation.

 

Stoughton Police received a call at 6:28 p.m. for a report of several parties yelling profanities at one another in a parking lot outside an apartment building at the Lodge at Stoughton, 400 Technology Center Drive.

September 5, 2012

Arrested Grace Ajah of 406 Technology Center Drive, and charged with domestic assault and battery.


 

September 27, 2012

John Nardone of Quincy, Anthony Frasca, 25, of West Roxbury, and Monique Slaybi of West Roxbury were arrested by Stoughton Police on drug charges in the parking lot of the Lodge at Stoughton apartment complex on Technology Center Dr. in Stoughton early this morning.

October 11, 2012

Randolph Police arrested Darryll Wallace of Randolph, Shaqulle Evans of 402 Technology Center Drive, Stoughton, and of Randolph, and all charged with armed robbery.

 

October 19, 2012

Police arrested Lisa Marie Shea, 28, of 400 Technology Center Drive, Stoughton, and charged with two counts of assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.

November 28, 2012

Stoughton Police Department executed a search warrant at an apartment at 404 Technology Center Dr. (Lodge at Stoughton apartment complex) at 8:18 a.m., which resulted in the arrest of Joshua Hurwitz, 27, of 404 Technology Center Dr. in Stoughton. He was charged with four counts of possession to distribute a Class B drug, one count of possession to distribute a Class D drug, and and one count of possession of a Class B drug.

February 27, 2013

The Lodge, Technology Center Drive at 12:17 a.m.. Motor Vehicle Stop. Arrested Gregory Griffin, 27, of 116 Beulah St., Apt. 2, Whitman, and charged with operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor, motor vehicle lights violation and speeding in violation of a special regulation.

February 28, 2013

Technology Center Drive. Suspicious Person. Caller at 10:23 p.m. states male party chased him to his apartment. Description was white male, tall. Party was a resident and was advised to return to his apartment.

March 9, 2013

The Lodge, Technology Center Drive. Disturbance at 9:30 p.m. Officer states party was gone on arrival. Caller is reporting a male party who was attending a function at this location was harassing another female party. Party described as black, middle-aged male wearing a blue dress shirt and a black jacket.

 

March 17, 2013

Stoughton Police received multiple calls reporting an alleged case of assault at the Lodge at Stoughton on Technology Center Drive shortly after 5 p.m. on March 17.  Courtney Taylor, 31, of Stoughton, a resident of one of the apartments at the complex, was charged with three counts of assault and battery after allegedly barging into one of the other apartment units and assaulting a group of neighbors, Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine said. 

In fact, in 2012 , the Stoughton Police Department has done 19 incident reports, made 11 arrests and had 4 crashes at the Lodge at Stoughton. That's not the total of calls for the apartment complex, though. Police Chief Paul Shastany, talking in general with Snyder's Stoughton, said, "Rental properties, in my experience, have residents who are less attentive, than properties that are owned. Some renters are afraid to call the police because of the fear of retribution. They fear their lease could be terminated if they come forward. This is why I am still pursuing a housing liason officer. We could nip these problems in the bud. Management of these facilities need to be educated to partner with us to eradicate these kinds of problems."

Stone Ends and Quail Run are not far behind in police calls.

(photo by Mark Snyder. Information from Stoughton and Randolph Police Logs.)


 

MILLION DOLLAR POT BUST

A Brooklyn, New York, man is facing drug trafficking charges after Canton police say he showed up to pick up a shipment of close to $1,000,000 worth of marijuana.

Thomas Jin Kim, 30, of 255 McKibben St., Apt. 212 in Brooklyn, was arrested Friday after police say he picked up the first half of a nearly 300-pound delivery of pot, according to a Canton Police Department press release. He was held on $1 million bail over the weekend and was arraigned Tuesday in Stoughton District Court.

Canton police had received information about a large marijuana delivery coming into town through an unsuspecting transport company, according to the release. The Canton Police did not release the name of the cooperating company.

Plainclothes and uniformed officers, together with officers from the Massachusetts State Police, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Stoughton police, staked out the area. When Kim showed up about 2 p.m. and took possession of half of the delivery, he was arrested, according to the release.

The marijuana had a street value of close to $1 million based on its weight and quality, according to the CPD release.

Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine told Snyder's Stoughton, "We're just happy we could help in any way.  It was a job very well done by all of the agencies involved." 

(Photo and info courtesy of Canton Police Dept.)

 


 

WE SEND OUT SYMPATHIES

Snyder's Stoughton sends our sincerest sympathies to Brian Murphy on the loss of his beloved wife Mary, who passed away on February 6, surrounded by her loving family.  Brian and Mary were married for 30 years, and had sons Ryan, Tyler, and Timothy, and a daughter Breanna.  Brian was a coach with the Rangers in the Stoughton Little League Majors Division years ago, when Tim was an ace pitcher and power hitter.  I remember those days well, and remember Mary's smiling face at many of the games.  Donations in Mary's memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701.  May she Rest in Peace.

 

 


 

LOCAL TEMPLES PLANNING A MERGER

Stoughton's David Schulze Speaks on Merger

 

 

A Tri-Congregational Discussion on Regionalization was held on Thursday, February 14 at Temple Emunah in Brockton. Representatives of Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton and Temple Beth Am in Randolph also attended the meeting, which attracted over 250 interested parties. 

 

Alan Teperow, whose father was a former president at Temple Beth Am, was the lead facilitator of the meeting. He is Executive Director of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. Teperow said “this is sacred territory. But, due to changing demographics and the economy, a viable future requires regionalization.”

 

David Schulze, Chairman of the Steering Committee, and the president of Ahavath Torah, said, “This is a pretty historic evening. We never thought that a few congregations could come together and engage in these possibilities. We won’t be talking about three congregations. It’s a process to form one congregation.”

 

Although most people attending realized the inevitability of the merger, there was much sadness.  Attendees got married there, had their children’s bat and bar mitzvahs, and have attended services for decades.  Still, each building has limitations, and will require a boatload of cash to properly maintain.  The Jewish Community Center in Stoughton closed.  The Solomon Schecter School moved to Norwood from Stoughton.  The Jewish population is relocating to areas like Mansfield and Foxboro.  As the Steering Committee wrote, “In order to ensure the longevity of Conservative Judaism in the South Area, we believe this is absolutely necessary.”

 

A Site Task Group was charged with reviewing all three Temples, and selecting one as the interim site for collective members of all three Shuls.  Steve Bernstein, an engineer, chaired this group, assisted by real estate agent Mark Leppo of Stoughton, and Howard Shore, an insurance executive.   They weighed each building’s geographic location, market value, handicapped accessibility, and maintenance needs, and did a 60+ page report.  After everything was factored in, the Site Task Group recommended the Temple Emunah location, at 479 Torrey Street in Brockton.

 

A Mission/Task Group, which was chaired by Susan Lit, and included Schulze, Bob Fishman and Debbie Gladstone, worked on a strategic direction and an initial mission statement. “We really want to speak to the future of what it could be. We have more in common than you think, and power in numbers. The question we asked is can we sustain ourselves in the next generation?”

 

Teperow was quick to point out that the recommendation to merge, and begin attending services at the interim location in July of 2014 is not finalized. He said, “This recommendation has no power. The three congregations will vote in the coming months.”   

 

The plan is that the new Temple, when built, will sport a different name than the three.    A Formation Task Group, led by Stoughton’s Alan Lader, and including David Crosby, Jonathan Braverman, Richard Levitt, John Finestein, and Marc Silver, will develop interim bylaws and governance for the transition period.

 

A formal legal Letter of Intent (LOI) will outline the processes and provide direction for the merger. Each Temple’s Board of Directors will discuss and vote on it in March.  On April 4, 2013, all three Temple’s congregations will vote simultaneously at the three locations.  A two-thirds approval is required.  Schulze says the LOI “allows us to make a commitment to each other at a legal level that allows us to move forward.”

 

In Fall of 2013, a final vote will be taken at all three locations for the final regionalization plans, with a July 2014 starting date for the interim site.

 

Head Table (l to r) of the Steering Committee David Schulze, Ron Gorin, Howard Shore, Fred Sussman, Bob Fishman, Teperow, Steve Bernstein, Susan Lit, and Steve Merlin.

 

(Story Posted on February 14 @ 10:30 p.m. Photos by Mark Snyder)


IS SHELL OIL TRYING TO
OUST STOUGHTON DEALER?

The Reason for the No Gas Signs

Ghazi Saab came to the United States in August of 1986 from his native Lebanon. There was a war taking place in his homeland, and he was looking for a safer place that offered him an opportunity for success. He moved first to New Bedford, and then to an apartment in Stoughton, and began working at the Mobil gas station at Cobbs Corner.

In 1992, Ghazi made an offer to buy the station, but the owner opted to keep it. So, he ended up purchasing a closed Gulf station in Hingham, and from 1992-1995 he took courses on real estate, and made some real estate investments. Saab tells About Town that he was the top-selling real estate agent at Papagno Real Estate in Brockton, out of a selling staff of 60, from 1993 and 1994. Shortly after, he moved to Sharon.

He purchased his second service station in 1995 (a Texaco in Brockton), and his third in 1997 (a Shell station in Brockton.) By 2003, Ghazi Saab was a self-made success, running 27 gas stations, with nearly 150 employees in the South Shore area, northwest of Boston, and in Rhode Island. He said, “When they had a gas station that was not doing well, they would ask me to take it over and make it work. I collected lots of customer service and performance awards.”

In 2003, he was one of six multi-site operators for Shell, running 13 sites. He spent $800,000 in 2003 for locations. At the time, Shell Oil subsidized the markets, providing healthier margins for their dealers, according to Saab. “They controlled the prices in all 13 sites. Area Managers would come in and ask us to adjust the price. But, they left enough room for us to make a living.”

Enter Colbea Enterprises, LLC out of Rhode Island. In December, 2007, they bought their first “cluster” from Shell. According to Saab, Colbea would charge dealers wholesale prices that were sometimes 20 cents over the retail price of their competition. They purchased the real estate assets, on a 50-50 split with Motiva Enterprises (Shell). In Cranston and Kingston, RI, they effectively priced Saab out of business.

He said they also had “bad business practices”, alleging that “they made me throw all of the products out of my stores. Take your stuff and leave they told me. They wouldn’t purchase any of my existing stock.” This effectively closed the two Waltham locations and the Lexington one he had since 2003.

Saab says that after 2007, Shell Oil’s company-owned stations competed with local station owners to effectively drive them out of business. “They would sell gas at their retail stations for a lower price than they were wholesaling the gas to me. In effect, that put us all out of business. I was paying $15,000 rent plus credit card fees for my Shell location in Cobbs Corner. They were selling gas cheaper at the Shell-owned station on Washington Street in Canton than they were charging me wholesale. Same with my Central Street location in Stoughton. Their company-owned Mazzeo Drive location a couple miles away in Randolph was doing the same thing. Colbea was doing it, but Shell was a 50-50 partner. They want owners of individual stations to be a dying breed. I went from selling 200,000 gallons per month before 2007, to 50,000 gallons in this situation. Meanwhile, the rent goes up and the profits go down.”

In addition, on September of 2012 Colbea notified Saab that he needed to prepay all his gas orders. “I couldn’t find financing, and they stopped delivering to me on September 9, 2012. They sent termination letters to all my locations via email on September 19. I walked into their office in Cranston with $100,000 in checks. It was a Friday. They wouldn’t take the check. Said come in on Monday. I did. They were looking for my keys, not my money.”

His lawyer, Michael Kelley of R.I., “It’s David and Goliath. A huge oil company controls gas prices, and they are seeking to force out independent dealers by pricing their gas so high that they can’t compete with company owned (Colbea-Moitva) sites. They are wholesaling to dealers the same price that they are retailing at their company dealers. He was told that he can sell at a loss. That’s really not an option for a businessman. They have to pay rent, too. I want to know why Massachusetts authorities aren’t doing anything about this. They have told Mr. Saab that they intend to remove independent dealers. This squashes competition, and forces prices up.”

Colbea Enterprises LLC and Motiva Enterprises LLC (Shell Oil’s company) both took Saab to court on Thursday morning, February 7, to try to evict him from his Shell gas stations (including the Cobbs Corner and Central Street Stoughton locations), so they could take them over. The stations are currently closed. However, the Judge in Stoughton District Court ruled that the lease agreement prevented an eviction before an arbitration meeting is held between the parties. So, both companies will be forced to have an arbitrator meet with them on the issue of Saab’s eviction.

We asked for a response to this story from Colbea. Bill McLellan, Wholesale Area Manager for Colbea, called and said that Andy Dellicarpini, the owner of Colbea, would have to respond to the allegations I have outlined in this story. But, it didn’t appear that call would be coming soon, as he added, “We’re tied up in litigation and I wouldn’t expect him to call until it is adjudicated.” But, he did offer to try to get his legal counsel to respond. But, seriously, how can they respond? Nor did they.

Shell Oil has done the same thing before. The United Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the findings of a jury in the case of Marcoux vs. Shell Oil Products Co LLC on April 18, 2008. The exact same allegations were made regarding violations of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act. Previous to that, Massachusetts District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel had dismissed Shell’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in 2002. A jury found in favor of the remaining franchisees in District Court in 2005.

David, a spokesperson from the office of Shell Oil president Marvin Odum, had said that “Colbea and Motiva (Shell) are making a legal attempt to take possession of numerous stations from an indebted proprietor. The legal procedures are contributing to the untimely outage of fuel at these sites.”

Saab Enterprises, Inc. will be suing Colbea Enterprises, LLC for Breach of Contract, Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Conversion, and other causes of action. Saab admits to About Town that he was four days late in his rent payment, adding, “I have paid Colbea Enterprises and Shell over five MILLION dollars in rent the past four and a half years, ending December 31, 2013. I came in with checks for the full amount, four days after the due date. They refused to take my check. They want my stations for nothing.” The proposed suits covers stations in Canton, Stoughton (2), Brockton (2), Waltham, Dorchester, and two in Rhode Island.

It’s hard to believe that these giant companies can just gobble up the little guys with no consequences. But, the politicians all get donations from Big Oil, and the little guy has no one standing up for him. Well, About Town feels an injustice was done, and people should know about it.

Hopefully, Saab will have his day in court, and will be reimbursed for the huge personal losses he has suffered. He still owns the Saab gas station on Oak Street in Brockton, and the Shell on Crescent Street in Brockton, and another in Quincy. That is all that is left from the original 27 he started with in 2003.

(Posted on February 13. 2013 @ 10:30 p.m.)

Photo by Mark Snyder of the Central Street, Stoughton location


SECOND SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER NAMED

The Stoughton Police Department announced on February 13 the appointment of Officer Robert Kuhn as the new School Resource Officer. According to Executive Officer Robert Devine, "This appointment was made possible by the tremendous support given us at last year's town meeting."

Officer Kuhn is a veteran of the United States Army via the National Guard and has been deployed during the current conflicts. He became a member of the SPD on October 11, 2005 and has served with distinction in his patrol duties. Officer Kuhn has attended several training sessions to assist him with this transition, including Verbal Judo Tactical Communications Instructor, Street Level Narcotics Investigation, Social Media Safety, Stopping the School Shooter, ALICE School Response Instructor, and many others.

Congratulations and good luck Bobby, we know you'll make us proud!

 


 

Four from Stoughton attend DA Morrissey’s School Shooter Response Training

               Stoughton’s Police Chief Paul Shastany, Executive Officer Robert Devine, School Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Rizzi,and High School principal Juliette Miller attended two day training on how to save lives in the event of a school shooting, hosted by Norfolk DA Michael Morrissey last week.

               “The strict lockdown model has become almost a default protocol to any violent intruder incident,” Morrissey said. “But there is a growing conversation nationally whether a more flexible response, including evacuating the building, barricading the doors and other actions, might not save lives. We wanted to bring Norfolk County schools and police into that conversation, so that they can weigh all of the options available to keep their students safe.”

               The Feb. 5 and 6 training was provided by Response Options, a Texas-based school safety firm presented the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Program, developed by Greg and Lisa Crane -  Greg a former SWAT police officer and Lisa a school principal.

               The four Stoughton leaders joined more than 100 others from across the county. The classroom training was held in donated seminar space at the headquarters of the Bank of Canton; live-action demonstration was held in the now-vacant Avery School in Dedham. The classroom training included an analysis of 25 years of school shooting incidents, and which actions helped end the incidents more quickly with fewer lives lost, and which protocols appeared to be counter-productive.

               “The District Attorney’s Office hosted a similar training the month before the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut last year, but obviously that event has put a new focus on the issue,” said Morrissey, who used drug forfeiture money to finance the training. “Our towns are all looking at their safety protocols. I think it is important that as we do that, we base our decisions on solid research, lessons learned from previous incidents, and the widest array of information we can collect.”

               Morrissey said he hopes the information provided can help towns with future planning. “Every community should have a plan, but that plan must be developed at the local level, with input from the police and school community,” he said.

Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine, D.A. Morrissey, and Police Chief Paul Shastany

 

 


 

FINCOM MEMBER TAKES
CHEAP SHOT AT VETERANS

 

Stoughton Veteran’s Agent Mike Pazyra was shocked at a Finance Committee Human Services subcommittee meeting when FinCom member Paul Andruchow told him he was “doing a disservice” to the Town when he noted the amount of benefits paid out by the town to veterans. He also voiced complaints about the cost to the town of maintaining veteran’s graves. Andruchow is one of seven new members of the Committee on Finance & Taxation (FinCom), which has been supportive of Payzra’s requests in the past.

To put in perspective, you have to look at the numbers. When Pazyra started in April of 2005, there were eight active state service cases, and no active federal cases. As of December 31, 2012, Pazyra was handling 93 active state cases and over 100 active federal cases. Over half of the state cases are for widows of veterans. In 2004, the veteran’s office paid out $22,100 for state service cases aid to the town’s veterans. In 2012, Pazyra’s office paid $441,200 to veterans and their families. He is requesting $525,000 for 2014. The town is entitled to 75% reimbursement from the State for these payments. Meanwhile, the federal government paid 4.5 MILLION dollars in aid to Stoughton veterans. This was through the efforts of Pazyra and his part-time secretary. Pazyra told Snyder’s Stoughton that the federal load constitutes about 60% of the workload of his office. Interestingly enough, salaries went from $98,829 in 2004 to a proposed $78,261 in 2014 for the Veterans Office. The 2014 budget---aside from EARNED benefits paid out to veterans—is down close to 23% from the budget a decade before.

Pazyra told me, “I was prepared for the subcommittee hearing. So were they. They had a list of questions. They asked if we give benefits out before they approved. I said yes. We’ve always had them all reimbursed. It’s about getting the funds to the veterans in a timely matter. I’ve never had anything not approved after giving them out.”

Then, they asked, “How come your budget keeps going up? I told them have relationships with the senior center, senior housing, the Stoughton VNA nurses, and we advertise on cable and in the Pennysaver.” He continued, “then, Mr. Andruchow says, ‘Why are you being so proactive? It’s a disservice to the town.’ He was disparaging veterans, saying, ‘When people go in the military, are they expecting benefits when they get out?’”

Janiece Bruce, director of the Stoughton Visiting Nurses and Stoughton Public Health Department, was a witness to the comment by Andruchow. She tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “I had to leave the room. I was aggravated. What bothered me is that I personally know what a great job Mike does. He’s governed by federal regulations. Just like the VNA, it would be inappropriate to withhold benefits. If anyone has a problem, they shouldn’t attack the person who is distributing what people are legally entitled to. I thought it was more a personal agenda.”

Bruce said the FinCom treated her well, but she thought Pazyra was being personally attacked. She added, “I just lost my dad this past year. He was a WW II vet. My mom and dad were living on a small fixed income. Mike helped him get the benefits he was entitled to for his service. Mr. Andruchow said that the veterans weren’t ‘pulling their own weight.’ That really got me upset. I had to take a break before my hearing. I felt sad that he said to Mike that a man’s name on the Vietnam plaque downstairs didn’t belong. That also got me upset. It made me feel intimidated to step up next. It set a bad tone. But, they were very nice to me. A town that supports its people makes a better town. It bothered me all weekend. It was the memory of my dad I felt. Mike gave him some relief and breathing room.”

Selectman Steve Anastos was also quick to defend Pazyra. He told Snyder’s Stoughton, “ Mike does a great job. We have a moral obligation to take care of veterans. 75% of the benefits Stoughton provides our veterans are reimbursed by the state. We spend less than 1/2 of 1% of our Town budget on those who served our country. It's the least we can do.”

Bob Desmond, who is a member of the Human Services subcommittee and was at the meeting, told me that “we all have our individual beliefs on where we spend the money. But, Paul said things that were best said privately and not in that manner. It was unfortunate. It wasn’t the right place.” Desmond says he also supports Pazyra, adding, “He is articulate, well spoken and knows his numbers. He was incredibly calm, but you can tell he’s battle-ready. He’s trying to do his job. As far as I’m concerned, we can’t do enough for our veterans, never mind cutting back.”

The Chairman of the Human Services subcommittee, Jim Gearin, didn’t really think that Andruchow’s comments were out of line. He said, “There was a little back and forth. I think people are entitled to their opinion. The comment was made and reacted to. I have seen the same thing at other finance committee meetings. It was his fairly strong opinion. I didn’t agree with it. I’d have stepped in if I thought it would come to blows. Two strong-willed people with strong opinions. Paul questioned why we flag veteran’s graves and about outreach efforts. Mike reacted to it. I think Mike does a really good job for his group. He’s an amazing advocate for his department, as are all the department heads in town.” Gearin admits when he first came on the Finance Committee, he was thinking on the same lines as Andruchow, adding, “I had an initial feeling that Mike reaches out too far. But, I now know that he is doing the work for the people who deserve it.”

Selectman Chairman John Stagnone threw his support behind Pazyra, adding, “From my standpoint, Mike does a good job for the veterans. The veterans should be aware of what their benefits are, and if it’s due to them, they should receive it. I’m in full support of what Mike has been doing for our town’s veterans.”

Town Manager Michael Hartman said, “From my observation in the short time I have been on this job, it is clear that Mike is does a fabulous job for veterans.”

Finance Committee Chairman Rick Hill sent a statement to Snyder’s Stoughton for this story: “ I just want to point out that the Fincom has a great deal of respect for all of Michael Pazyra’s efforts on behalf of our veterans and I have shared that with him. In my time on the Fincom I can’t recall a time when Michael came before the committee on budget related items, where he did not have the majority support of the committee. Veterans benefits are comprised of a complex set of laws and processes. Much of Veterans Agent’s time is spent informing folks on the subject matter in which he is so well versed. Michael has been very patient with the Finance Committee in this respect and we have enjoyed his cooperation in helping to educate and re-educate that group of dedicated volunteers over the years. The veterans of this town are well served by his zeal.  It is unfortunate that this situation has occurred, but at the same time, there does not seem to be any value to be gained in discussing this in the media, in my opinion. Suffice to say, that I did meet with our Veterans Agent personally, I listened to his concerns, I interviewed the entire Fincom subcommittee and I communicated with the Town Manager. I also apologized to Mr. Pazyra for any comments or personal opinions expressed by a Fincom member that he may have found offensive. Amongst several outcomes from the review of this issue, the one I will mention here is that there will be a refresh of our guidelines with the committee as a whole, for how we interact with our valued town employees so as to continue to foster greater trust and partnership.”

Outreach is really an important part of the job of Veteran’s Agent, according to Matt McKenna, Director of Communications for the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services. Massachusetts has strict laws regarding how veterans must be serviced, which are included in Chapter 115 of Massachusetts General Laws. McKenna told Snyder’s Stoughton, “A veteran service officer’s role is to be a direct link and referral for veterans, spouses, widows, and children to the benefits they are entitled to by law. The Department is hoping that a town’s veterans officer’s do all they can to outreach to the community to provide exposure to available resources to veterans and their families.”

Stoughton’s veterans are lucky to have such a hard-working, straight-shooting and honest officer in charge. It’s everyone’s right to question budgets, whether you’re on the finance committee, or watching a town meeting on TV. But, when you get personal, and insult a department head’s integrity in a public meeting, it’s this writer’s opinion that it’s beyond inappropriate. When you add in the public slap in the face to veterans, I’d say it’s time to leave the committee. That’s not just an innocent rookie mistake. It’s someone speaking out of an orifice that is not the mouth. (Andruchow, who was a former grant writer for the town, did not return repeated calls for comment.)

(Posted on February 12 @ 10 p.m. Photo of Mike Pazyra, and two widows he helped to collect benefits, by Mark Snyder)

UPDATE:

Paul Andruchow reportedly resigned from the Finance Committee.

(Posted on February 13 at 4:30 p.m.)


ANOTHER STOUGHTON POET

James Berkowitz

(story)

 


 

WINTER STORM BURIES STOUGHTON

Stoughton received 34.2 inches of snow, according to Snyder's Stoughton's yardstick. Fox 25 said we had 31.5, which still puts the town in second place in the State. Police sources said that people stayed off the streets, as ordered by Governor Patrick, and made cleanup a bit easier. Churches are closed, and many restaurants are also closed. Cheng Du and The Last Shot, were both reportedly opened by 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 9. Zachary's, Old Colony YMCA, Chicken Kabob, and IKEA all opened Sunday morning.

There were few power outages in Stoughton during this storm, but at one point, Goddard Hospital lost power and their backup generators failed. Fire personnel were prepared to transfer ventilator patients to other hospitals, but the electric company National Grid responded with a half dozen trucks, and was able to restore power in 90 minutes, and avert the mass transportation issue.

Tom Fitzgerald of the Stoughton Department of Public Works said early Saturday night (2/9) that "we are just finishing opening all the roads. They should all be passable by 6 p.m. The main streets have some packed snow. We'll treat them again with sand and salt on Sunday morning." Fitzgerald, who has stepped up in the absence of Director John Batchelder (who is recovering from surgery), said that they haven't even touched the sidewalks yet. When asked if they would be ready in the areas around the schools, for a Monday opening, he replied, "That's the plan." He urged caution on the roads, saying that "winter conditions persist."

Fitzgerald said all available DPW workers were manning plows, and close to 40 contractors were working for the town helping to plow.

Batchelder, speaking Saturday evening with Snyder's Stoughton via text, said he was sad to miss his first storm in 44 years. "I will be glad to get back to work. I tried not to bother my crew too much. They are doing a great job."

NO SCHOOL MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi told Snyder's Stoughton early Sunday that after meeting with Supervisor of Support Services Joel Harding, it was determined that the sidewalks were not sufficiently cleared for the safety of schools, and she was reluctantly going to have to cancel Monday.

(photos by Mark Snyder )


Public Safety Officers Braved the Cold and Snow (courtesy of Capt. O'Donnell FB page)


TRASH TALK

On Monday, February 18th, there will be no curbside trash collection in observance of President's Day. Trash collection for President's Day will be scheduled for Tuesday, February 19th in addition to the regular Tuesday collection. This is standard procedure for any holiday. All rubbish and recyclables must be curbside by 7 a.m. on your collection day. Recyclables are to be separated as follows: (1) Commingled containers (glass, plastic, aluminum cans, aluminum foil) and (2) curbside newsprint (newspapers, cardboard boxes, brown paper bags, magazines, phone books, inserts).

 We are now able to pick up tubeless TV's and computer monitors with curbside trash but older TV's and computer monitors with tubes (CRTs) cannot be picked up curbside and must be brought to the transfer station. Large household appliances (metal items) must be called into the Public Works for appointment for pickup. The Transfer Station is open every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Feel free to call the office if you have any questions. (781) 344-2112. For further information, kindly check out the Town's website (www.stoughton-ma.gov).

 


GUNSHOTS RING OUT ON RAYBURN ROAD

 

The Stoughton Police log had a disturbing entry for January 28 at 10:18 p.m. It read that a caller reported hearing five gunshots. Officers responded to the scene and found gunshot damage to a house and a vehicle. No one was injured. The Massachusetts State Police were contacted and Trooper Mike Arnold is doing ballistics testing. Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine said that the investigation is ongoing, and there are no suspects at this time. This is part of the neighborhood known as "Pinecrest Acres" years ago.


 

MASSIVE WINDSTORM TAKES DOWN TREES
CAUSE POWER OUTAGES

 

Tree on Seaver Street was one of many pulled down in the January 31st windstorm that caused power outages and left streets and yards strewn with debris.

(Mark Snyder photo)


New United States Senator is Stoughton Resident

 

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has named his former chief of staff and chief legal counsel, Stoughton resident William "Mo" Cowan, as the Interim Senator to replace U.S. Senator John Kerry, who was named the new U.S. Secretary of State. He becomes Massachusetts' second African American Senator, with former Senator Edward Brooke (R). He will also be the second African-American in the U.S. Senate, along with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Kerry held the seat for 28 years.

Cowan, a resident of Connie Lane, has been serving as an advisor to Patrick after leaving the Chief of Staff position. Mo is a 1994 law graduate of Northeastern University. He is a former member of the litigation section at the Boston-based law firm Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glosky & Popeo PC. and has been named a “Top 5% Massachusetts litigator” by Law and Politics magazine and a “40 Under 40” business leader by Boston Business Journal. He is the former president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and a current member of the Northeastern University Corporation. His wife Stacy is a Northeastern University Law grad, as well, and they have two children. He has lived in Stoughton the past decade.

In a press release, Governor Patrick said, “Mo's service on the front lines in our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the next generation has earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout government. The people of the Commonwealth have benefited from his wisdom and good judgment during his time in our office, and will again in the Senate."

Cowan, who reportedly is not in the running for the permanent Senate seat, in a statement said, "I pledge to you and the people of Massachusetts that during this interim period I will work as hard as humanly possible to perform my duties with the needs and aspirations of our state's citizens foremost in mind.”

University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, another Stoughton resident, said, “Mo Cowan is someone who is one of the most brilliant and intelligent individuals in his field. He is capable and uniquely positioned to serve the Governor and the people of the Commonwealth. We all know that we can move forward in positive way, and trust that he knows how to do the job.”

Former interim Stoughton Town manager and Boston Attorney Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., in a phone call from Washington D.C., told Snyder's Stoughton, "He was my 'mentee' who didn't need a mentor at Northeastern Law School. He has done exceedingly well. The Governor had made a wise selection. He'll acquit himself well in this position. It's good for Stoughton, too."

Cowan will serve until the scheduled June 25th election

(Posted on January 30, 2013 @ 11 a.m.).


Senator Mo Cowan's Stoughton home (photo by Mark Snyder)

 



 

 

HOME VALUES DOWN
TAXES UP!

From the Massachusetts Department of Revenue:

Median Stoughton Home Price 2007: $355,602
Median Stoughton Home Price 2013: $272,752
Assessed Values LOST 23.3%

... Median Property Taxes in 2008: $3449
Median Property Taxes in 2013: $4110
Property Tax Assessment INCREASE 19.16%


Town & School Budgets Proposed About 4.8% Increase

BOS FY '14 Budget (here)
SSC FY '14 Budget (here)


Jubinville Votes "No" at his First Governor's Council Meeting

 

In his first Governor’s Council vote, representing District 2, including Stoughton Democrat Robert L. Jubinville voted against Gov. Deval Patrick’s nomination of Brockton District Court’s Associate Justice Angel Kelley Brown to The Superior Court.

Jubinville, an attorney of 33 years from Milton who was elected in November to serve the communities of District 2, cast one of two votes against the nomination of Kelley Brown. The other nay vote was cast by District 7 Councillor Jennie Caissie, also an attorney.

“The voters elected me to confirm the nominations of qualified judges. I used my 33 years of experience as an attorney to do as I saw fit. Ms. Kelley Brown was a very nice woman with a very nice temperament,” said Jubinville. “I just didn’t feel at this time that she was ready to go to the superior court level. You don’t do any favors to somebody by putting them there when they are not ready.”

Kelley Brown has served as a Brockton District Court Judge for just three years, and has practiced law in Massachusetts for four years.

Jubinville referred to the Massachusetts Supreme Court as “the jewel of our great court system,” established in 1859 and used by other states as a model for their superior court systems.

Kelley Brown was confirmed by the majority of Governor’s Councillors in a 6-2 vote. She will fill the vacancy on the Superior Court created by the retirement of The Hon. Barbara Dortch-Okara (best known to Stoughton residentsas the judge in the trial of former Stoughton Police Sgt. David Cohen.)

Also during Jubinville’s first meeting, Jubinville voted to confirm the governor’s nomination of Robert B. Gordon as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court. Gordon is a 25-year veteran of Ropes and Gray who was made a partner in 1995. Since then, Gordon has been representing employers in various litigation matters. Gordon will fill the vacant seat on the Superior Court created by the retirement of John P. Connor Jr.

“We’re very lucky to get that kind of quality and expertise on the bench,” said Jubinville.

The Council will take up Gov. Patrick’s nomination of former EOPPS head Mary Elizabeth Heffernan to the District Court on Feb. 6.

(from a news release)

 


 

Norfolk DA Drug Task Force and local police arrest

Canton mortgage broker & three others on drug charges

 

 State Police detectives assigned to Norfolk DA Michael Morrissey’s Drug Task Force, working with Canton and Stoughton detectives, have seized as much as 70 pounds of alleged marijuana and $110,000 in possible drug proceeds – arresting four, according to DA Morrissey

 “This is an investigation that began in September, focusing on the illegal distribution of marijuana in this area” District Attorney Morrissey said. “State Police in our office, under the supervision of Sgt. Charles Kane, have been working closely with the Stoughton and Canton police departments in conducting surveillance and other investigation. They have provided invaluable cooperation.”

William H. Newman, age 32, of 84 Walpole Street in Canton pled not guilty today (January 23, 2013) at his Stoughton District Court arraignment to trafficking in Marijuana and conspiracy to violate the drug law. Assistant District Attorney Michael C. Connolly successfully asked that Newman post $50,000 cash bail. He is due back Feb. 12 for pre-trial conference. Newman’s occupation was given as Mortgage Broker at Newman Financial Group in Canton.       

Jose Marquez, 31, of North Hollywood, CA, pled not guilty to possession of a class E substance, to wit Xanax. ADA Connolly requested $20,000 cash bail; $3,000 bail was set, along with a return date of Feb. 12.    Colin Beauregard, 26, of Middlesex Street in Lowell, pled not guilty to Possession with intent to distribute a class D substance (marijuana), unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and conspiracy to violate the drug law. He was held on $20,000 cash bail and ordered to return Feb. 12.     Joseph Shelzi of South Shore Drive in Pelham, NH, pled not guilty to Possession with intent to distribute a class D substance (marijuana), unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and conspiracy to violate the drug law. He was also held on $20,000 cash bail and ordered to return Feb. 12. In addition to his bail, he was also held on an outstanding warrant from the Boston Municipal Court.

 “Surveillance yesterday was established at approximately 10 a.m., with detectives observing this defendant’s movements for several hours, until it was believed a large scale transfer of drugs and money had taken place among these defendants,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “Initial seizures of drugs and cash at roughly 1 p.m. led to the issuance of a search warrant for the lead defendant’s Canton apartment, where additional material believed to be drugs and thousands of dollars in additional U.S. currency was seized,” DA Morrissey said. “This investigation involved excellent professional cooperation with the Canton  and Stoughton Police departments and the Massachusetts State Police in our office and has resulted in the disruption of what these charges allege to be a substantial trafficking operation.”

 

(Information providedby Norfolk County DA's Press Spokesman David Traub.)               

 


STOUGHTON MOURNS JAKE HOFFMAN

The heart of Stoughton was once again broken earlier this week, with the tragic death of 21-year old James E. "Jake" Hoffman in an apartment fire in Amherst.   Hoffman, a 2009 graduate of Stoughton High, was in his senior year at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, studying Hospitality and Tourism Management in the school's Isenberg School of Management. 

At UMass in Amherst, Jake was a member of MESIBA Team, the Club Managers Association of America, and was the Vice President of the Jewish Student Union. An avid sports fan, he was a kind and caring man who in his free time enjoyed fundraising for different foundations and donating his time to anyone who needed it.  He went on Mission Trips with fellow parishioners of St. James Church.
 

If you met Jake, you immediately liked him.  He had a 1000 Megawatt smile, and a warm and engaging personality.  In these days of slovenly kids, Jake was a well-mannered young man, who never came over to my house without a "Hi, Mr. Snyder or thank you, Mr. Snyder."  Whenever I'd see him around town, no matter what he was doing, he'd stop, walk over, shake my hand, smile and say, "Hi Mr. Snyder. How are you doing?"   He was disarmingly handsome, and my daughter and all her friends would intimate that if one of their friends said they didn't love him, they were lying. He was athletic, smart, and a leader of his peers.  But, he was also amazingly down-to-Earth.  The girls thought he had that the "Abercrombie" look, like he had stepped out of one of their magazine ads, but you'd never know it the way he treated people.  He was friendly with everyone, whether they were popular or not.  He was a leader on the soccer and baseball fields, and off the field, as well.  He was also devoted to his church, and to helping people anywhere who needed it.

Tuesday night, the basketball team had a moment of silence for Jake before their game. The Knights blew out rival North Attleboro by 30 points.  Among those with tears in their eyes in the Knights gym that night was Assistant Basketball Coach Evan Taylor.  Taylor was a friend and classmate of Hoffman's. Stoughton High Athletic Director Ryan Donahue told Snyder's Stoughton, "I did not know Jake personally, but I know his brother Riordan, who is also a great kid. The athletic department wanted to recognize Jake's wonderful reputation and we wanted to acknowledge the family with some well wishes, thoughts and prayers. His classmates and teammates have told me many wonderful things about him."  

Matt Bernstein, former Head Coach of the Stoughton High soccer team, shared with Stoughton Patch his memories:"Jake was the very first soccer player I met at Stoughton High School, in 2006 when I was coaching the Junior Varsity Soccer Team.  I knew right away there was something about this kid. I can remember Sunday practices with the boys and Jake being there each and every week at 8 a.m., with a ton of jokes and a smile. He was a strong defensive back on the field, and was a devoted kid with great determination.  Without question, he was an all around great kid that all coaches would have been lucky to have had on their team. I am so saddened by the news of Jake. He and his number 4 jersey will always be remembered."  He became Captain of the varsity soccer squad in his senior year.  

Michael Armour, who coached Jake in soccer and baseball at Stoughton High, tells About Town, "He was a confident kid, and he always had a positive outlook and a smile.  I never had him in my class, but on the field he was just great. He was an easy kid to coach and got along well with everyone.  I coached his sister Nichole my first year, and got to know her dad. What a great family. Jake had his whole life ahead of him.  It's just too sad. Life is not supposed to go like that for a kid that did everything right. My heart goes out to the Hoffman family and everyone who knew him."

Retired Gibbons School gym teacher Peter Everett wrote Snyder's Stoughton, adding, "I had Jake at the Gibbons School throughout his elementary years (K - 5) in my Physical Education program. What I remember about him is he was very athetic, even his earlier years. He was able pick up the physical skills asked of him, with ease. This led him to be successful in my classes and in his athletic interests as he grew. Jake was a very competitive, yet compassionate student. He was able to help students with lesser skills in many of the activities we participated in. His unselfishness sticks out. He was a student who was respected by many of his peers. His passing is a great loss to all who knew him and to his generation. My deepest sympathy go to his wonderful family."


Jim Derochea
, who coached Jake in youth basketball, said even back then he was a leader.  "A few years back, I was assisting Jake's dad, Dave, during the STOYAC 7th & 8th grade league.  Jake was in 8th grade. My son Trevor was in 7th.  Trevor was futilely trying to guard Dartaye Ruffin (now 6"8:" and playing for Division 1 Drexel University), who was a foot taller.The first half went miserably for us and I think we were down by 13 points. Trevor was visibly frustrated and perhaps disappointed that he couldn't stop Dartaye. That's when Jake came over to him and put his hand on his shoulder and told Trevor to stay low and use his quickness to steal the ball whenever Dartaye put the ball on the floor.His encouragement and advice worked as we climbed back into the game with a flurry of break away baskets and even tied the game in the waning moments.We lost, but it was Jake's gesture, his encouragement to a younger, rattled teammate that stuck in my mind from that day. Years after coaching him in basketball, I'd often come across Jake around town, whether at the baseball field, at a school event or over one of his mutual family friend's house. Each time, he would come over and would greet me with that big smile of his, shake my hand and ask, 'How are you doing Mr. Derochea?' or 'How is the baseball team looking, Coach?' He was always so genuine and respectful, a throwback to a previous era and that's what always impressed me most about Jake. That and his easy-going nature and ever present smile!" 

Jake took Jenna Policow to her senior prom at Stoughton High. Policow, a sophomore at Drexel University, told About Town,  "Jake was one of those people that made an impact on your life whether you were just acquaintances, or his best friend.  I was lucky enough to have Jake in my life as a close friend sharing so many memories I will carry forever.  He showed me that there were some special people out there--people who really and truly cared. He defined what it meant to be a good friend. I can’t think of a time he wasn’t there for me. Looking back on it, everything seemed so trivial compared to right now, but he was just always there. His laugh was contagious; he always made people so happy. I never could understand how someone so handsome, smart, funny, and confident, could have a heart that matched in every single way.  People have good things to say when someone’s not there anymore, but when I say Jake Hoffman was the most incredible person I was given the pleasure to meet, I have thought that since the day I met him. I know everyone who knew him would say the same." 

Kevin Thompson, an acquaintance of Jake's from high school, wrote, "He's the type of person where there is no line, everybody was his friend. He greeted all with open arms and smiles all the time. Nothing but good to say about him."     Patricia Dexter, a clerk at Andy's Market, also wrote Patch, adding, "I work at Andy's Market and it was always a pleasure to talk with Jake. Such a polite and fun loving kid."
 

His classmate, Samantha Kaplan, who provided a video, which includes Jake, in our Gallery, added, "Jake, your spirit is now a part of us all, and your presence will never be forgotten! Now, we are all lucky enough to have best guardian angel watching over, and protecting us!

Rachel Lisker O'Reilly, a French teacher at Stoughton High, relayed this story to Snyder's Stoughton: "Tom Silva, Elyssa Koretz Schneider, and I traveled to France and Spain with Jake Hoffman in April of 2008.  He was an enthusiastic participant, and I really enjoyed meeting him on that trip and remember a lively chat with him while walking through narrow French streets from the Notre Dame Cathedral to our dinner restaurant that night.  I also had Jake's sister in French class (Jake took Spanish), and I am deeply saddened by this tragic loss for her family."

 

Kevin Bechet, a Media & Technology teacher at SHS, said simply, "What a character!  He was a funny kid who was thoughtful to his teachers and peers."

 

Christine Carr, a Guidance Counselor at Stoughton High, wrote, "Jake Hoffman was without a doubt one of the happiest students in his senior class.  He was personable, considerate and charismatic.  He was always looking to lead by example and did so without any need or desire for recognition. He took pride in all that he made a part of his high school career.  On the soccer team he was chosen as captain and was a role model for the other members.  Through his involvement with Student Council and DECA, Jake had filled the roles of student representative, action team leader and competitor.  As Jake indicated in his college essay, DECA made a significant difference for him throughout his high school career.  I had the privilege of observing Jake compete at the DECA regional's and can attest as to what an outstanding job he has done representing S H S with his involvement. James Hoffman had a lot to offer.  His positive attitude, contagious smile and outgoing personality are just a few of the attributes that he encompassed and that will be so gracefully remembered by so many."

Dawn Carr of Brockton might have said it best when she wrote, "Jake has always been a shining light and now he shines even brighter." 

I can only imagine how painful this is for Dave and Anne, Nichole and Riordan. I know that every parent who knew him feels like my wife and I. We have warm memories of Jake. You raised a wonderful son, taken too soon, but never to be forgotton.. We were honored to have known him.  And I know that his friends are devastated and feel a deep sense of loss and helplessness. There are no words strong enough to console a loss this painful. There will never be another Jake Hoffman. May time heal the wounds of those left behind, and may he Rest in Peace.

The Wake at Farley Funeral Home on Friday night had literally thousands of people going through, some of whom waited nearly four hours in bone-chilling temperatures and snow to pay their final respects to this great young man. The home was adorned with photos that took guests from Jake's infancy to college. Many of the people pictured in them with him were crying uncontrollably near his open coffin. This great young man, and his wonderful family, had touched so many people that they were literally lined up around the building and down Park Street. Jeff Farley at Farley Funeral Home confirmed it was one of the biggest Wakes in a number of years, since Stoughton Firefighter Victor Melendy lost his life on duty for the Stoughton Fire Department on January 28, 1995. Farley added, "It was a great tribute to Jake and his family that so many people would come out and wait, in such adverse conditions, to pay their final respects."

The Funeral was held on Saturday, January 26, at St. James Church.  The Parish was packed, with every square inch of seating, in the main floor and upper floor filled with people, young and old, paying their respects to this incredible young man, and his family. Father John E. Kelly did a wonderful job expounding on the goodness of Jakes and his family. The way he explained it, this was not Jake's ending, but a new beginning, in the afterlife, with Jesus up in Heaven. Beautiful music filled the room, and every person in the room---Christian or not--listened to every word and prayer spoken. After the litergy, and the graveside service, hundreds gather downstairs in the St. James function room to watch a video of still shots from Jake's life. Watching his family and friends (including my own son) left everyone in tears. The music, including Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo`ole's version of "Over the Rainbow" just made it that more an emotional experience. Then, the video (link below), was played with Jake mugging for the camera. It was an emotionally wrenching, heartbreaking day for his friends and family. The Hoffman family is extremely close, as illustrated by the myriad of shots of Anne, Dave,, Nichole, Riordan and Jake--happy and enjoying each other's company. His sister Nichole gave an impromptu speech downstairs, where she noted that Jake is now a guardian angel for Riordan, and that she no longer feared taking her last breath, because she knew that Jake would be there to greet her.

May he Rest in Peace.  

Donations in his memory may be made to the James "Jake" Hoffman Memorial Fund, PO Box 93, Stoughton, MA 02072. The fund will be used to try to help those who lost their belongings in the Amherst fire that took Jake's life.

 VIDEO courtesy of Samantha Kaplan
 

DETAILS & OBITUARY

(Updated Story posted on January 25 @ 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.)

 

(All photos by Mark Snyder)

Bottom photo, l to r Justin Rogers, Jake Hoffman, Dan Snyder and Chris Gallant.


Jake, 4th from left, with many of his friends before Prom Night 2009.


Jake volunteering in Missisippi with St. James Church after Hurricane Katrina (Courtesy St. James Church)

BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE FROM UMASS PAPER

HONORING JAKE: A Jake Hoffman Memorial Fundraiser, coordinated by UMass students Jamie Lee, Nichole Katherine, Andrew May and Alyssa McCann, is scheduled for February 17 at 8 p.m. at the Village Smokehouse, 98 Middle Street in Lowell.  Nearly 200 people have already responded that they will attend the fundraiser, whose proceeds will benefit those who lost everything in the January 21st fire at the Rolling Green apartments in Amherst, which took the life of the popular Stoughton High Class of 2009 graduate. The night will feature 50/50 drawing, multiple raffles, music and entertainment. Some of his Stoughton friends have already RSVP'd their attendance. As Jamie wrote on Facebook, “For those of you who know Jake, he was always the life of the party. His contagious personality was always bringing people together. What better way to celebrate his life than hold a fundraiser in his memory, and help raise money for all those in need?” Jake obviously touched SO many people. His wake was the biggest one at Farley Funeral Home since Firefighter Victor Melendy’s tragic death in 1995. Jake’s funeral absolutely packed St. James Church. A few of his friends have gotten tattoos to honor him forever in a way to keep him close to them.

Seth Rotberg , who only met Hoffman last spring at UMass, was so touched by him that he told the school’s newspaper that he’s lobbying to have a chair left open at graduation in honor of Jake, in addition to procuring a University diploma for his family. Rotberg also said he is trying to start a scholarship in Hoffman’s name for hospitality and tourism management majors at UMass.

A Jake Hoffman comes once in a lifetime. He is sorely missed by everyone he touched, whether it was for a moment, or a lifetime. His family, his friends, and his community (both here and at UMass) have a giant void that can never be filled. You can RSVP for the event on the event’s Facebook page.

 

 


News from St. Thomas:


While on vacation on a beach in St. Thomas, Stoughton Fire Chief Mark Dolloff came upon a gentleman who was in cardiac arrest. Mark performed C.P.R. and the end result was positive. According to Mark's wife, the man was awake and alert last night. Congratulations Chief on a life-saving performance! A public safety officer's work is never done!

Patch Talks to Chief


 

Stankiewicz A Finalist for TM in Milford

Story

Former Stoughton and Plymouth Town Manager makes the final 6 in Milford. He has been a finalist in Ashland, Burlington, Sarasota, Longmeadow, Bridgewater, and Framingham.


BABY SHOWER TURNS TO BRAWL

A baby shower at the Club Luis de Camoes on Porter Street Saturday night became a full-fledged brawl that took 20 police officers nearly an hour to quell. A Stoughton Police detail officer was working the 9 p.m. to midnight baby shower, when a fight broke out inside the club. The officer called in backup, and at 11:38 p.m, there was a full brawl in progress that had spilled outside the building. Executive Officer Robert Devine told me that the time was of benefit to the police. "We had our midnight shift coming in, so we had more bodies that we'd normally have." Devine said that four officers and two supervisors from the 4-midnight shift, 3 officers and 1 supervisor from the midnight-8 a.m. shift, and the detail officer (Stephen Collins) were on scene. "The behavior of the party-goers was despicable," Devine told Snyder's Stoughton, "We were more worried about the children there than their parents. The officers that responded could not have handled it any better than they did. It was supposed to be a baby shower. They should really be ashamed of themselves."

Arrested were Paulo Hires Delpina, 24, of 36 Ash Street in Brockton. He was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, and Assault & Battery on a Police Officer; Aderito Lopes DeAndrade, 22, of 607 North Main Street in Brockton. He was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Obstruction of Justice, Resisting Arrest, and Assault & Battery on a Police Officer; Patrick Cardoso Lopes, 24, of 298 North Warren Avenue in Brockton. Lopes was Tazed during the arrest by Stoughton Police. He was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Assault & Battery on a Police Officer, Obstruction of Justice, and Witness Intimidation. In addition, a 14 year old juvenile from Brockton was arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Obstruction of Justice, Resisting Arrest, and Assault & Battery on a Police Officer.

Devine said that the situation was under control at 12:20 a.m. on early Sunday morning. Police Chief Paul Shastany told Snyder's Stoughton, "It doesn't look like the fault of the police. It just got out of control." Devine said that he was greatful for the help from the Massachusetts State Police, the Norfolk County Sheriff's office, and police from Canton, Easton and Randolph. "It gave us a total of 20 officers. We knew it was at the point where we needed additional help. We couldn't have gotten the situation under control without the help of these other departments who provided us with assistance."

There were no serious injuries of any police officers, according to Devine, "only some minor bumps, scratches and bruises." As far as the party-goers, the Stoughton Fire Department provided them assistance, as soon as the area was safe for them to proceed, according to Devine. "The situation was just chaotic. We have no figures on injuries to the parties there. There were chairs and bottles thrown at police. It was bad." Devine said when officers were surrounded by partygoers throwing bottles and chairs they pulled out their Tazers. Only one officer actually used it--on Lopes.

The Club had over 200 people in it during this disturbance, according to authorities.

UPDATE: All four suspects were released on bail after arraignment at Stoughton District Court on January 14.

(Posted on January 13, 2013 @ 1 p.m. Updated at 8 p.m.) (Book Photos Courtesy Stoughton PD, via WHDH-TV)

 


 

TWO ALARM GARAGE FIRE ON WALES AVE.

Stoughton FF/EMT Eric Hoffman captured this photo of a Wales Avenue garage on fire on the morning of January 11, 2013. Fire Chief Mark Dolloff tells Snyder's Stoughton, "There were no injuries, but there were concerns about a possible collapse." The property owner at 21 Wales Avenue asked members of the press, including a Channel 7 film crew, to leave his property.

(Posted on January 11, 2013 @ 1:40 p.m.)


(bottom photo courtesy of Neil Leonard of Quincy Fire Department via Stoughton Fire Facebook page.)


 

TURKISH RESTAURANT A HIT!

Stoughton has a brand new restaurant serving Turkish food, and it's become an immediate hit. Chicken Kebab is opened downtown, next to Olivio's Pizza place. There's plenty of parking in front, and in the old Pacheco Hardware parking lot. Ali Kemal Aykurt, who is a native of Turkey, is the owner. I brought in School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, also a native of Turkey, to be interpretor of language and food for me.

Aykurt, who has worked in a number of restaurants, and owned the most recent one in New York City, was traveling in our area with a friend from Easton looking for a place to open up his concept here. Once he saw the old Kabob House location, he thought it was perfect. He's been paying rent to the owner there since October 1, 2012, and finally was able to open late last Friday.

The restaurant features hot and cold appetizers, with outstanding homemade Hummus (chick peas blended with lemon juice, olive oil and herbs/$5.95), Baba Ganoush (eggplant/$4.95), stuffed grape leaves (Vine leaves stuffed with rice, pignolia nuts, and cooked in olive oil/$4.95), and Falafal (deep friend chick peas and vegetables, blended with middle eastern spices/$6.50).

There are a myriad of salad choices, from Greek Salad, Shepards's Salad (Coban), Fish Salad (with mixed fish), Turkish-style potato salad, and Bean Salad. Small salads are $5.95, and larger ones are $6.95. You can add marinated meats and fish to the salads, for as little as $2.50.

There are a variety of hot soups, including Lentil, Chicken Egg & Lemon, Fish, Mixed Veggie, and Tomato Soup with fresh Basil. All come with their delicious homemade bread. They are all $3.95.

There's seafood, featuring Fish n' Chips ($11.95), Grilled Salmon ($16.95), Whole Striped Bass ($17.50), and Whole Brook Trout (Alabalik) for $16.95. They all come with sauteed vegetables and a choice of rice. I loved the Bulghur (orange cracked wheat rice), as well as the plain Turkish white rice, which is boiled in butter and water.

There are specials offered every day. I tried the Izmir Kofte (Turkish meatballs) and Salmon Stew. Both were delicious. They also offer a Moussaka special that is very popular. Specials vary in price. I tried the mixed Adana Lamb and Chicken entree, cooked to perfection, and served on a bed of yogurt sauce. They offer many entrees that feature the chicken, lamb, and fish, with a variety of cooking styles. They also offer Doner and Adana Kebabs. For those with more pedestrian tastes, check out the pasta dishes, which also feature lamb, chicken or salmon. They offer Turkish-style burgers ($5.95), and Turkish-style plates (starting at $13.95), which include rice, sauteed vegetables, yogurt sauce, and choice of homemade bread.

But, save room! The desserts are magnificent! Their homemade Baklava is fantastic, with varieties that have pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts. The Rice Pudding was the best I ever had! Desserts are all $3.95.

Word of mouth is already spreading. Attorney Ethan Schaff, who has an office downtown, was thrilled with Chicken Kabob. "This place is just fantastic," he told me, "I think they need to spread the word beyond Stoughton's borders. Stoughton can be a difficult crowd. He really deserves a PR push. It's exquisite food."

Chicken Kabob does catering, and is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Ali is looking to hire an additional Turkish cook, as well as a waitress and cashier. Stop by and see him! They are at 756 Washington Street, and their number is 781-436-8452. Fax number is 781-436-8453.


Erdem Ural and Ali Kemal Aykurt

(photos by Jeffrey Pickette of Stoughton Patch.)

(Posted on January 10, 2013 @ 3 p.m. Updated at 6 p.m.)


 

SENATOR JOYCE SHOCKS ROTTENBERG

In testimony submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), State Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) has requested that the agency ban the use of all Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEDs), or painful skin shock devices. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to conduct a hearing with Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) representatives concerning the use of GED 3A and 4 devices, which are currently being used to administer painful electric shocks to disabled children at the Canton facility without FDA approval.

The FDA notified the JRC in May 2011 that alterations made to the painful electric machinery used by the JRC to control children’s behavior required an FDA determination that such devices may be legally used. After the JRC failed to adequately respond to the FDA notice, a second letter was sent in June of 2012. When the JRC again failed to comply, the FDA sent a third notice in December 2012, informing the JRC of a meeting between the FDA and the JRC to ensure that the facility formerly known as the Behavioral Research Institute ceases use of the non-compliant devices. Senator Joyce, a longstanding critic of the JRC and its practices, submitted testimony requesting that the FDA forbid the JRC from using the GED devices on their students from this point forward.

“The Judge Rotenberg Center has clearly ignored the FDA’s concerns about the use of these skin shock devices for over a year and a half,” said Joyce. “In that time, many disabled children have been strapped to an unregulated device that emits painful electric shocks for simple misbehavior. The FDA has a unique opportunity to do what some in the Commonwealth have lacked the political will to do: forever stop this barbaric punishment system for severely disabled children.”

The latest issue surrounding the JRC’s use of shock therapy – the only school in the United States to do so – is another troubling sign in a long history of abuses. In 2007, a prank phone call directed staff to pull two children out of their beds in the middle of the night and shock them while restrained over one hundred times combined, ending in hospital care being needed. In 2012, video was released by a court of an incident at the JRC in which 18-year-old Andre McCollins is shown strapped to a table and screaming in pain while staff administers 31 electric shocks to his body. The release of the video created worldwide outrage.

Additionally, the use of skin shocks has been declared “torture” by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak. Joyce indicated that he would follow the FDA findings closely while still pursuing a ban on aversives in the state Legislature in the upcoming legislative session.

It is estimated there are six Judge Rottenberg facilities situated in Stoughton (most in residential neigborhoods). One, on Park Street, has had two incidents in less than a year.

 

 

 


VOICE OF DEMOCRACY WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Michael Romanuk VFW Post 1645 announced the local winners of this year's National VFW competetive educational programs on January 9th. Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the VFW's premiere scholarship program.  Each year over 50,000 high school students compete for more than $2.3 million in scholarships and incentives.  Students write and record a broadcast script on an annual patriotic theme.   This year 's topic was, "Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?"

Stoughton Historical Society's Past President Joe DeVito, who is co-chairman of the local Voice of Democracy competition with VFW 1645 Quartermaster Rudy Medeiros, tells Snyder's Stoughton that the First Place winner at Stoughton High School is Ashley N. Merola, 2nd Place winner is James E. MacDonald, and Third Place finisher is Joseph M Souto.
 

The Patriot's Pen is a youth essay contest giving Middle School students an opportunity to compose an essay expressing their views on Democracy.  This year's theme was "What I Would Tell America's Founding Fathers?"   First Place winner from the O'Donnell Middle School is Dylan Flynn, Second Place is Lauren E Sears, and Third Place is Mackenzie Lally. All winners will be recognized and receive their awards at the VFW Post 1645 annual Installation of Officers banquet on Sunday, May 19, 2013.

VFW TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS

 
The national VFW recognizes America's  educators who instill a sense of national pride in  their students. Michael Romanuk VFW Post 1645 has announced that this year's Stoughton High School Teacher of the Year is Michael Ingrao. Their O'Donnell Middle School Teacher of the Year selection is Russell Clough. All winners will be recognized and receive their awards at the VFW Post 1645 annual Installation of Officers banquet on Sunday, May 19, 2013.   Co-chairmen  for  this VFW program are Rudy Medeiros and Joe DeVito.

 


 

Stoughton Woman Admits She Was Drunk In Fatal Accident


the victim
Sara Escudero

              

The unlicensed drunk driver who crossed the center line of Rte. 138 in Canton on June 24, 2012, striking and killing a Stoughton 64-year-old, pled guilty and was sent to jail today, January 9, 2013.

               “We asked that Auricelli Braga be sentenced to 3 to 5 years in the state prison for killing Sara Escudero,” District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said, after the 32-year-old Stoughton woman pled guilty to both charges against her: Motor Vehicle Homicide by Negligent Operation while Operating Under the Influence and Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle.  Defense attorney Ron Rice had asked Judge Kenneth Fishman to impose a 1-year sentence.

               “The judge imposed 2.5 years in the house of correction with two years incarcerated and the balance suspended during 5 years of supervised probation. Terms of probation include abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and a she must pay a $1,000 fine for the unlicensed operation,” Morrissey said. Nine members of the Escudero family were present for the plea in Norfolk Superior court on Wednesday, January 09, 2013, and four gave victim impact statements. “The defendant is also the subject of an ICE detainer, and will face deportation proceedings after she finishes her incarceration,” Morrissey said.

               The collision occurred at about 5:35 a.m. in the area of 239 Turnpike Street in Canton, when the black Nissan Sentra that Braga was driving home after a night of partying at the Splash night club in Boston and visiting a friend in Framingham. Her blood alcohol level an hour after the crash was measured at .12 % - one and a half times the per se legal limit of .08, according to prosecutors. A witness who spoke to reporters after the crash said that he had needed to swerve his own car out of Braga’s path moments before she struck and killed Sara Escudero. Canton police conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.

               “This was an absolutely senseless loss of life,” said District Attorney Morrissey, who met with the family prior to the Wednesday hearing in Superior Court. “The impact on this family and the loss they feel is difficult to put into words. It is clear that Sara was deeply loved, and is now deeply missed.”

(From a press release from the Norfolk County DA's office. Posted on January 9, 2013 @ 8 p.m.)

 

 


 

STOUGHTON NEEDS YOU!!

It’s getting near crunch time, and interested citizens need to step forward. If you are at all concerned with the schools in Stoughton, the public safety, the roads, or any other services that you receive, then you should make it a point to run for Town Meeting. Every dollar in the town’s municipal and school budget is approved by the 168 members of Town Meeting. It can be time-consuming, irritating, lengthy, sometimes-boring, but nonetheless extremely important.

And, sometimes it’s been difficult to win a seat. In some precincts, many potential volunteers don’t make the cut. But, Moderator Howard Hansen passed through some changes a couple of years back, and it’s simple to gather the 15 signatures needed on a petition for a Town Meeting seat.

Simply go to the Town Clerk’s office on the first floor of Town Hall. Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney and her staff will assist you in getting you the right forms, and showing you how to fill it out. You’ll need to sign a paper that says you are willing to serve, and get the signed petition in by the end of the business day on February 19, 2013. When you turn in your papers, you’ll get to pick a numbered ball which will determine your placement on the April ballot.

As of my last trip to the Town Clerk’s office, before my Journal deadline, Precinct 8, which is the smallest one, didn’t even have one paper pulled! Precincts 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 had three papers pulled. Precinct 4 had seven, Precinct 5 had one. So, with eight getting elected in each Precinct, we need MORE candidates---a lot more. So, please, get involved in your community. You will get to know why things happen the way they do-- and how YOU can actually help to change things. Don’t complain if you are looking in from the outside. Dive in!

The only actual contested race is for School Committee.Incumbent Joyce Husseini, the current Vice Chairman and a former Chairman, is running for re-election. Tom Colburn, another former Chairman, has chosen not to run. He wrote to Snyder’s Stoughton, “ I've thoroughly enjoyed serving on the school committee for the past nine years. I appreciate the voters for having given me the honor to serve and fellow school committee members for having elected me as chair numerous times. I joined the committee at a somewhat tumultuous time as Tony Sarno was retiring and feel that I'm leaving at a stable time. I had envisioned perhaps two terms but after having served three terms feel that now it is time to step down to allow someone else to serve .”

So there WILL be at least one new face on the School Committee.Others who have delivered their completed nomination papers to the Town Clerk, in addition to Husseini, are:

Patricia MacNeil, who is a member of the Stoughton Democratic Town Committee, and the Municipal Operations Committee.

Debra A. Cote is a nurse who was educated at Fitchburg State University. She has also been an activist at the West School.

Dr. Carol A. Brown, is a PhD and Director of Instruction/Assistant Principal for the Boston Public Schools. She is the author of a published children’s book.


(I would ask all three new school committee candidates to please get in touch with me via pmpco@aol.com, so that I may include them in all future election pieces.)

Town Moderator Howard Hansen will be unopposed. He has been unopposed for most of his decades of service.

Selectman Chairman John Stagnone has chosen not to run for re-election, as we detailed last week. Local Attorney T.J. Recupero was the only one to turn in nomination papers, and he’ll be the newest Selectman after the April election. But, he’s not taking it lightly. He told me Tuesday night, “It seems I am the only candidate for the open position on the Board of Selectmen. That said, I think I still owe it to the residents and business owners of the Town to make myself available to answer questions, much as if I were running a campaign with opposition.”

Forrest Lindwall, who seems to be on every committee in town, will be joining the Redevelopment Authority. He’ll step into the seat previously held by Peter Buckley, who chose not to run for re-election. Former Housing Authority Chairman Barry Crimmins took out nomination papers, but chose not to turn them in. So, Lindwall gets the seat, uncontested.

I’ll be doing some columns in the upcoming weeks on the school committee candidates, to let you get to know them. I hope to be moderating debates, as well, as I have been doing for many years in town, on TV and in local venues. Last year, we did a successful selectmen debate at the Stoughton Senior Center, and a Candidate’s Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce. The more educated the voter, the better it is for everyone.

 

Do YOUR part and VOTE on April 9, 2013.

(Posted on January 9, 2013 @ 8 a.m.)

 


 

Town Manager Sworn In

Michael Hartman, a Canton resident, stepped into Town Hall on December 17, 2012 as Town Manager, and was sworn in by Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney on December 21, 2012. This swearing in took place during the Selectmen's meeting on January 8, 2013, for the public. No words were injured in the making of this event.

(photo by Mark Snyder)


 

Stoughton Chamber Elects 2013 Board


The 2013 Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors made their debut at the Annual Meeting on January 7, 2013 at N.E. Sinai Hospital. From left to right: Board members Carlos Vargas, Jill O'Keefe, Ellen Green, Lester Davis, Vice Chair Beth Snell, Chairman Chris Petrie, Roger Kahan, Fred Yaitanes, Mark Leppo, Treasurer John Jarvis, and Franz Antoine.

(photo by Danielle Schneider)


Fire on Churchill Avenue
Heavy Damage, No Injuries

A fire, which broke out early in the evening at 19 Churchill Road in Stoughton, caused heavy damage and made three people homeless. Fire Chief Mark Dolloff told Snyder's Stoughton that the fire had a high level of heat, which caused windows two rooms away from the suspected area where the fire started to melt. Dolloff said that the department called in State Police investigators to help find the source of the fire. "There is a lot of damage. The fire appears to have started in a first floor room currently used as a bedroom, and quickly overflapped through the second floor. When the cause isn't obvious, we have our investigators work alongside the State Police." Dolloff said the fire was "not suspicious in nature."

Dolloff said there were three renters in the home owned by Steve Goulston. They are all staying with friends, he said. Dolloff said the house is not liveable in its present condition, and could be a total loss. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Stoughton Fire Facebook page: Group 4, under the command of Captain O'Donnell, responded to a report of a house fire at 19 Churchill Avenue in Stoughton. Upon arrival, companies found heavy fire showing from the front of the home. The property sustained severe fire damage. All occupants were out of the home and no injuries were reported. Mutual aid departments, Canton, Avon, and Brockton, Easton and Sharon covered the Stoughton Stations.

(photo on left courtesy of Mass Incident Paging/Norfolk County Control Facebook. Photo on right courtesy of Stoughton Fire Dept. Facebook Page)


EIGHT IS ENOUGH!

 

William D. Doten, age 65, of Westland Street in Brockton, was arraigned on Avon Police charges of OUI-5th (and subsequent) and Operating a Motor Vehicle after License suspension at roughly noon on January 7, 2013. Doten pled not guilty before Stoughton District Court Judge Richard D. Savignano. He was represented by attorney Joseph Eisenstadt.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s Office entered a motion to have Doten, whom prosecutors told Judge Savignano has 7 or more prior OUI on his record, held without bail under the Commonwealth’s Dangerousness Statute. The Court ordered him held without bail pending a hearing on the dangerousness motion scheduled for Jan. 23.

In arguing for the dangerousness motion to be allowed, Assistant District Attorney Chris Meade told Judge Savignano that on Thursday, Avon police responded to a citizen report of a disabled truck in the area of 359 West Main Street. As an officer approached and opened the door of the vehicle, he experienced what he reported to be a strong odor of alcohol. The officer further observed open bottles of Vodka and Bud Lite in the passenger compartment. Doten was asked to step out of the vehicle and participate in certain tests; the officer’s observations helped form probable cause for the arrest.

“Based on his history and recent events, we feel there is a real question whether he can be released without posing a danger to those around him – and that it what the Dangerousness Statute is in place to address,” said District Attorney Morrissey, who has launched multiple drunk driving prevention initiatives. “That is a determination it is appropriate to ask the court to make.”

(Posted on January 7, 2013 at 4 p.m. Informationfrom a press release.)  


 

Norfolk DA Morrissey Offers Domestic Violence,
Sexual Assault, and Addiction Posters Online

              

The group of public service posters produced by Norfolk DA Michael W. Morrissey has been updated for 2013 and can be printed from the media section of the DA’s web site, www.norfolkda.com.

               “A good number of these have already been put up in restaurants, libraries, medical and dental offices, pharmacies – sometimes in the privacy of restrooms, sometimes on the bulletin boards by the main entrance,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “Those who work in those spaces have a good idea of what belongs where.”

“It is not unusual to come across this kind of information posted in public buildings and other common spaces,” said District Attorney Morrissey. “Unfortunately, it is also not unusual to find some of the information out of date or incomplete.”

By having his office vet the information on these posters, then verify all the numbers twice a year to be sure they are up to date, it diminishes the chances that someone gets a dead line or a wrong number when they can finally reach out for help, District Attorney Morrissey said. “A member of my staff did the photography on his own time and the graphic designer who does our trial exhibits made quick work of producing them. When we have copies printed, we use drug forfeiture funds to do it, so the cost is negligible – but we hope the value will be great.”

There are three versions of the domestic violence poster, tailored to the south shore, western Norfolk County and the Northern end of the county. The substance poster is a partnership between District Attorney Morrissey and the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery.

“Posting any, or all, of these is also a visible sign to patrons that your organization stands with victims of violence and in support of those struggling with addiction,” Morrissey said.

(Posted on January 4, 2013 @ 3:30 p.m. From a press release by David Traub.)

 

 


 

Stoughton Finds Best & Brightest
Police Recruits in Stoughton!

Introducing the Stoughton Police Recruits who will be starting the Boston Police Academy next week on Jan 7. From the left: Heather Cheever, Tim Hansler, Tom Covino, Daniel Barber, Michael Medina, David Hoadley and Albert Medeiros. Says Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine, "In the group are two Corrections Officers, two Portuguese speaking officers, a police dispatcher, a Marine and a district attorney's office clerk. All are well educated and survived our extensive and grueling hiring process. With Dan Carmichael from the Boston Housing Authority Police Department (pictured at right), we navigated through 26 civil service candidates to hire these eight. We wish them well and look forward to working with them in the near future."

The Stoughton Police need additional people. They are BUSY! In 2012, their dispatchers handled 23,504 calls for service! The Stoughton Police made 1,114 arrests, and filled out 1650 incident reports (talk about writer's cramps!). There were 664 accidents in town, as well. Police and Fire are frequently busy, and under-manned. Hopefully, this helps the situation. There are three new firefighters in the budget passed at last town meeting, as well.

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL. SEE YOU AROUND TOWN!

 



It's Twins!

Snyder's Stoughton sends warm congratulations to Stoughton Police Officer Chris Grover and his wife Kim on the newest members of the Stoughton Police family, Brooklyn and Ryann Grover! Mom and the twins are doing well!  Kim's sister, Kelli, is married to fellow Stoughton Police officer John "Jay" Owens.  Small world!  

THERE'S A NEW MAN IN THE CORNER OFFICE

Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. accomplished a lot in his temporary term in the corner office. Most importantly, he bonded with the school department and—along with Selectman Chairman John Stagnone, School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi—encouraged cooperation between both ends of Pearl Street. A new roof was put on Town Hall, and he went up on a lift and inspected it himself. He hired the town’s new HR Director, Procurement Officer, Assistant Director of Public Works, and Board of Selectmen’s Secretary. I don’t know anyone who has anything negative to say about Joe. He’s an amiable thoughtful guy. Some might disagree with him philosophically on some issues, but they respect the man. He certainly worked well with this local press, to put out a positive picture of what was going on in Town Hall. Feaster will head back to his law practice at McKenzie & Associates, P.C. in Boston.

In a short interview from Zachary’s breakfast place on Thursday morning, , where Feaster was dining with former Town Manager and Former Judge Francis T. Crimmins, Jr., Feaster said, “We’ve been transitioning for two weeks, so it’s gone well. Mike is a different personality than me. He’s quiet and reserved. I’ve given him a great orientation. He’s met every department head and gone to every building in town, but the armory and the library. He’s been briefed on the budget. I feel pleased that he is well prepared. Last week, we both were in the manager’s office together. No problem. I pulled my papers for Pct. 4 Town Meeting rep, so I’ll be around,” Feaster. When asked to name his greatest accomplishment in office, he responded, “Moving the town’s business forward. I came in starting with a budget I didn’t know. I was able to move forward what the selectmen had proposed. My hiring choices have been a close second. I think many great quality people have joined the team.”

 

Meanwhile, Michael Hartman is the latest Town Manager for the Town of Stoughton. Hartman is a resident of Canton, and is celebrating his new commute. Since 2007, he has driven ever day to Jaffrey, NH (population 5800) as their Town Manager. He supervised all departments there, prepared budgets, negotiated contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and served as procurement officer and personnel director.

Hartman has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Iowa, and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois. Previous to the New Hampshire job, Hartman was Town Administrator of Wareham (2001-2007), Medway (1998-2001), and Warren, RI (1995-1998). He served as Assistant City Manager in Meriden, CT, Director of Community Services in Scott County, IA, and Assistant Administrator of the Iowa Department of Human Services. He is a member of the International City and County Management Association.

I had a sit-down with Mr. Hartman in the Yaitanes Room last week, which was set up by Mr. Feaster. I asked Hartman if he knew what quicksand he was stepping in, and he mentioned that he was familiar with the police scandal, and the highly-charged political atmosphere, but was looking forward to taking over in Stoughton. “I really do try to avoid getting involved in political battles, and taking sides,” he told me. I had warned him not to get involved in the political mud, which had sunk a number of Chief Executives here before him. He seemed a bit nervous, talking to the Rasputin-like interviewer, but appears ready to get to know all the players in town, and each department in the municipal government.

After awhile he relaxed and said that he had been reading up on the town (hopefully with Snyder’s Stoughton and About Town!), and he was looking forward to working with the Board of Selectmen who had hired him. He intends to sit down at length with every Department Head, and get to know them, their staff, and their needs. He is going to get to know the proposed budget for Fiscal 2014, as he will be the point man at May’s Annual Town Meeting. As always, this Town Meeting will feature the annual battle between the municipal departments and the school department for a chunk of the fiscal pie. In recent years the Finance Committee, under the leadership of Holly Boykin (who has since moved out of state), has trumped the Board of Selectmen and Town Manager. Hartman has a chance to show he is in charge—and in command of the necessary knowledge, at Town Meeting. Until then, he starts off with a clean slate, and more experience than anyone who has every sat in the corner office in Stoughton’s historic Town Hall.

Feaster put a new roof on it, and Hartman is looking to institute his own style under that roof.

(Posted on December 26, 2012 @ 10:30 p.m. Top photo by Mark Snyder. Bottom photos by Hank Herbowy)


New Town Manager Michael Hartman with Selectman Chair John Stagnone, School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee and former Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr.

 


 

STOUGHTON MOURNS BILLY HAMMEL

 

William P. “Billy” Hammel, Jr., 62, a longtime resident of Stoughton, died peacefully at his home in East Falmouth on Sunday, December 23. The Stoughton High graduate (Class of 1968) spent most of his life living and working in Stoughton. He worked for the Stoughton Department of Public Works for nearly forty years, before his retirement as Assistant Superintendent of Public Works in 2010. Hammel served in the U.S. Coast Guard and was a Veteran of the Vietnam War. Hammel was a member of the VFW Post 1645 in Stoughton. Friends say he enjoyed fishing, boating, NASCAR races, beaches, swimming and spending precious time with his beloved family.

He leaves behind his wife, Sandra, and his children, Jason W. Hammel of Brockton, Erik E. Hammel of Troy, NY and Casey L. Hammel of Stoughton. He was the brother of Gerald Hammel of Little Compton, RI, Michael Hammel of FL, Cynthia Louko and Donald Hammel both of Easton and Francis Hammel of Stoughton. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

The Wake was held at Farley Funeral Home on December 26th. The Funeral Mass was on Thursday, December 27 at Immaculate Conception Church in Stoughton. Interment was in Evergreen Cemetery in Stoughton.

John Batchelder, Superintendent of Public Works for the Town of Stoughton, felt terrible about Billy’s passing. “He was so young. He's been sick for quite awhile.  He’s had problems for many years from Agent Orange due to his service for this country in Vietnam. He’s been on low doses of chemo for a long time.  Shortly after he retired, they found a tumor near his spine,” Batchelder said. Batchelder actually went with Billy into Boston to the Beth Israel Hospital, but there really wasn’t much they could do. Batchelder told About Town about Hammel’s rise to the top: "He started in the 1973 at the bottom, like we all did. He worked his way up to assistant superintendent, in charge of water and sewer.  He was a truck driver, machine operator, and foreman.  He retired a couple of years ago and didn't have a lot of good time before he was sick.  He enjoyed the Cape, and was very close to his daughter and his wife. They were inseparable. He loved fishing and boating. They used to go to Florida every winter. They just came back from there about a month ago. They had two Chihuahuas they loved.  It's been a blessing to know him.  It's a shame.  He was much too young.”

Larry Barrett, the retired DPW Superintendent, couldn’t believe Billy was gone. “He was just a great guy. The Town is going to miss this kid. I’ve been with him the last week. He lived six streets away, so I’ve been helping him get around in his home. He bought a house here in our development. He went fishing in early November in Florida. I’m glad he got to do that. He loved it so.” As far as his career, Barrett recalled, “Billy was with me all the way, and I was with him all the way. He was the greatest assistant anyone could ever ask for. Billy and John Batchelder. They were fantastic assistants. Billy was a very smart kid. He had amazing knowledge of water systems. I’m going to miss him terribly. We went fishing, boating and swimming together here.”

Town Meeting member Bob Cohn said that Billy “was a great guy. If you needed anything, he was right there for you. I can’t say enough good things about him.

Former Town Clerk Paul Dawson wrote About Town, “I had the pleasure of working with Bill and was always impressed by his deep care and concern for his hometown. He was a quiet and unassuming gentle man. I will miss his quick wit and bright smile!”

Town Meeting and Conservation Commission member Dori Frankel adds, “Billy was such a nice person, always very professional, because he knew his stuff, and also helpful when I needed anything for ConCom. So sad.”

Billy started working for Stoughton in July of 1973, and retired in August of 2010. The DPW had a sign in his honoron Central Street, reading, "Billy, Rest in Peace."

I went to Bill’s low-key retirement party. When I asked him what he intended to do, he said, “Plenty of fishing.” I hope he’s hooked a big one up there in Heaven.

Donations in William's memory may be sent to Hope Hospice, 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, MA 02601.

(Courtesy Photo Billy Hammel, Larry Barrett and John Batchelder. Some information came from Mr. Hammel's obituary.)

(Posted on December 25, 2012 @ 8 p.m. Updated on December 28 @ 6 p.m.)

 


 

CHRISTMAS EVE FIRE

The Stoughton Fire Department responded to a two alarm fire at 38 Kenmore Road on Christmas Eve. Group 4 was On Duty, under the command of Deputy Chief Goldberg and Captain O'Donnell. The home has extensive damage. No injuries were reported. Mutual Aid companies from Avon, Canton, Sharon, Brockton assisted with Station coverage.

(Courtesy of Stoughton Fire Department Facebook Page)

 


STOUGHTON FIREFIGHTER LOSES HOME TO FIRE

The Stoughton Fire Rescue Facebook page announced with deep sadness on Friday, Demember 21, that Firefighter Jack Hussey and his family lost their home and all personal items to a fire that day. If any of members of the Stoughton community would like to help Firefighter Hussey, and try to bring some joy to their Christmas, you may do so by making checks payable to:
Stoughton Firefighters Local 1512 and mail to: Jack Hussey Fund, Stoughton Firefighters Local 1512, 1550 Central Street, Stoughton, MA 02072. Thank you all.

Firefighter Jeff Ledin, who mans the Stroughton Fire Faebook page, said on December 22nd, We are all speechless. The outpouring of assistance locally and statewide for Jack Hussey has been incredible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts." Jack has a high school age daughter, and thie fire occurred only four days before Christmas. Do what you can for this Abington native and resident, who has done so much for the people of Stoughton.

(Posted on December 23, 2012 @ 7 p.m.)

(Photo courtesy of WHDH/Channel 7 in Boston.)


 

POLICE DELIVER CHRISTMAS WISHES

Stoughton Police Officers Head South

From Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine via Facebook: "As I have shed many tears of sorrow over the last several days, today I have shed many filled with hope, joy and pride as members of our department joined over 250 other officers from New England to hand carry hundreds of Christmas cards and gifts to little Nathan in Virginia, making the 12 hour ride to bring a moments happiness to a little boy with terminal cancer who's only Christmas wish was to receive cards from public safety people. I have never been so proud to wear my uniform as I was today. I am honored to know and work with all of you."

WATCH IT

(Photos courtesy of Stoughton Police Dept. Facebook page)


 

STAGNONE WON'T RUN,
RECUPERO WILL

Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Stagnone announced at the December 18, 2012 Board of Selectmen meeting that he would not seek re-election. Stagnone still will have a full plate. He is the President of Stoughton Media Access Corporation (SMAC) and is spearheading the effort to refurbish the State Theatre in Stoughton's downtown. He and his wife Roberta have signed a long-term lease with the theatre building's newest corporate owners, C & V Investment Realty Trust. He's formed a 501C3 non-profit to help to raise close to 1.5 million dollars needed for the total refurbishing. The organization, Friends of the State Theatre, already has a number of volunteers. This writer helped to compose the organization's Mission Statement.

Meanwhile, a prominent local attorney has thrown his hat in the ring. T.J. Recupero, who has an office on Turnpike Street, and lives in the Stoughton Junction condos downtown, wrote Snyder's Stoughton on the night of December 18:

"Today, I have decided to seek election to the Town of Stoughton Board of Selectmen.  Having lived in this community all of my life, and conducting business in this community for most of the last two decades, I have a fully vested interest in the efficiency of this town’s government and the success and prosperity of its citizens and businesspeople.  This is not intended as a commentary on any of the good men and women who have dedicated their time to the Board of Selectmen before me.   I only decided to take this step after I learned that Chairman John Stagnone had chosen not to seek reelection, leaving an open seat.  I have worked with and appeared before Chairman Stagnone, and I have always considered him a thoughtful, well-intended and energetic Selectman.  I thank him for his years of service to the Board of Selectmen and other boards and committees on which he has served.     

I have been a quiet observer of the operation of this town’s government over many years, going back to when my father, Dr. Thomas A. Recupero, was actively involved.   In my business, I have also compiled a fairly broad catalog of experience working within the government framework and administration of Stoughton and many other cities and towns across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   I think this affords me a unique perspective for the office I seek, and believe this is now an appropriate time to put that to use for the public good.

 I do not presume to have the answer to every issue facing this town, nor do I have any rigid agenda or allegiance to any particular constituency.  Rather, I will consider each issue on its own merit and use my own good judgment in every vote.   I expect that, when asked, I should be able to justify each vote with a reasoned response and with the good of the residents and businesspeople of the town in mind.  I also expect to see my share of disagreement, as it is the nature of elected office.   I will keep any and all disagreement respectful and always separate from personal relationships.   At the end of my three-year term, I hope and expect that I will still have the same friends I have now, and that I will have gained the respect of others who will understand that I will have done what I thought was best for the town and done so in a respectful and professional manner. As the campaign moves forward into 2013, I welcome the thoughts and support of the community, and look forward to being responsive to all. With these general principles in mind, I declare my candidacy to the Town of Stoughton Board of Selectmen."

Recupero said those interested in working on his campaign may contact him at recupero.selectmen@gmail.com or via phone at 781-341-1007.

 STAGNONE STORY ON PATCH

 


 

CRUISER HIT--No Serious Injuries

A high voltage transmission line (13,800 volts) came down across Parkview Ave. in Stoughton, a side street off Park St. near the Brockton line, shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, causing a small amount of power outages in the area, according to Captain Don Jasmin of the Stoughton Fire Department.

As crews from the Stoughton Fire Department were returning from the Parkview Ave. incident, they received a call at 6:13 p.m. for a motor vehicle accident at 1002 Park St. (about a half-mile away) involving a Stoughton Police cruiser and a pickup truck, Jasmin said.

The driver from both vehicles were each transported to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton. There were no other occupants.

A Stoughton Police cruiser, directing traffic near the Parkview Ave. incident, was hit by the truck, causing damage to the cruiser, and causing Officer John "Jay" Owens to "sustain minor injuries," according to SPD Executive Officer Robert Devine.

The operator of the truck was not seriously injured, according to Devine.

The police were there to direct traffic and to protect the public from a live wire that had reached the streets. Several crews from the utility companies were also on the scene.  

The Stoughton Fire Department received a call at 5:18 p.m. reporting wires down and a fire in the front yard of 19 Parkview Ave., Jasmin said.

The fire on the lawn was due to the high voltage transmission line coming down. The wire was blocking vehicle access to the street, so responders from the SFD had to walk in, Jasmin said. The fire knocked itself down thanks to the wet conditions, although the line was still active.

While some of the residents had already self-evacuated their homes, there was no damage to the homes on the street and there were no injuries, Jasmin said.

Power was knocked out in the Stoughton/Avon/Brockton area, however. According to the National Grid outage website, 156 customers lost power in that section of Stoughton, while 560 lost power in Avon, with another 726 customers losing power in Brockton.

Two Stoughton engines, a Stoughton ladder truck, a Stoughton ambulance and an Avon engine responded. National Grid was also on scene.

Jasmin said there is no known cause for why the transmission line came down. He said it was a major transmission line from a National Grid station located at the end of Parkview Ave.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY JEFF PICKETTE AND MARK SNYDER. On Stoughton Patch and Snyder's Stoughton. Photo by Mark Snyder

 


EXCLUSIVE: ROWE REQUESTS AUDIT OF SCHOOLS

 

On December 14, Town Accountant Bill Rowe informed the school department, through an email to School Finance Director Jessica Denison, that he would like to perform an audit of the school's payroll operation on Wednesday or Thursday this coming week. He said the request came as a result of "an unfortunate action on the part of selectmen", but that their "concerns are understandable given the continued refusal by the School Department to provide our office with certain employment contracts." He told Denison that Susan Herman and he would perform the audit, adding, "I will provide you a list on Monday of the preliminary information that we will need. Please let me know which day works best for you." Susan Herman is the Internal Auditor for the Town of Stoughton.

Rowe said that on December 13, Selectman Bob O'Regan asked him for an assertion that he had all the documentation to back up the numbers on the December 12/13 payroll warrant item on the Selectmen's agenda. In the letter, Rowe writes, "Unfortunately, since I was unable to provide him with that assertion, he refused to sign the warrant. Selectmen John Stagnone and John Anzivino had similar concerns. They did sign the warrant, but expressed reservations about future warrants. Selectmen Steve Anastos will not sign any warrants."

Rowe said that if the audit results are favorable, "it may help to mitigate some of the Selectmen's concerns about signing the warrants."

School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee says she has no reservations about a payroll audit. She tells me on Saturday, December 15, "It should be a normal procedure. It's a simple audit. It's a good practice that I assume is policy for all areas of town government." But, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi didn't seem to agree. She wrote Snyder's Stoughton, "This development is very sad and frustrating. Our attorneys will meet them at the door and be handling this matter. There are so many ways we could be working together for the good of the town."

School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, who made Snyder's Stoughton aware of the situation, wrote that he finds the disagreement between the school committee chair and the superintendent revealing. “Unless Rizzi is planning to go out and hire her own attorneys, she must be talking about the school committee attorneys. I am hoping the committee will no longer give the superintendent free and unlimited access to lawyers at the expense of Stoughton. My experience with the administration tells me that the internal checks and balances of the School Department are compromised. Selectmen, School committee, Town accountant, and treasurer are responsible for any misdeeds that may have occurred. Therefore, I applaud the Town Accountant’s initiative to perform an audit. No matter what the audit results are, I am hoping this humiliating experience will awaken the superintendent and my esteemed colleagues on the school committee.”

Selectman Chairman John Stagnone writes, "The Town Accountant and Internal Auditor responsibilities are to verify that the tax payers money is being spent and reported as approved by town meeting and in accordance with all State and Federal Laws. For the Town Accountant  and Internal Auditor to do their jobs they need to have a copy of all contracts, municipal and schools, they do not have all contracts from the school department. Hopefully copies are forth coming, because without them this issue does not go away no matter the out come of the audit. Once contracts are on file with the Town Accountant as required by law and the new payroll system is in place after the first of the year, audits can take place as part of routine review along with other accounts of the town, without the need to make an appointment. The Board of Selectmen have to sign off on all payments and we take this responsibility seriously. We rely on Town staff that each payment is made in accordance with all applicable laws."

Finally, Selectman John Anzivino added, "Mr. Rowe has my full support in obtaining the documentation necessary for his office to sign off on ANY warrant being submitted to the Board of Selectmen for signatures. Mr. Rowe made me aware of the payroll issue Thursday evening. I restated my opinion his signature on a warrant indicates to me his office has all supporting documentation for that warrant."

(Posted on December 15 @ 5 p.m. Updated at 10 p.m. Updated again on December 16 at 10:45 a.m. and at 12:45 p.m.)

SCHOOLS ISSUE "CLARIFICATION" ON DECEMBER 18, 2012

BOB O'REGAN'S STATEMENT OF DECEMBER 19, 2012


 

FAREWELL LUNCH FOR FEASTER

On Friday, December 14, 2012, Department Heads and some staff members of the Town of Stoughton took Interim Town Manager to lunch at The Chateau as a thank you for a job well done. Fun (and good food) was had by all.

(Photos by Mark Snyder)


 

Dr. Rizzi Speaks About Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

'The shootings today in Connecticut have hit the nation hard, and the impact is particularly hard for those of us in education who cannot help but think, 'Could this happen here, to us, to our schools, to our classrooms?'  I have already spoken to Police Chief Shastany and plan to convene the District Crisis Team as soon as possible next week.  We will review all of our plans and procedures and discuss what might be done to enhance or improve them.  The administration has already been looking at the new ALICE protocol, which is a slightly different approach to possible life threatening incidents.  We will be considering this along with all known options during our meetings in the early part of next week.  Our staff does a good job of keeping our students safe.  We will look again at all possible tools available to further support that effort."

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 10 p.m.

From Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey:

"Parents of young children, consider turning off your car radio and not putting the news on while your kids are in the house. Think through how your children will learn about this, and whether you want graphic news coverage to be how they learn. You can control this event in the life of your child, rather than letting the event control them."


SEEKING YOUR INPUT INTO CENTRAL STREET TRAFFIC WOES!

The Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC) is conducting a study of Central Street and Harrison Boulevard from Canton Street (Route 27) in Stoughton to the Route 28 at East and West Spring Street intersection in Avon over the course of the next nine months and seeks your participation.

The purpose of this study is to relieve traffic bottlenecks and to develop solutions to enhance traffic flow and improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

You are invited to participate in the discussion by filling out the OCPC's 2013 Major Bottleneck Analysis Study Survey at:  http://www.ocpcrpa.org/bottleneck_survey.html

For more information on these studies, please visit: http://www.ocpcrpa.org/bottleneck_studies.html

For questions and/ or comments, please contact:

 


 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER CRIES FOUL

 

School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural fired off a number of missives to the press, his fellow board members, the Selectmen, and others, but his biggest volley was addressed to Supt. of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi and Stoughton Schools Finance Director Jessica Denison. He wrote that he stumbled upon a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by accident on December 10. The letter, dated December 3, 2012, stated, in part, “We have not received your 2011-2012 End of Year Financial Report. While you may have been granted an extension, that extension has expired. If your completed report is not electronically submitted to us by December 17, 2012, we will be withholding 50% of your scheduled December Chapter 70 distribution, as well as your December Circuit Breaker Payment. We have tried to be sympathetic to local issues, but can no longer wait for this information.” It was signed by John J. Sullivan, Executive Director of School & Financial Support for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Dr. Ural wrote to Rizzi and Denison, “I am appalled that you failed to do your job by playing Russian roulette with our Chapter 70 and Circuit Breaker revenues. At the same time, you also failed to inform the School Committee members. Stoughton needs every penny of the aid to make ends meet. (As you are aware, the aid is in excess of 14 million dollars per year.) The Town pays the two of you professional salaries in excess of $270,000. In return, we need professional performance, please. I demand that you make the required submittal by December 17, and provide me with a copy of it.”

Dr. Rizzi told About Town that, “People are making a bigger deal with this than it is. It is a very complicated document. We always try to make the deadlines. It’s common to ask for deadline extensions. Jessica was late meeting the deadlines. But, we filed on Monday, December 10. The money was never in any danger. There was never a question we’d meet the December 17 final deadline. We were never at that point. It was kind of a routine exchange. The annual report and annual budget need to be done at the same time. We don’t need it to create the same type of burden it did this year. We do things well and efficiently. We’re always looking to put a better process in place. We won’t have this happen again next year. It’s never been an issue before. We have these types of dialogues all the time with the Department.”

School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee wasn’t pleased with Ural’s missive. She told About Town, “This is a mountain being made out of a molehill.  There was never any danger that money to the town would be lost. The annual report has been submitted and was filed yesterday (12/10). A copy is ready for the Superintendent and me to sign this afternoon (12/11). As a School District, we are constantly reviewing all our processes to make them perfect, and this is no exception to that standing rule. The report is complicated and a routine extension was asked for the way one asks for an extension on one's federal income tax filing. NO HARM WAS DONE, OR WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE, TO THE TOWN OR THE DISTRICT. The questions that I have are why Dr. Ural continues his non-stop campaign - through a stream of emails, letters and cable TV appearances - to denigrate the Stoughton School District, the School Committee, the Superintendent, and the achievements of our students and staff. Addressing his attacks, his snippets of misleading information, and the verbal abuse of the staff, the superintendent, the School Committee and myself costs me and the administration hours of valuable time that would be better used to move the School District forward. Well over $12,000 has been spent on attorney fees dealing with a stream of accusations by Dr. Ural. I spend hours each week, as does the superintendent, fending off these attacks. It is an enormous waste of everyone's time. It is easy to sit back and lob grenades, make mountains out of molehills, and criticize others. The hard work that so many people in our town take up involves developing positive ideas, and bringing them to fruition by collaborating with others to move Stoughton in a positive direction. My hope is that Dr. Ural would have pursued a positive course of action and better served the taxpayers, voters and students.”

But, Ural begs to differ with both. He says, “The point is we have professionals in charge, and this is fourteen million dollars of revenue. You’d think they’d submit it on time. The extension was taken and they missed that, too. The School Committee was never informed of it. I heard it was in the selectmen’s packets and got a copy of it. They keep serious things away from school committee members. I asked for a copy of the document when it was submitted. My job is to see that we meet deadlines and not jeopardize revenues. I’m still waiting for a copy of the document, as requested. As for the $12,000 in legal fees, I’ve asked for documents that support that figure. I’m not sure if it’s from old stuff when they were found to be breaking the law.”

Ural also told this columnist that the School Committee may have violated the open meeting law again at their December 11 meeting. He says, “That night, they changed the Superintendent’s and Assistant Superintendent’s contracts. They were entitled to $150 per year for travel in the contract. Dr. Rizzi has been drawing $150 per month. I asked her to reimburse the town on November 29 approximately $6,000 for what she has collected so far. They never replied to me. They also changed Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Ford’s contract from $150 per year to $150 per month. Ford’s contract was not even on the agenda. That violated the Open Meeting law. I said if they were going to change the contract, they must give something back. As a consideration for the change in contract, I asked that the words "mutually agreeable" be changed to "confer" or "consult." This conforms to the contract language recommended by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. Dr.Rizzi said she would not agree to that.”

School Committee member Tom Colburn, who negotiated Rizzi’s original contract as Assistant Superintendent when he chaired the School Committee, said that a $150 per month “stipend” for travel was negotiated and agreed to by both parties. He was shocked that the $150 per month negotiated deal was inadvertently listed as $150 per year. He tells About Town, “We were paying the intended amount. No one caught it. It slipped through that contract and subsequent ones. None of the Committee members or legal counsel noticed it. Claire McCarthy, the previous Superintendent, had the same $150 a month stipend. We corrected both contracts at our December 11 meeting to reflect the agreement we shook on. In order to adjust the contract to correct an unfortunate error, Dr. Ural wanted to use that opportunity to change the language of the contract. We should not parlay a clerical error into an advantage for the town.”

Ural also objected to what he said was the perception that “all the other school committee members came to the meeting and had talked to the school’s lawyer about it. The School Committee lawyer is supposed to protect the School Committee and the Town. In this case, it was the Superintendent that was protected." He said that the School Committee should look at what the Board of Selectmen did when they recently signed new Town Manager Michael Hartman to a contract. Ural, in figures he lists on his website (www.02072.org), contends that Hartman is to be paid $135,000 per year, with a 1-3% raise each year, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 1 personal day, 5 bereavement days, and unlimited use of town vehicle or $300 per month (town’s choice.) Ural says that Rizzi’s contract pays $168,500 per year, with 2.5% minimum raises each year, 25 vacation days, 20 sick days, 5 personal days, and 5 consecutive bereavement days. He adds that she gets up to 240 days of sick day accumulation. Hartman doesn’t get any. Ural adds, “Stoughton Taxpayers often complain about the high cost of Town employee benefits. It will be wonderful if the Town executives affect change by setting example. I am grateful to the Selectmen for starting such a great tradition. Hopefully, the Superintendent and the School Committee will follow suit.” (It should be noted that the previous Town Manager, Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. made $168,000 a year. Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. was paid a pro-rated $140,000 a year.)

Sovinee responds, “After several years of no raises, we looked at comparable positions in other towns, when we negotiated Dr. Rizzi's contract. We looked at how big the district is. We looked at her experience and the quality of her work. Dr. Rizzi was being actively recruited by other towns. We didn’t want to lose her. It doesn’t help to have high turnover in the top position in education in our town. She was the third superintendent in five year at the time. She has a vision for where she wants to take the school district. The vote was unanimous, and it was based on the data we examined. She is the CEO of a 38 million dollar corporation, with 600 employees, nearly 4000 students, and 81% of all the town’s buildings.”

I guess the thing that really disturbs me about this story is that a School Committee member seemingly has nothing good to say about our schools. His website is loaded with negativity. I think it’s healthy to have someone looking at things from a different perspective. Dr. Ural has shed light in some areas that needed to see daylight. But, beyond some of the troubles in our school system is the amazing success of many of its students. By denigrating the program, you take them all of them down. I know how great the school has been for my two chldren. My daughter just got a 3.5 at the University of Delaware in her first semester. The Stoughotn School system certainly played a part in it. My son graduates from college in May. Dr. Ural has two sons he adores. If he wants them to succeed, and keeps them in public schools, then he needs to spend his energy lifting the school’s up. By keeping the Committee on its toes, that can be a good thing. But, he needs to mix the negative with some positive feedback. Image is everything. If parents read negative comments about the schools from a school committee member, how enthused will they be to send their children here?

And, the school department should NEVER receive letters like that from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There’s really no excuse for missing not only a deadline, but an extension of that deadline. It’s something that needs to be addressed, and I'm glad that was recognzed as such by the powers that be..

There is much to be proud of in our schools, from some of the most amazing teachers, to some creative and effective administrators. But, as we all saw during the tragic loss of David Wade and Shayla Lutz, the students in our school system deserve our respect and support. The are the incredible ones. That’s the bottom line.

(Posted on December 12, 2012 @ 10 p.m.)

 

 


Arrest Made in Hit & Run on Park Street
that Injured Teen

The Stoughton Police Department has brought charges in the hit and run crash that injured a teen on December 8th on Park Street. Harry Minassian, 90, of 433 Lincoln St. Is being charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Personal Injury, Failure to Stay in Marked Lanes, Leaving the Scene of Property Damage and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

 

Original Patch Story


Stoughton Municipal Presentation
at School Committee Meeting
December 11, 2012

Watch It Here


SHOOTING DEATH OFFICIALLY RULED AN ACCIDENT

The investigation into the September 29, 2012 shooting death of David Wade in his Stoughton home has concluded that the shooting was accidental, the pistol was lawfully possessed and criminal charges are not warranted. Massachusetts State Police detectives attached to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s Office and Stoughton Police conducted the investigation, relying on the work of State Police Crimes Scene Services and Ballistics, the work of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the consistent cooperation of the Wade family, including the brother who accidentally shot him.

(posted on December 8, 2012 from a news release)


 

BIGGEST FLAGPOLE IN TOWN INSTALLED

It's Seventy Feet High!

You might have noticed a huge flagpole flying Old Glory at Evergreen Cemetery across from the Town Spa. It sits on the American Legion Post 89 lot at the military final resting place of so many Stoughton men and women. Rad Williams, President and Trustee of the Evergreen Cemetery Association, said many people worked on the project that culminated in the installation of the new flagpole and flag on December 1st. He particularly wanted to single out Bob and Bruce at Malby and Company for "all their assistance with this special project. We could not have accomplished all this work in such a short time had we not had their full commitment to see it through." A spotlight will be installed this week by National Grid so that the flag will be illuminated very soon.

Rad tells Snyder's Stoughton, "Until this new flag pole was installed the American Legion Post 89 had always maintained the pole and purchased flags for it as needed. This past Summer several members of the Evergreen Board of Trustees including myself met with some of the A.L.P.(American Legion Post) members on site. At that time we discussed lowering the original 60 ft. steel flag pole for the A.L.P. to allow them to clean, repair and paint it so that it could again fly a flag befitting its height once repaired. With membership at A.L.P. not being what it used to be of years past, they have very limited funds. So we, in addition to covering the cost of lowering and raising the pole, also offered to cover the cost of purchasing the larger American flag, and to continue doing so going forward for them. We left timing of repair to the A.L.P. membership and waited for them to contact us (Evergreen Cemetery Association) for the crane assistance."

He continued, "Not hearing anything in late September I reached out to those A.L.P. members again and they expressed concern over cost and man power to do the work. I assured them that the Trustees wanted to help and we would cover the cost to lower the pole and repair it. They gave us the green light to move forward and when I met with Bob Maltby on site we looked at the pole a little closer. It was showing signs of age and at that time Bob and I discussed not repairing it, but rather seeing if the E.C.A. trustees would entertain buying a new flagpole which would last and require little to no maintenance. Something, once installed that both Evergreen, A.L.P., and the Town would all be proud of having displayed. I got the consensus and approval from the E.C. A. Board of Trustees to move forward in the process and gather information on pricing and bids from flag companies and installers. After bringing all the information back to the E.C.A. Trustees, it was unanimously approved to allow me to move forward with the purchase and  installation of a new flag pole."

Williams said, "Bob Maltby and Bruce Maltby of Maltby and Company did all the heavy lifting for us (which was really the majority of the required work.) Canton Fence (Richard “Richie” Schiffer Jr.) ordered and stored the new flag parts from Eagle Flag Co for us until we required them. Stoughton Pumping Service (George “Rocky” Forger) excavated the area for us to prepare for the new ground sleeve. Boro Concrete of N. Attleboro came out and poured the concrete around the new pole sleeve for us. Charlie McCarthy (subcontracting for Eagle Flag Co. of Cohasset) was on site the day of install to help guide with the set-up of the new flagpole. As President of the E.C.A. Trustees, I coordinated everything and participated with Bob Maltby (Vice President of Trustees) to bring this to a successful conclusion. My son Matthew even joined us on this past snowy Saturday to help out with the installation of the new flagpole."

In the Spring, a base will be designed and it is hoped that it can be completed by Memorial Day. Also in the Spring, it is expected that a formal dedication ceremony will take place, hosted by the American Legion, with a plaque at the base of the flagpole. It's nice to see what individuals, organizations and companies can do when they work together---what a beautiful flagpole!

(Posted on December 5, 2012 @ 9:30 p.m.)


                                  John Batchelder, Rad Williams, James Williams Jr. and Bob Maltby                  Rad Williams, Charlie Wade, Bob Maltby, Hank Herbowy, Thomas Hunt

Charlie McCarthy, Rad Williams, James Williams Jr.                                          Matthew Williams, Charlie McCarthy, Rad Williams, and Bob Maltby

Eric Bucaria, Bob Maltby, Charlie McCarthy and Rad Williams                       Bob Maltby with the ball from the top of the pole

(photos by Hank Herbowy, bottom right by Rad Williams)

Watch the VIDEO!


STOUGHTON MUNICIPAL PROPOSED 2014 DRAFT BUDGET

STOUGHTON'S PLAN FOR FINANCIAL & CAPITOL PLANNING

STOUGHTON'S LOCAL ENERGY ACTION PLAN


Doherty Hired for Procurement

The Town of Stoughton has hired Maureen Doherty as their new Procurement Officer. The Mansfield resident comes to Stoughton from the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, where she was a Contract Specialist III. Maureen also worked as a Construction Project Manager in the Town of Sharon. Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. said, "We are fortunate to have attracted such a talented person as Maureen. She comes to us with a wealth of experience in purchasing, procurement, and construction and is a Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO)."

The former Procurement Officer, Lindsay Pope, left for a similar position closer to home. Her time here was marred by a procurement tug of war of the municipal side of government (led then by former Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr.) and the school department. Pope never had a chance.

(Posted on December 4, 2012 @ 3 p.m.)

 


CONLON: "PROFESSIONAL WETLAND SCIENTIST" DESIGNATION

James B. Conlon, Stoughton's Environmental Affairs Officer, was recognized by the Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program, Inc. with a Professional Wetland Scientist certification, which will be in effect until July, 2017. Stoughton's Interim Town Manager, Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., told Snyder's Stoughton, "It is a pleasure to have such a distinguished person employed by the Town of Stoughton. Jim has impressed me with his dedication and diligence in carrying out his responsibilities, so this certification simply acknowledges what I have witnessed."

Congratulations, Jim!


 

WARNING!!!

December 1st is an ominous time for Stoughton drivers. A town by-law created a "winter parking ban" that prohibits parking on the street overnight, from December 1st to April 1st. It doesn't matter if the streets are clear. Of course, the law was created to allow public safety officials to deal with snow, ice and other winter problems, without those pesky cars getting in the way. That's what the law was INTENDED to do.

But, what is does instead is create a revenue opportunity for the town. If your car (or one of your guest's cars) is on the street, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., then the Stoughton Police can leave a $15 ticket on the car, or even have it towed on the owner's dime. Now, if your car is parked on the street during a snowstorm, your goose is deservedly cooked. But, if it's a nice night, and there's no precipitation on the ground, then it's my opinion that the by-law need not be enforced. If it is, then isn't it just for revenue's sake? It's certainly NOT a safety issue. And, if you want to talk about enforcing bylaws, then you need to tag EVERY car on the street in EVERY part of Stoughton, not selectively enforced. And, I know one thing, the police have a LOT to do as it is. We shouldn't be sending them on a search for cars parked overnight, that are not creating any problems.

I'm not a big advocate for "breaking the law." Without law there is CHAOS. But, I think you get my drift on this one.

(Posted on November 30, 2012 @ 8:30 p.m.)

 


Chief Shastany is Back...Tackling Deputy Chief Position

Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany has had a tough few months. He underwent surgery on his back on August 21st, and has had a slow, painful recovery. He'll be returning to full time duty on Monday, December 3. The last Town Meeting voted to create the position of Deputy Police Chief, at the recommendation of Chief Shastany. Since then, the Board of Selectmen and Governor Deval Patrick have signed off, and the position is now officially created and waiting to be filled.

When asked about the process, Shastany told Snyder's Stoughton that only internal candidates from the Superior Officers Union will be considered. He will ask the Board of Selectmen to sign off on a Request for Proposal to hire a consultant to run a one-day assessment of persons who are interested in the position. "We'll require a letter of interest and a resume, and will have a list of requirements, including a college degree and commensurate experience. At the end of the process, it's hoped that the Consultants will bring their verdict to me, and hopefully, it will concur with my opinion. I have to be able to work with the person chosen, and trust them to be second in charge." The Board of Selectmen will make the final decision on who gets hired.

Shastany said he expected that a lot of people with knowledge and ability will apply for the job. "People think its a foregone conclusion already. It's not. There's a dynamic that the assessment tests reveal. I took one when I came on board here. I'm hoping to find someone to help the department continue to move forward, who is able to think on their feet, and respond as a leader. There are qualities that a traditional civil service test doesn't reveal---leadership, problem-solving, and consensus-building, for instance."

Shastany will invite letters and resumes when he gets back. That will start off the process. Meanwhile, there are clearly a number of experienced candidates in house, including Sgt. Tom Murphy, who was Acting Chief before Shastany was hired, and Lt. Robert Devine, who has been Executive Officer under Chief Shastany since his arrival. Other Lieutenants and Sergeants are also expected to apply.

(Posted on November 29, 2012 @ 4:45 p.m.)

 


 

STOUGHTON MOURNS LOSS OF BELOVED TEACHER

Marilyn Fiske, a reading teacher at the Gibbons School, unexpectedly passed away on November 22.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi wrote, "Marilyn has been a reading teacher for the Stoughton Public Schools for over 27 years.  During her tenure, she served as a remedial teacher in the summer school program, served on curriculum review committees, as well as volunteered as a mentor in our new teacher mentoring program." Gibbons School principal Lynn Jardin told About Town, "There aren't enough words to describe her.  She was an amazing person. There was no child she didn't touch. She always had a smile on her face and a positive attitude. She really got kids. They were her heart and soul.  Her own children and grand children were her priority."  Jardin added, "She was part of the fabric of this school.  It wasn't just at the Gibbons.  She was at the Jones, and worked with fellow reading teachers.  As much as she helped children, she really enjoyed them.  She brought them to life. You could always see her sharing a laugh with the kids. She touched every staff member in her own way. They all have some type of connection with her. She was the first person to ask about others, and try to soothe people. She really was the life of the party. She will be sorely missed and never forgotten." 

 

Marilyn was a graduate of St. Mary's High School, Lynn, Class of 1964. She went on to study at Emmanuel College and received a Master's Degree in Reading from Northeastern University.  According to her obituary, "Her greatest joy came from her two granddaughters, Ema & Bella Fiske. In addition to her mother and granddaughters, Marilyn is survived by her son, Daren Fiske and his wife Sarah, and her daughter Jamie Fiske.


Stacey Gay-Teixeira, a Gibbons School parent, wrote, "She was one of the kindest, most generous woman. She will be missed by all. Thoughts and prayers to all of her family and friends."  Carol Siegel, a former North School (Dawe) parent, adds, "She made each of her students feel special. Because she paid so much attention to them, they paid attention to her. In addition to being an outstanding teacher, the efforts her husband and Marilyn made to save their baby daughter, Jamie, when she needed a liver transplant have touched us all. Because of their efforts, Jamie survived, and transplant legislation was created to help others. My heart goes out to her family, school, and all the hundreds of children who learned to read because of her efforts."

 Marilyn's Wake will be held on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 from 2- 4 p.m. and from 6-9 p.m. at Cuffe-McGinn Funeral Home, 167 Maple Street, in Lynn.  The funeral is Wednesday, November 28 at 11 a.m. at Cuffe-McGinn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:The Mrs. Fiske Reading Fund, c/o Lynne Jardin, Joseph H. Gibbons Elementary School, 235 Morton Street, Stoughton, MA  02072.  Checks may be made payable to "The Mrs. Fiske Reading Fund."

Marilyn leaves many friends behind, both teachers, parents, administrators and staff.  But, most of all, she leaves the thousands of students that she connected with, and enabled the gift of reading. 

 


REVEREND JEFF LEAVING FIRST PARISH

Reverend Jeffrey Symynkywicz announced recently to his congregation at the First Parish Universalist Church of Stoughton that he will be retiring from the Unitarian Universalist ministry as of the summer of 2013, and will resign his position as Minister of First Parish as of August 31, 2013.

Symynkywicz, who has the most difficult name I’ve learned to spell (I prefer Rev. Jeff), has been one of the most active members of the Stoughton Clergy Association, and has presided over a period of growth and energy at First Parish. Symynkywicz, an avowed liberal, wrote on November 14, in part, “ After long and careful consideration, I have decided that I will retire from the Unitarian Universalist ministry, as of the end of this church year. Therefore, I am announcing my resignation as Minister of First Parish Universalist Church, effective August 31, 2013. I believe that the time has come for me to enter a new stage of my spiritual and professional journey. I also believe that First Parish can benefit greatly from this change in professional leadership. I look forward to continuing my active ministry with you for the remainder of this church year.

Please accept my deepest gratitude for the support you have shown me and my family over the past nineteen years. You will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Symynkywicz , when asked by Snyder's Stoughton what the future holds, wrote,

“My plans are still pretty indefinite at this point. I want to explore possibilities in writing and teaching, maybe some other areas as well. But nothing is nailed down yet. I'm confident that things will turn out all right, even if I have to piece several different things together, as people do these days.” Rev. Jeff was well known as the author of books on Bruce Springsteen. He appeared on Snyder’s Stoughton TV Show in a Springsteen segment.

He added, “We're not sure where we will end up, though my guess is that we won't be going too far. It might not be Stoughton, but it could well be close-by. In all probability, somewhere between Providence and Boston, though we would move further away if something lucrative and interesting came along. “

Reverend Jean Lenk of The First Congregational Church of Stoughton, and Immediate Past President of the Stoughton Clergy Association, told me, “Jeff has been the most wonderful and gracious colleague in my eight years in this town. He was the first one to greet me when I came to Stoughton. He has been there with humor, wisdom, and astute observation. He’s been a great joy to call colleague, and I will miss him terribly.”

We wish Reverend Jeff a lot of happiness and success in his future endeavors.

 


 

DPW INSTALLING CULVERT ON PRATT'S COURT

The Public Works Department has saved the Town of Stoughton a TON of money by installing three culverts in town. It all started with the collapse of a part of Bay Road a few years ago. There was a crisis,as the busy road was forced to be closed, and the costs to repair it were estimated at a million dollars. At the same time, the Town of Sharon was threatening to sue Stoughton if it wasn't fixed in an expedient way. The solution? Our own Department of Public Works installed a new culvert at a fraction of the previously-estimated cost. Now, they are installing a culvert at Pratts Court.  It is the third culvert in three years that the DPW has taken care of, at great savings to the town.  The Pratts culvert is 20 linear feet, of 14' span by 8.5' rise bottomless box culvert.  This heavy construction project has many unique details and regulatory conditions. Superintendent of the Department of Public Works John Batchelder tells Snyder's Stoughton, "I would like to thank the members of the department who installed and worked behind the scenes to make this possible. There is still much work to be done at Pratts Court."

(Courtesy photos from Stoughton DPW) (Posted on November 21, 2012 @ 4:30 p.m.)

 


STOUGHTON MAN SHOT IN BROCKTON

Early Sunday morning, Stoughton High 1996 graduate Marvin Pardo was shot in the vestibule of his apartment in Madrid Square early Sunday morning in Brockton, according to a report in the Enterprise. The Brockton Police tell Snyder's Stoughton the shooting is still under investigation, and no suspects are yet under arrest. The Detective's Bureau told me that the Plymouth County DA's Office is investigating the shooting. We called D.A. Cruz and will post when we hear any updates in the investigation.

Pardy grew up in the Gibbons school area of town, and attended that school. He was a basketball player on the SHS varsity squad, and as a senior, was picked fcor the Patriot Ledger All Scholastic Team. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth for a year, before exploring his true love--computers. Pardo worked for Wizard Computer Services in Stoughton.

According to his obituary, he is survived by his beloved daughters, Aryana and Odeijah; his parents, Daniel M. Pardo and Marie Anne (Raphael) Pardo; his sisters, Gabrielle Abelard and her husband Riccardo and Danushca Pardo; and his nieces and nephew, Alixandria Abelard, Riccardo J. Abelard and Anjolie Abelard. Gabrielle is one of my neighbors here in Tanglewood. Her home has been filled with visitors the past couple of days. Snyder's Stoughton sends her and her family our deepest condolences on the loss of her brother.

Funeral services will be held at the Russell & Pica Funeral Home, 165 Belmont St. in Brockton, Saturday, Nov. 24 at 9 a.m. Interment will follow in Melrose Cemetery in Brockton. Visiting hours will be held the evening before, Friday, Nov. 23, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Russell & Pica Funeral Home.

(photo via Facebook.)


 

23% of Stoughton Home Mortgages "Underwater"

Stoughton has 1,282 homes that are valued less than their mortgage. The "underwater" report comes from Zillow.com, which estimates that about 23% of all owner-occupied singles homes in Stoughton are "underwater."   In contrast, 46% of Brockton homes are "underwater." Randolph is at 35.9% and Holbrook at 27.5%. On the flip side, Sharon has 9%, Walpole is 11%, Canton is 13%, and Easton is 15%

 


I.C.E. Fines Stoughton Company

Following an investigation and audit of Form I-9 documents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), 17 Massachusetts employers were fined a total of $349,619.54 in fiscal year (FY) 2012 for various employment violations. The inspection of the employers' documents is part of HSI's worksite enforcement strategy that launched in 2009 to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce. This strategy focuses agency resources on the investigation and audit of employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces by hiring workers who are not authorized to work.

Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire. This form requires employers to review and record the individual's identity and employment eligibility document(s) and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the individual. Additionally, an employer must ensure that the employee provides certain information regarding his or her eligibility to work, on the Form I-9.

Fines in Massachusetts in FY 2012 include:

"These settlements serve as a reminder to employers that HSI will continue to hold them accountable for hiring and maintaining a legal and compliant workforce," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. "We encourage employers to take the employment verification process seriously, as we expand the number of audits we are conducting throughout Massachusetts each year. My agency will continue to focus its attention on employers that are knowingly employing illegal workers and will continue to target specific industries and businesses known or alleged to hire illegals."

During FY 2012, HSI conducted 35 inspections of employers' I-9 documents in Massachusetts, an increase over the 30 inspections conducted in FY 2011, 20 in FY 2010 and 17 in FY 2009.

Samar CO Inc in Stoughton, MA is a private company which is listed under "rubber hose" in online directories. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $5 to 10 million and employs a staff of 20 to 49. The CEO of Somar Company is William Selby of Stoughton. Snyder's Stoughton left messages for Bill, and his daughter Marissa, who handles marketing and PR for the firm.

(information provided by ICE)


EXCLUSIVE....

WHERE'S THE GAS? THE SHELL GAME

The Snyder's Stoughton email box and Facebook private message file has been clogged with requests from readers to try to find out just what is going on at local Shell Service Stations. For instance, the one located near me on Central Street, almost at the Avon line, hasn't sold gas in a couple of months. When i ask the clerk there, what's going on, he groans, "soon." They still sell soda and newspapers, and do car repairs there. There's a similar situation at the one in Cobb's Corner, at the Stoughton/Sharon/Canton line. So, I tried to reach official spokepeople, and they were all tied up making excuses for the lack of deliveries to New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

So, I called Marvin Odum, the President of Shell Oil directly. After a few messages were left, I did hear from someone in "The Office of the President." They sent me an email telling me they were doing the best they could to get supplies to New Jersey and New York. Then, someone from that office kindly followed up, and I explained that i was calling from the South of Boston, and wanted information specifically about Stoughton. (Snyder's New York just doesn't have the same kind of ring to it, does it?) Eventually, he called me back and explained the situation. Via email, David, the man from the Office of the President, wrote, "Pursuant to your original call and inquiry as to why there are no Shell retail stations with available fuel stock, in the Boston-Stoughton area, the wholesaler contracted to this dealership is making a legal attempt to take possession of numerous stations from an indebted proprietor. The court system delays and litigation procedures are contributing to the untimely outage of fuel at these siter."

Anotherwords, the owner of all these gas stations went belly up, and he owes his gas supplier a ton of money. So, the supplier is trying to get ownership of all these stations, in lieu of the money. Meanwhile, customers continue to pull up to gas, and figure out there is none. Are they mad at the bankrupt owner? No. They're peeved at Shell Oil, whose name is on the big sign.

The owner of many of these gas stations is Ghazi Saab, a native of Lebanon, who resides in Sharon. He purchased his first gas station at age 25, and has built a large stable of stations. Calls to his home resulted in a recording which said, "The caller at this number is no longer taking calls at this time." The wholesaler who is owed all the money is Colbea Enterprises LLC of Rhode Island. A half dozen calls made to Operations Officer Tom Cosgrove on Tuesday and Wednesday seeking comment were not returned. So, it appears the Shell game will go on. No gas for you!

 

(C) 2012 by PMPNetwork.com/Snyderstoughton.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

(Photo and story by Mark Snyder.


NORFOLK COUNTY D.A. HELPS CLERGY FIGHT ABUSE

 

More than sixty clergy members from across Norfolk County, including Rev. Jean Lenk from the First Congregational Church, Rev. Stanley Schultz from Faith Baptist and Temple Sinai of Sharon Rabbi Joseph Meszler, attended a training session hosted by Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey this week to learn how best to recognize even subtle signs of domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse – and how to tap into the right resources when a member of their congregations needs help.

“Responsible citizens and community leaders are often the best partners law enforcement can have,” District Attorney Morrissey said after the half-day seminar, which was held at Lombardo’s in Randolph. “The best resources are meaningless if they are not put to work, and it is often leaders like members of the clergy who are best positioned to see where help is needed.”

     Speakers addressing the signs of domestic violence, and how clergy can best support victims, were Erin Miller from Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Jennifer Yerdon from DOVE. Kris Klasby from South Shore Mental Health talked about clues that a child may be suffering child sexual abuse, and how clergy can respond. State Police Sgt. Dave McSweeney, who supervises computer forensic investigations for the DA’s office presented on how technology can be used to groom and exploit victims.  His suggestions will help make the religious community aware of steps they can take to protect their congregations.

      Assistant District Attorney Phil Burr, Tze-Wan Stern from South Shore Elder Services and State Police Sgt. Tim Grant from the Disabled Persons Protection Commission explored elder abuse, the abuse of the disabled and financial exploitation. Assistant District Attorney Anne Yas moderated and ADA Michele Armour, who heads Morrissey’s Family Violence/Special Victims Unit, gave a presentation on the group’s obligations as mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse.  She was joined by Susan Devine, Regional Counsel for the Department of Children and Families.

   “There is often a barrier to asking for help in elder abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse – that is something the abuser and victimizer counts on,” Morrissey said. “The trust that your congregations have in you make you powerful voices in their decisions to ask for help. It is our hope today to provide you with all that we can to make your counsel to those people as informed and effective as possible.” Morrissey thanked all those who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in this valuable training.

 

 (POsted on November 13, 2012. Information provided by D.A. Morrissey's office.)

 


Easton's Former Carriage House Restaurant Burns

The long-closed Carriage House Restaurant had a fire on the morning of November 13 that required mutual aid from area towns. According to a Facebook post by Firefighter/EMT Scott Mellyn, crews from Easton, Norton, Stoughton, Bridgewater, W Bridgewater, and Raynham were on the scene. Firefighters say there is not much left of the building. Happily, no firefighters were injured in fighting the blaze.

(top photo by Scott Mellyn via Facebook. bottom by FF/EMT Jeff Ledin via FB)


 

JAKES WAYBACK BURGERS OPENS IN STOUGHTON

Jake's Wayback Burgers has opened at the corner of Washington Street and Central Street, in the building last occupied by Zoots Dry Cleaning. The cozy restaurant features music, fresh cooked food, and a friendly atmosphere. It is owned by the Lopes family of Stoughton. Owner Amantino Lopes told Snyder's Stoughton that he was very happy to finally be open. He credited the accomodating employees of the Town of Stoughton. "It took us about two months after filing all our paperwork. The inspections were sometimes done within an hour of requesting them. The fire department and health department have been great to us." Lopes says he invested $250,000 into the business, adding, "It's really an investment in the community." To that end, Lopes said he will be doing fundraisers for nonprofit groups, taking some nights and donating a portion of the receipts to the organizations. With hours that run from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (and 10:30- 9 p.m. on Sundays), Lopes is relying on the top-notch management team he has put together. His two assistant managers are Constance "Connie" Benson of Holbrook, who brings five years of experience at Dunkin Donuts and eight years at Bickford Restaurants to the table; and Craig Beaulieu, who has restaurant chain experience, but is best known as Mr. Beaulieu, a science teacher at Stoughton High. Training the 17 employees (Lopes hopes to add five more) has been Mark Biccum, a Corporate Field Trainer out of Jake's corporate headquarters in Cheshire, CT.

Lopes is hoping that the Jake's Wayback formula will be a hit in Stoughton. "Everything here is cooked to order. We don't freeze food here, except ther chicken tenders.The shakes are a big seller." The menu offers Burgers (from 1-3 patties), milk shakes and malted shakes (lots of flavors), quality hot dogs, specialty sandwiches (like turkey burgers, garden burgers, B.L.T., and grilled cheese. There are garden and caesar salads, home style chili, onion rings, french fries, and house made potato chips. Kids meals are available for $4.49 with burger, hot dog, grilled cheese or chicken fingers, with fries and a drink. Burgers range from $3.49-$6.89, hot dogs from $2.99-$3.99, and specialty sandwiches from $2.49-$4.89.

Jake’s Wayback Burgers was founded in 1991 by John Carter as Jake's Hamburgers with a single restaurant in Newark, Del. (which still occupies its original location on Route 273.) Home to the University of Delaware, Newark is also known for its automotive plants and Main Street shopping district. A simple, unassuming burger joint, Jake's soon spread to several locations and was home to one of the region's favorite burgers. Delivering the freshest, most delicious food possible was Jake’s only philosophy, according to its website. This is the third location in Massachusetts.

The crowd at Thursday's soft opening enjoyed the food. Spotting in the crowd was Brian Ballou of the Boston Globe, Christine Lott, CEO of Christine Cares, which has opened a church and school in Tanzania, Bernie Planeta of Planet Security (which protects Jake's), and many members of the Stoughton Fire Department and Stoughton High football team.

Snyder's Stoughton wishes the Lopes Family much luck in their new venture. After all, they are neighbors and friends!



Story and Photos by Mark Snyder

(Top left: Owner Amantino Lopes, cashier Ilanna Schlehuber, and Corporate Trainer Mark Biccum. Top right: The Baugh family. Bacon Burger and Fries and Cheese Dog with BBQ chips. Middle left: assistant manager Connie Benson with Lopes. Middle right: Bernie Planeta, center, discusses security at Jake's. Bottom left, the cashiers mug for the Snyder's Stoughton camera.

(c) 2012 by PMPNetwork, Inc./SnydersStoughton.com


 


Stoughton Mourns the Passing of Anne Havlin

Full Story


Red Cross Volunteers Deployed after Hurricane Sandy

  

American Red Cross volunteers from Eastern Massachusetts, after working in our communities during Hurricane Sandy, are accepting deployments to states and regions devastated by the superstorm. Tom Grimsley of Stoughton , who specializes in staffing, has been deployed to New Jersey. The staffing specialist makes sure volunteers are appropriately assigned to specific duties. This specialist provides services to all staff, including lodging and travel arrangements. During Hurricane Sandy in Massachusetts, Grimsley was the medical lead ensuring the safety of Red Crossers and the guests in our shelters during our local response. The American Red Cross has mobilized more than 5,000 disaster workers from all over the country who have served more than 1 million meals and snacks so far. We have also activated more than 320 response vehicles and handed out more than 60,000 relief items. Tom Grimsley , in accepting this deployment, is gaining experience working with Red Cross experts throughout the U.S. When he returns to Massachusetts, his knowledge will help better inform our efforts, and help make our local region stronger.

Many in our community want to know how to help. They could train to become disaster volunteers, or fund this long-term relief effort by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or visiting RedCross.Org.


Stoughton Police Foil November 2 Robbery

(Story)


Hartman Signed, Starts December 17
Feaster to remain until end of the year....

Patch Story

(Mark Snyder photo)


School Department's Presentation
to the Board of Selectmen


October 30, 2012

Watch It Here

(Photos by Mark Snyder)


Stoughton's Emergency Team Holds Press Briefing

Stoughton's emergency team, helmed by Acting Deputy Fire Chief Greg Goldberg, held a press conference to discuss the latest on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As this is written, over 2000 Stoughton households have no power. Debby Casna, a member of Stoughton's emergency team, and liasson for National Grid, explained that 72 substations (feeders) were having trouble after damage from Hurricane Sandy. Two of those substations---one to the north and one to the south--feed Stoughton. "There are safety issues involved. We know that repairs may cause inconvenience, but our priority is safety. National Grid's liasson will remain with us until the last home is restored," Lt. Goldberg said. National Grid had estimated that every home in Stoughton would be restored within 72 hours. Even a few hours after the news conference, the electric company had reported that outages had been restored already for about a third of those that lost power Monday.

Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. said that "to watch Lt. Goldberg take on such responsibilities with such short notice, and do such a great job, was gratifying." Goldberg, however, thanked the team. "A lot of training, preparation, and hard work by a lot of people were needed to assure the safety of Stoughton residents. Prior to the storm, the fire and departments, the school department, the DPW, and the Town Manager kept in close contact. We added additional manpower, going from our normal nine man to a 22 man fire and EMS force. All of us met in the emergency operations center (inside fire station #2) on Monday morning, together with Debby Casna from National Grid. We huddled in the room, took a conference call with National Grid, and MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency).

Goldberg said that the fire department was inundated with 9-1-1 calls, and that 48 incidents were reported during the storm. Police Chief Paul Shastany said his department had trained for the event. "We had to wait for the 9-1-1 calls before we could do the needed work. Officers were placed in the community, and an extra dispatcher was added. There were 95 calls for service during the storm, and several arrests. All of our officers performed well under the storm conditions. Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine said that social networking had played a key role in letting residents know what was going on. "Letting the 2100 Stoughton Police and the 2500 Stoughton Fire followers on Facebook know what was happening in the storm reduced our non-emergency calls to 9-1-1."

Superintendent John Batchelder said the Department of Public Works had twenty employees working until close to midnight on Monday. "We work well together on a regular basis. We, as department heads, tried to stay on top of the issues. We picked up rubbish yesterday and today. We had people working on trees, flooding, and other storm damage. We hope this event will remind people to keep the drains in front of their homes free of leaves and other debis."

The DPW is helping the residents in another way, as well. In order to aid homeowners in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Public Works Department will have the Gay Street storage yard (behind Meads Meadow, diagonally across from Town Spa) open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 3rd. This will be the only day and only means for disposal of brush and branches.

Interm Town Manager Feaster said that the town's residents "were in good hands during Hurricane Sandy." As for the actions of National Grid, Executive Officer Devine said, "It was night and day since last August." Added Batchelder, National Grid was asked to get York Street (with a pumping station and a hospital) back up, and the South School (which was out early Tuesday morning), and they got them both back up quickly." Feaster added, "There was a coordinated effort through the National Grid 800#. It was a much more efficient way to deploy resources." Goldberg also added, "We're depending on mutual aide. But, everyone had the same event going on. This is why we have backup apparatus, and why we more than doubled our manpower."

 


(Photos by Mark Snyder. Posted October 30, 2012 @ 3:30 p.m.)


 

Stoughton Fire Department Salutes
the late Chief Paul Roach

(photos courtesy of Stoughton FD Facebook Page)



FF Scott Mellyn photo on Rayburn Road.
This is what greeted Stoughton Fire Engine 2

HURRICANE SANDY WAS HERE--Scattered Power Outages Reported

National Grid waiting for high winds to cease before they put crews in lift trucks for assessment purposes. NG Spokesman promises that restoration should be done by late Tuesday or early Wednesday, barring unforseen circumstances. SCHOOL & TOWN HALL WILL REOPEN ON Tuesday, October 30. Thanks to the DPW, Police and Fire Employees who worked Monday under horrid conditions for all of us!

Tuesday Commuter Alert from Jill Somers of the Stoughton Energy & Sustainability Committee: "The Providence/Stoughton Line will be suspended between Wickford Junction and Mansfield Stations due to downed trees and power lines. All trains will originate at Mansfield Station. A shuttle train will run between Stoughton and Canton Junction to make mainline connection. Customers requiring service to Boston are encouraged to park at Route 128 Station for service to Boston - South Station. It costs $7.00 to park at RT. 128 station."

  • National Grid Customers report outages by calling 1-800-322-3223 or 1-800-465-1212
  • Contact verizon and comcast at 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) or 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)

If you are on Oxygen and lose power to your oxygen concentrator:

  • Use a back up oxygen tank
  • Call the Fire Department before you run out of oxygen.

Message from The Stoughton Fire & Police Departments

  • In the event of a major influx of calls, calls will be prioritized by degree of urgency and life threat which may cause a delay in response
  • The Large scope of the storm will limit the ability of Fire Department mutual aid by other communities as they may also be dealing with a high volume of calls

Message From The Department of Public Works

  • Rubbish pick up for Monday October 29, 2012 will be on the Holiday Schedule. Have Rubbish out by 7 a.m. to guarantee pick up
  • Clean catch basins near your home before storm starts
  • Call the DPW during the storm for the following issues: flooding of Small streams or catch basins and downed trees
  • DPW Contact Info - 781-344-2112 or 781-341-1300 x9312

The FEMA smartphone app provides safety tips and displays open shelter information at www.fema.gov/smartphone-app. To find an open Red Cross shelter, download the Red Cross Hurricane app or visit redcross.org.


STANKIEWICZ FINALIST FOR WELLFLEET JOB

Former Stoughton Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz is among the Final Four for the job as Town Administrator for Wellfleet on Cape Cod. But, Mark is up against a bit of a political tide in this tony town. Two of the other finalists have strong connections to Wellfleet. Timothy King (the current assistant town administrator) and Harry Terkanian (the former town moderator) also made the cut, along with North Branford, CT Interim Town Manager Bonnie Therrien.

Stankiewicz was most recently Town Manager in Plymouth, the largest town in the State of Massachusetts. He has 25 years of municipal management experience in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and he holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees.


(Posted on October 28, 2012. Photo by Mark Snyder)


STEINBERG BROTHERS TAKE THE STAGE



Robbie and Danny Steinberg of Stoughton have followed their dreams, and they led to the same places---Thayer Academy, Brandeis University and the Stages at both schools. Nancy Steinberg, their mom, told Snyder's Stoughton that both were interested in theatre from a young age, but when they arrived at Thayer Academy it just took off. She tells me, "Music and theatre became a significant part of their lives. Thayer has a tremendous performing arts program that we had the pleasure of watching grow over the years." In the Fall of 2008, Thayer completed their new state-of-the-art Center for the Arts, just in time for an inaugural concert featuring Aerosmith's frontman, Steve Tyler. Nancy said that Robbie spent every weekend, and Danny most weekends, working with Brooks Donnelly, a Stoughton resident-- and Thayer teacher, coach, and technical director--installing the lights in the new theatre.

Robbie started his theatre "career" at Thayer on stage, but soon realized his passion was behind the scenes. Donnelly saw Robbie's interest and worked with him over the years, teaching him about lighting, sound, set-building, and all the great things that go one behind the scenes, before, during, and after the action takes place on stage. Danny's interest was more for the on-stage work, but like all thespians, he discovered that everyone is expected to learn what goes on behind the stage, and to lend a hand with things like set building. Danny would regularly help in that regard, even after he graduated. They both participated in something known as "strike", which is taking the set apart, after every show they did.

When Robbie arrived at Brandeis University, he discovered that his technical knowledge was a great foundation for becoming involved in the Undergraduate Theatre Collection (UTC), a student run, theatre performance group on campus. Now, Robbie and Danny are are currently involved in UTC productions. Robbie is behind the scenes designing the lighting to put the actors in their best light, and Danny is in the spotlight, singing and dancing.

Robbie just completed his latest work, as lighting designer on a production of "Metamorphoses," which finished its run on October 28. Now, Robbie is lighting designer for the production of "Bat Boy: The Musical", which runs from November 8-11 at Brandeis. Danny plays Dr. Parker in the musical, which was inspired by a Weekly World News 1992 story about Bat Boy, a half-boy, half-bat found living in a cave. It inspired writers Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming to write a stage adaptation. They were joined by American composer/lyricist Laurence O'Keefe and their first production premiered on Halloween, 1997.

Donnelly said that right after the new performing arts center was built, that Robbie was a huge part of the beginnings of the program. "He helped build the lighting, and asked a lot of questions. He helped put up over 200 lights, and learned to know exaclty what each did. When he was a senior, he did the lighting for us. When he got to Brandeis, he did their lighting. He was my right hand man. He's very talented," he told Snyder's Stoughton. As for Danny, "He was the younger brother for awhile that got roped into hanging out. He was interested in putting stuff together, as far as lights and the sets. But, he found it much more fun to be on stage. He developed his singing and dancing talents and went onto Brandeis. In his first year there, he had big parts in their productions."

Donnelly add that, "Both were a big part of our theatre programs in lots of different ways. They were there since the beginning and made it work." He explained that on the old stage, there was no room for building. So, five years ago, when the new building came, they were able to take their productions to a higher level. Brooks, who is in his tenth year at Thayer, said that Robbie has truly excelled at lighting, "far more so than anyone I've ever worked with. He's taken on an understanding of the principles of lighting, of why it works or doesn't work. He's a real student of lighting, and I haven't had any like that in my time." As for the Steinberg brothers, Donnelly told me, "You couldn't ask for two more rersponsible and capable kids in terms of stepping up and being there. Just great kids."

In an interview Robbie said that he plans to continue keeping his hand in theatre after graduation. Could he make it a career? "I want to continue this in my life after college, even if it’s only part-time or volunteer work like community theatre. If I get to the point where I think I can make enough money from this to be successful, I would consider making this into a career. Right now, I just want it to stay a part of my life for many more years to come, " he told me.

As someone once said, “Theater is life. Film is art. Television is furniture.”

(Draft version posted on October 28, 2012 at 8 am. Updated at 12:25 p.m.) In courtesy photos above, at left Danny Steinberg, in center, plays Linus in "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown". Robbie, right, with his lighting set.

 


TOWN HALL SPORTING A NEW ROOF

It was well worth the wait. Stoughton's historic Town Hall is now sporting a new slate roof that should last longer than any child born today will live. Michael Flaherty, Senior Project Manager from Russo-Barr Associates, the engineers, as well as Michael Meadows, manager of Meadows Construction Company, which did the construction, proudly showed off their work Friday morning. They finished early, and on budget. Both said that along the way, they made a couple of small, but necessary changes, which added about $17,000 in costs, bringing the project to around $400,000. "We added extra snow fencing on four sides (which prevents large clumps of ice or snow from falling off the building to the street below), lead coated downspouts ($7000), and carpentry to replace rotted wood boards," Meadows told Snyder's Stoughton. Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. took a ride in the Meadows Construction scoop to look over the roof work at about fifty feet up. Snyder's Stoughton, with his fear of heights, went up eighty feet in the shaky pail, and snapped the photos you see.

The Town Hall Committee, which oversaw the project, deserves some kudos. Bob Grover was Chairman, and was joined by building commissioner Tom McGrath, town engineer Ben Fehan, and members (and builders) Steve Bates and Nelson Rodrigues.

The project was funded by $374,000 from 2010 Town Meeting, and an additional $100,00 from the Community Preservation Act funds, approved at 2012 Town Meeting. The project, which began in mid-July, was completed on October 26.


John Mulder of Meadows Construction gives Acting Town Manager Joe Feaster a lift!

 


Bob Grover with Michael Meadows.              Michael Flaherty with Ass't Town Engineer
                                                                  Marc Tisdell.


Intrepid Reporter Eighty Feet Up.

(Photos by Mark Snyder. Story posted October 26, 2012 at noon)

 


Community Preservation Committee
--lots of seats open

What if they held a public hearing and the public didn't show up? Would it still be heard?  What is the sound of one hand clapping?  The Community Preservation Committee held a public hearing last night at 7 p.m. to "receive public comments regarding the needs, possibilities, and resources of the town regarding community preservation."  Then, at 7:30 p.m., they were having another public hearing "to receive comments from the public regarding the Draft Community Preservation Plan."  They never sent the plan to the press.  But, they posted an ad in the Pennysaver, that gave online directions to click here, then click there, and then click there, on the town website to see the PDF of the plan.  They also had copies (not to be taken---to be VIEWED) at the library, town hall, historical society and senior center. 

Personally, without a copy in my hand, I was unable to give any input.  Since the "crowd" consisted of five people (including selectwoman Cynthia Walsh and myself), it might have been a smart idea to at least print up copies for all of us, so we could intelligently discuss the Plan.   Perhaps, a synopsis could have been distributed widely before the meeting.  But, when the media isn't involved in promotion of things here, they usually don't fly.  Hence, empty rooms.  Look at the Master Plan event that attracted over 100 people. It was well-publicized.

Chairman John Morton explained every detail of the Committee's charge to those in the audience.  Two members of the First United Methodist Church were there to try to obtain funds to help repair the 200 year old church, which is now in disrepair.  SPC Member Dwight MacKerron of the Historical Society, and Vice Chair of the CPC, explained that they needed to bring their plans first to the Historical Commission for initial approval.  Then, Morton said, if approved there, they could bring it to a meeting of the Community Preservation Committee.  If approved by them, then it would go to Town Meeting for final approval.

Walsh expressed concern about both affordable housing and affordable senior housing.  "We have affordable housing that is coming out of the category. I think your committee should be investing in preserving affordable housing. We'd like to avoid getting below 10%.  I'd like to continue to pick and choose where we put housing.  Senior Housing really fits downtown. Perhaps when the fire station downtown is relocated, housing could go in that building."  Another opportunity could be the Honey Dew location downtown.  Gary Lewis is moving his franchise further down the street. Housing, with commercial on the lower level, could end up there.      Joe Scardino, Chairman of the Planning Board, and member of the CPC, said, "We're keenly aware of the need for senior housing. That void isn't being filled by the private sector. They are building senior complexes priced higher than the homes the seniors downsize from."   

Morton said another meeting would be convened on the CPC's Draft Plan. If informed about it, we'll let you know when it is, and offer up a copy of the plan.  He said, "The plan, in draft form, deals in respect to what the CPC may recommend. The plans are important to the future of this town. The Glen Echo property was the #1 acquisition in our strategic plan. We spent 27% less of our funds because of the state contribution to our CPA funds. These are tough financial times to focus on open space, affordable housing, and historical preservation. The CPA provides a source of funds for these items."  

Members of the Stoughton Preservation Committee includes: Morton, Scardino, MacKerron, treasurer David Berteletti, Janice Esdale Lindwall, Denise Lochiatto, Laurice Rube, and John Linehan.   I applaud those who are working hard on the Community Preservation Act.  Next time, let's get involved in the discussion, folks.  To accomplish everything we need to do, we need COMMUNITY input. So, be there next meeting,. Let's see if we can triple the crowd---or more!  The Committee can't do it alone. And, don't worry, there are plenty of seats.

(Posted on October 25, 2012 at 8 a.m.)


    STOUGHTON MILITARY MAN HONORED

: Massachusetts National Guardsmen were recognized by the Chief of Staff of the Army during a ceremony at the Association of the United States Army Eisenhower Luncheon at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center here, Oct. 23, 2012. Lt. Col. Ron Cupples, commander, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard and senior enlisted adviser, Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Widberg (of Stoughton) accepted the Walter T. Kerwin Jr. Readiness Award, presented by Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, chief of staff, U.S. Army, on behalf of the Soldiers of the 182nd.  (see photo below) They were voted the Best Battalion in the USA! The Kerwin Award, which is open to Army National Guard and Army Reserve battalions, is presented to the battalion with the highest level of readiness in its respective component. In order to be considered each battalion must have been rated as having superior performance in eight specific areas as well as meeting other criteria.  The Kerwin award, honors General Walter T. Kerwin Jr., former Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and was jointly created by AUSA, the National Guard Association of the United States and the Reserve Officers Association of the United States. 

Widberg says, "Congratulations and thank you to all the Soldiers of the 1st Batallion 182nd Infantry Regiment who earned this award. I was humbled and honored to receive it on your behalf. It is YOUR award."

CSM  Widberg was also awarded the Order of Saint Maurice for years of distinguished service to the Infantry community and displaying the highest standards of integrity, moral character, professional competence, and dedication to duty by Major Eric Dinoto. Recent Order of Saint Maurice-Centurions, 1SG Jason Civello and SFC David Moore both from Dog Company and 1 Widberg of 182nd Infantry Regiment (Nation's First!) (pictured above right l to r, Greg Widberg, SFC David Moore and Civello).
 

 

(posted on October 25, 2012 at 8:30 .a.m Courtesy Photos)


 

Statement of Interest (High School)
Statement of Interest (South School)

both passed unanimously by Selectmen and School Committee


PROPOSED 2013 SCHOOL BUDGET

PROPOSED 2013 MUNICIPAL BUDGET
SELECTMEN'S LETTER & ADDITIONAL 2013 BUDGET INFO

STOUGHTON POLICE DEPARTMENT SLIDE SHOW--See What THEY DO!

Did you know? The Stoughton Police Department responded to 23,189 logged calls in 2011.

 


Stoughton Mourns Chief Roach

Stoughton has lost retired Fire Chief Paul Roach. He died peacefully Tuesday, October 23 at Copley at Stoughton.   Chief was married for 66 years to Madeline T. (Hogan) Roach.  Chief Roach was a Stoughton native, who attended St. Mary's School and Boston College High School.  

His obituary notes that he was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps and a Veteran of World War II. Chief Roach worked for the Stoughton Fire Department from 1953 until his retirement in 1988. He was appointed Fire Chief in 1961 and held that position for 27 years, until his retirement. He was a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, where he was Past President of the New England Division and the Massachusetts Association of Fire Chiefs.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his four children; Nancy M. Gregoire, Paul J. Roach, Deputy Fire Chief, Stoughton Fire Dept. (Ret.) and Michael J. Roach and his wife Lisa, all of Stoughton and Jeanne F. Roach of VA. He is also survived by 6 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.

Funeral will be held from the Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St. (Rt.27) Stoughton on Monday, October 29 at 10 AM followed by a Funeral Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Stoughton at 11 AM. Visiting Hours Sunday from 3-7 PM. Interment will take place at Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne. Due to floral restrictions at the cemetery, donations in Paul's memory may be made to the Stoughton Firefighters, Local 1512, 30 Freeman St., Stoughton, MA 02072 or Beacon Hospice, 182 N. Main St., Fall River, MA 02720.

Fire Chief Mark Dolloff told Snyder's Stoughton, "Paul was the quintessential Fire Chief. He always had a great command presence."  

Former Stoughton Fire Chief William "Bill" Stipp, who is now in Colorado, wrote, "Chief Paul Roach was a very gracious and caring mentor. He welcomed me to the community with open arms and offered his advice and counsel when I needed it. I know he meant a lot to many of the members of the Stoughton Fire Department, which is a testament to his leadership and dedication to the fire service. I was always grateful for his kindness and honesty."

Stoughton Community Events Committee member and lifelong Stoughton resident Kevin Stetson writes, "He was a great man and will be missed by many."  Conservation Commission member Dori Frankel writes, "I loved this guy! A genuinely nice man, you always knew where Paul stoood on everything. A true family man, that's what it was all about for him. Never missed a grandchild's sporting event, school event, etc. A great bowler, though not as good as Mel! He will be sorely missed by so many. Our thoughts and sincere condolences to all his family."

John Sawyer of Classic Limousine, said, "He gave me a job I loved for the two years I was there. He was always fair and professional. My condolences to Mrs. Roach, Paul Jr, Jean, Nancy and Michael."   Dr. Scott Aronson, a Stoughton podiatrist, wrote, "One of the nicest men that I have met. Stoughton was lucky to have had him!"

Finally, Firefighter/EMT Jeff Ledin writes, "Chief Roach hired me in 1987. The last person hired before his retirement. He was an honest, fair, and caring man. He has left a positive and lasting legacy on the Stoughton Fire Department. Rest in peace, Chief."

 

(Posted on October 25 at 7:30 a.m. Photo courtesy of Stoughton Fire Department Facebook Page.)


 

 

The Department of Public Works will be out paving on Wednesday, Oct. 24 and Thursday, Oct. 25. They will be on Island Street (Mill Street to the Canton line), Lake Drive, Ames Drive, West Street (from Palisades to Highland Street) and Federico Circle. Motorists Beware: The roads will be closed during the work.


Stolen Jewelry Recovered by Stoughton Police

If you had jewelry stolen from your house, it could be at the Stoughton Police Station. Detective Sgt. Robert Welch welcomes residents to come in and identify it, or call him at 781-344-2425 for more information.

 


 

TOWN HALL ROOF DONE

No more mess. No more lack of parking. The Town Hall roof is now complete. Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. sent out a press release to trumpet the completion. The $383,000 job was started in July, and completed early and on budget, according to Feaster.

The contractor, Meadows Construction of Topsfield, utilized mechanical lifts to do the roof construction. The roof replacement was made possible by an appropriation at Town Meeting and by a contribution from the Stoughton Community Preservation Committee, with funds from the CPA tax.

The final roof inspection will be done by the town's consulting engineer, town engineer Ben Feehan, Building Maintenance Supervisor Robert Grover, and other town officials on Friday, October 26 at 10 a.m.

(posted on 10/24/12 @ 11 a.m.)


 

Fox 25 Undercover Picks Up
Snyder's Stoughton Story

Two months after it broke here on Snydersstoughton.com and on Patch, the story I wrote on the $500,000 appropriation for traffic lights in front of the condominium complex where State Rep. Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton) lives, is making the news. Mike Beaudet, reporter for Fox Undercover, was in Stoughton getting deeper into the story of money included in a Transportation Bond Bill, which was approved by the House and Senate, and signed by Governor Patrick. That Bill also included funding to pay for half of the costs of the train station, and future financing for it.

In my article, I de-emphasized the Kafka aspect of the story. I have donated to Lou's campaigns, and like the guy. But, every town official I spoke to---on an off the record---was adament that they had no input into the request, and should have. Many told me of the great need for help on Central Street mitigating the dangers from all the traffic, especially at Tosca Drive, Island Street and West Street. They just thought that the Erin Road location was strange---at the least--and could make traffic worse. Since that article, a three year old was killed on Central Street, crossing near West Street.

(Posted on October 22, 2012 @ 9:30 a.m.)


Stoughton Loses A Pearl of a Man

If your child played soccer, you probably knew John Pearl. What I didn't know was his actual given name was Leland J. Pearl III. John was a devoted father to Amanda, Jennifer (Jen), and Allison, all of Stoughton. He died in his Stoughton home on October 12, surrounded by his family.

John was beloved in Stoughton. His dedication to the youth of this town was known to anyone who ever played soccer. John coached my daughter when she was a pee wee, and his daughter Jen helped out as as "assistant." At that age, the kids just chased the ball, with some getting in a kick that landed on the ball, and not another kid. John always had a broad smile on his face, and spoke only positive words to all the children.

He was a success in the business world, as well. At the time of his death, he was the Vice President of Stoneham Bank. He was a graduate of Nichols College.

Pearl leaves behind his loving wife Jane (Burke), as well as his mom, Barbara Pearl of Natick. He was the dear brother of Leighann Stanton of Wellesley, Donna Pearl and her husband Lawrence White of California, his twin sister Mary Pearl of Natick, Kathleen and her husband Keith Annese of Framingham, Cindy and her husband Wayne Jackman of Mansfield, Deborah and her husband Robert Lima of Methuen, and William Pearl of Boston. He was also a cherished brother-in-law to Patricia Burke of Hull. He leaves many loving nieces and nephews, as well. John touched so many people in Stoughton, that his smile with live on in their hearts and memories.

Donations in John's memory may be made to the Make A Wish Foundation at www.wish.org. may John Rest in Peace.

(Posted on October 22, 2012 @ 7 a.m. Photo from Facebook.)


Safety Changes Made In Response
to Accident that killed Shayla Lutz

Town officials conducted a press briefing this morning (10/18) on some changes they have made regarding safety issues on Central Street and West Streets adjacent to the Hansen School, the site of a September accident that killed three year old Shayla Lutz.

Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster said the tragedy had officials "redoubling our collective efforts to prevent such a similar tragedy from occurring in the future. Three weeks ago, Supt. of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi and I convened a meeting of town and school officials, our legislative delegation, and Old Colony Planning Council representatives to discuss possible traffic safety measures in the vicinity of the Hansen School and throughout Stoughton. The school department. police and public works collaborated to immediately put in place a number of temporary safety measures for the Hansen School area." Superintendent Rizzi added, "We've addressed items on school property. With help from the DPW, the crosswalk has been removed at West and Central." Authorities felt it was too dangerous a spot for a crossing. Rizzi said that another location was chosen, at least on a temportary basis, and a sidewalk installed from the crosswalk to the street. She said there are very few families that actually cross there. John Batchelder, Superintendent of the DPW, said, "We blackened out a 150' crosswalk on a blind curve. The new one is painted, in place, with proper signage. We're looking to add school zone lights to slow down traffic, and a pedestrian light."

Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany said that the accident could have been avoided. "We use the three E's to prevent accidents--Engineering, Education and Enforcement. The construction of Route 27 was conducive to accidents." Police Safety Officer Lt. Michael Blount added, "Prior to this tragedy, we did a traffic study. It was unbelievable. We were doing enforcement prior to the tragedy. It is my belief that Mrs. Lutz walked past the crosswalk, because she had realized it was a dangerous one. We're working with others to conceptualize our ideas. We have made some changes. For instance, we found that thick brush was hindering the view at Island Street and Central. So, we cut back the brush considerably, and the view is improved there."

Assistant Town Engineer Marc Tisdale showed the proposed changes on a map at the meeting. Town Planner Noreen O'Toole told Snyder's Stoughton that Old Colony Planning Council in conducting traffic counts all along Central Streets from October 18-October 30. Volume, speed and classification date is being compiled.

State Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) also spoke about potential improvements that could be assisted with state money and expertise. Joyce has written a request to Governor Patrick to allow the town to utilize the money ($500,000) authorized in the Transportation Bond Bill for a traffic light in front of Knollsbrook, to be used to study Central Street and address the many dangerous intersections (Island, West, Tosca) there. Erin Road, home of Knollsbrook, is not one of them. As noted in a previous article on this site, and on Stoughton Patch, Knollsbrook is the home of State Rep. Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton). No town officials were consulted in the request for lights at Erin Road. Joyce said it was made at the request of "constituents" and that he did not consult with Kafka on the request. Joyce is Chair of the Committee that approved the bond bill. Fox 25 Investigative Reporter Mike Beaudet was at the press conference and asked questions about the appropriation. Beaudet had received a copy of the article I wrote on this website and on Patch, from a viewer. The article was nearly two months old. (Disclaimer--I have been a donor to Kafka's campaigns. I actually like the guy. But that $500,000 appropriation did raise a number of eyebrows--even with town officials I spoke with, on and off the record. With the large number of dangerous intersections on the road, they wondered aloud why that one was chosen for insertion in the Bill.)

(Story & Photos by Mark Snyder. Posted on October 18, 2012.)

 


LAMBERT ON TV

Stoughton's own historian, David Allen Lambert, will be a guest on History Detectives (again.) The show airs on PBS. He will be featured in an episode airing on Channel 2 on January 15, 2013 at 8 p.m. When asked what that show is about, Lambert wrote, "Can't reveal the topic. So, you will have to watch!" Get more info HERE.

 


 

RETIRED ISRAELI AMBASSADOR COMES TO STOUGHTON

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger gave an impassioned talk titled “The US-Iran-Israel Triangle” Friday evening, October 12 th, at an open gathering hosted by Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton. He opened the talk with a reference to the opening lines of Genesis, which will be read this Shabbat (Saturday), and how it can also be interpreted as a covenant of Fire and how in Hebrew The United States is translated as “the lands of the covenant.” In a subsequent talk the Ambassador went on to explain that the word “federal” is based on the Latin foedus which translates as a covenant. He pointed out the shared value systems of the US and Israel and how Israel has been the strongest, most supportive ally of the US in the Middle East since the founding of the state in 1948. Approximately 120 individuals made up of Jews, Christians and other interested individuals were in attendance and gave the Ambassador a standing ovation at the end of the evening.

He began the talk by discussing the risks that a nuclear armed Iran would potentially pose to the US, to US interests and to Israel. According to Ettinger, if Iran were to obtain nuclear capability, one of the risks would be to the US need to maintain an open Straits of Hormuz due to the amount of oil that travels through that critical waterway. He also stated that a nuclear armed Iran would cause the US to have much less freedom of action, militarily and diplomatically, in the area, much in the same way that the US actions are now restricted as it pertains to North Korea. He went on to explain that contrary to public perception Israel would not likely be the first target of an Iranian attack due to the massive retaliatory ability of the Israeli military. Ettinger expressed that one of the risks of attack on the US could come via a surrogate acting on Iran’s behalf. As a concern he referred to the deepening military ties between Iran and Venezuela following Hugo Chavez’s assent to power.

One of main themes of the night was that “pre-emption” is a moral good and necessity in order to avoid a much larger future "boots on the ground" conflict to remove the Iranian nuclear threat. He also made reference to the Israeli attack on the Iraqi core in 1981 which avoided the need for the US to deal with the threat of a nuclear Iraq in 1991 during the first Gulf War which was caused by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He indicated that Menachem Begin, then Prime Minister of Israel, was advised by almost all of his military and political advisors that the likelihood of success in the attack was between 0 and none and the risks of the political fallout was vast. Begin decided to proceed anyway because the “cost of Israeli inaction was more dangerous than taking action no matter the outcome.” Ettinger also stated that although Israel was universally condemned at the time of the bombing, including by the Reagan administration, Dick Cheney in 1991, then US Secretary of Defense, acknowledged the debt that the US and the world owed to Israel by its actions of “pre-emption.”

The evening ended with the Ambassador taking questions from those in attendance. One of the more interesting questions concerned Israel’s ability to strike Iran if she decided to go it alone. Ambassador Ettinger stated that the Israeli military has many more options that it did in 1981 due to her expansion of naval capabilities as well as other not specified military alliances with some of Iran’s neighbors. Another of the attendees also asked about the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu and could it be repaired should Obama be re-elected in November? Ettinger stated that he did not feel the relationship could be repaired due to the too extreme differences in world views by the two leaders. According to Ettinger, Obama refuses to see the threat of Islamic terrorism and thus creates an unbridgeable gap in positions between the two leaders.

Ambassador Ettinger did his graduate studies at UCLA and undergraduate at UTEP, served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel's Embassy in Washington (with the rank of ambassador), as Israel's Consul General in Houston and as Director of Israel's Government Press Office. He is the editor of Straight From The Jerusalem Cloakroom and Boardroom, newsletters on issues of national security and overseas investments in Israel's high-tech, as well The Ettinger Report.

(Article by Mark Kushinsky. Edited by Faye Kushinsky.)


 

STOUGHTON AUTHOR'S BOOK NARRATED BY THE PERKINS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND

 
The Perkins School for the Blind Braille and Talking Book Library has added UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS to its catalog of narrated books.
 
UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS is a BOSTON GLOBE bestseller, based on actual events that take place in New England, over a nine week period in 1999. The main character's intensely personal story is uniquely intertwined with a much publicized international murder, as well as a kidnapping which is solved by a FBI sting.
 
The Perkins School for the Blind opened its doors in 1832 and has grown to be a world leader in the quest to improve the lives of blind and visually impaired persons. Its 38 acre campus in Watertown, Massachusetts partners with programs in 65 other countries. The Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library provides free services to Massachusetts residents of any age who are unable to read traditional print material, thanks in part to funding by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. For more information, please visit www.perkins.org.
 
Information about Kyle Darcy's novel, including radio interviews, media links and upcoming events is available at www.kyledarcy.com. Darcy has lived with his family in the Boston suburb of Stoughton, Massachusetts, since emigrating from Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1989.

(Posted on October 11, 2012. Information provided by Kyle Darcy.)


PAYING RESPECTS TO DAD OF PAST FINCOM CHAIR

Condolences to former Finance Committee Chair Holly Boykin on the sudden loss of her beloved father, Joseph Isbitsky at 71. Services were held at the Stanetsky Memorial Chapel in Canton on Sunday, October 7, 2012 . The Chapel was jam packed, and much of it was from her friends and associates from the Stoughton Community.

Faces In The Crowd included Selectmen Cynthia Walsh, Bob O'Regan, John Stagnone and John Anzivino; current Finance Committee Chair Rick Hill and his wife Anita; School Committee Vice Chairman Joyce Husseini; Stoughton Public Schools Food Service Director Ed Gilbert; and Fincom Member Barbara Anzivino.

Holly's sister Julie had advice for the crowd regarding the sudden passing of her dad: "Always make time for those you love. You never know how much time they will have with you." Holly said she'd have enjoyed coming back to Stoughton, from her home in Ohio, to see her friends, "were it not for the circumstances of the visit." All of Joe's children spoke, and the common theme was: he had an amazing sense of humor, enjoyed playing games, worked hard, and loved his family. Rabbi Jonathan Hausman of Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton officiated.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in his memory may be made to MSPCA, 350 S. Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02130 or to The Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L St NW, Washington, DC 20037.


ANOTHER INCIDENT & ARREST
@ JUDGE ROTENBERG HOME

On October 4 at 5 p.m., the Stoughton Fire Department notified the Stoughton Police Department of a fire at the Judge Rotenberg Center home at 1115 Park Street, adjacent to the town-owned Cedar Holl Golf Course. Sgt. Bob Welch, Detective Eric Feist and Officer Brian Holmes were dispatched to the location, and an investigation was started into the cause of the fire. Welch tells Snyder's Stoughton, "After careful examination of the information, and individual was placed under arrest. We also notified the State Fire Marshal's office that it was a case of arson, which we have to do by law." Arrested was Redell Culler, a 17-year old resident of the facility, which houses children and adults with behavioral and emotional problems. He was charged by the Stoughton Police with Burning of a Dwelling, Destruction of Property, and two counts of Assault & Battery. The staff were not injured in the incident, according to Sgt. Welch.

This is the latest in a LONG list of incidents at the many Rotenberg Houses, that are ALL located in residential neighborhoods.

(Posted on October 5, 2012 @ 9:45 a.m.)

 


 

SUSPECTED TERRORIST HAD STOUGHTON TIES

The FBI is searching for Ahmad Abousamra, a U.S. citizen from Mansfield, MA. for terrorism charges. He was first indicted in 2009 after taking multiple trips to Pakistan and Yemen where he is alleged to have sought out military training for the purpose of killing American soldiers overseas. He also traveled to Iraq with the hope of joining forces fighting the US but the exact nature of his activities there is unknown. Abousamra has been indicted on nine charges ranging from conspiracy to kill in a foreign country to conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization, namely al-Qaeda. His co-conspirator, Tarek Mehanna, was convicted in 2011 on seven total charges including four terrorism charges and three charges relating to providing false information to the government. He was born on September 19, 1981 and is currently 31 years old. He is described as 5'11'', weighing approximately 170 pounds, slim build, dark hair, and dark eyes. Ahmad once lived in Stoughton (according to the Boston Globe), and actually attended Stoughton High in 1999, and got a diploma from there, after attending Xaverian High School for three years (first reported by Stoughton Patch.).

A reward of $50,000 is offered for information leading to his arrest. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or (617) 742-5533, via the Internet at https://tips.fbi.gov or by calling their local FBI office or nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

 

 


 

LAMBERT AVENUE PROPERTY PLAN WITHDRAWN

 

UPDATE: October 2, 2012

Stoughton Attorney Steve Delamere tells Snyder's Stoughton that David Krivelow and Scott Rawl have withdrawn their efforts to convert 75 Lambert Avenue into an office and storage facility for their wrecking and demolition company. "My clients have decided to withdraw their applicaiton for the Special Permit. They saw such oppostion that they didn't want to go forward when it seemed the people in that area were not interested in having a business in there. They were open to their suggestions, and didn't want to make matters worse for the neighbors." This was a nice move by Krivelow, a Stoughton resident, and Rawl. They could have pursued it, and appealed a negative decision, if the ZBA were so inclined to make one. NOW, the Town of Stoughton has an opportunity to move forward and purchase this property through a Town Meeting Warrant. Eventually, it could be used to expand the Council on Elderly/Youth Commission building at 110 Rockland Street, or its parking lot.

Now, the Town of Stoughton has an opportunity to move forward and purchase this property through a Town Meeting Warrant. Eventually, it could be used to expand the Council on Elderly/Youth Commission building at 110 Rockland Street, or its parking lot.  The Open Space Committee, Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, Board of Selectmen and Town Manager should work together to get a plan together to purchase the property, or take it by eminent domain.  The residents of that neighborhood deserve no less.

Board of Selectmen Chairman John Stagnone, who had written a letter to the ZBA (as a private citizen, not in his capacity on the BOS), was happy to hear the news from Snyder's Stoughton. He said, "It goes to show if the neighbors come out, sometimes they get the results they wanted. This wasn't a good fit for the neighborhood from the beginning. But, the neighbors came out in great numbers, and it's a good end result. We don't want to lose business, so we hope there are other properties better suited for that business in Stoughton.  

(latest update posted on October 3, 2012 @ 8 p.m.)

 

back story.....

David Krivelow, a 12 year Stoughton resident, and his business partner, Scott Rawl of Resource Project Group, a wrecking and demolition company, were looking for a location for their twenty foot dump truck and their demolition tools, and saw the vacant eyesore at 75 Lambert Ave. He tells Snyder's Stoughton, "When we saw it, we thought we'd be doing the neighbors a favor. Our intentions were all good. We figured we'd take a condemned eyesore and make it something that looked good." But, Krivelow got a taste of what the neighbors along Lambert, Rockland and McGarvey Road had to say on Thursday night. Close to 100 people were inside the Yaitanes Room and outside in the Great Hall to universally express their disdain for the proposal to build a garage to house the dump truck and demolition tools.

Krivelow and Rawl, seated next to their Attorney Steve Delamare, heard an endless parade of, "No Thanks." In fact, the only speaker in favor of the proposal was Attorney John Gianino, who represents the condemned building's owner, Mrs. Donahue. He said, "Mrs. Donahue doesn't like the vacant building, either. She has tried for years to sell the property. There's a garage there, and the proposed owners are willing to clean it up. It seems like a logical use. We've had offers from an ambulance business, and for senior homes. They were rejected. The owner is wondering just what this property can be used for."

Abutter Jarod Henderson had an idea. "It's a family neighborhood. They building should be knocked down and they should build a playground there." That got massive applause from the crowd. Of course, the town was planning to buy the property in 2011, with the possibility of expanding the senior center/youth commission building and its parking lot next door. But, the proposal was withdrawn at Town Meeting.

The Town of Stoughton doesn't seem too keen on the idea of Resource Project Group's proposal. Selectman John Stagnone (writing for himself), Town Building Commissioner Tom McGrath, and The Planning Board all wrote letters against the project. Planning Board Chairman Joseph Scardino read from the letter Thursday night. It concluded, "The property is located partially in a General Business Zone and in a Residential Zone which changes the character of this largely residential neighborhood. The existing General Business zone parcel stands alone within an almost wholly Residential zone, which is incompatible with the existing land uses. A General Business zone use surrounded by residential uses creates negative encroachments and adversely impacts the neighborhood." In addition, a number of neighbors wrote letters to the ZBA requesting denial of Case #4070 for the request for a Special Permit for the 75 Lambert Ave. property.

Over a dozen residents took the microphone and spoke out against the proposal. Martin Franklin said he moved into his neighboring property in 1962. "Fifty years later, that monstrosity is still there. Come down and look at it. It's not place for a busness," Franklin said. Peter Irons said it was "a safety issue. There are a lot of kids living there. Dump trucks at any time of day are a safety issue." Frank Lyons told the ZBA, "Little kids are all over this neighborhood. I have a four year old. People walk their dogs and jog down the street. We need to put sidewalks in. With them, it's a whole different ballgame." Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh picked up on that theme, adding, "I go to the Senior Center. These folks live in a real neighborhood. There are no sidewalks and the road is extremely narrow. Dump trucks make a lot of noise. Everyone sitting here has good intentions. But, they get the same results from Town Hall. Someone puts the complaints in a file. This is not a good place for this business. It's simply not compatible with the neighborhood. Read all the letters and listen to all the people. The continuance should be scheduled in a bigger room."

Alison Abrams had a petition to knock the building down. She said she wouldn't mind a house or duplex there. Virginia and Brian Cuddy spoke out against the proposal due to the zoning issues. They questioned whether the zoning from 50 years ago was even in effect since the building hasn't been used for nearly a decade. Marguerite Mitchell of the Zoning Board, and an attorney in her profession, wanted the town's legal counsel to review the situation, adding, "I'm not sure how we can consider this if it doesn't meet the requirements of our zoning law." Abutter James Lindy also said it didn't meet the requirements for a Special Permit: "There is no evidence this is an essential or desirable use. Any additional traffic, especially heavy equipment, is detrimental. The zoning was set up 50 years ago." And, in the same vein, ZBA member Dan Pessia said that the Board shouldn't even be hearing the request. He told the crowd, "There's no measurements of the proposed building. There's no information on how close this is to the nearest resident. We're wasting our time continuing it now."

Ines Allen was worried about resale value of the neighborhood's homes. "If we decide to sell, who's going to buy? We have a Judge Rotenberg Center home, the Senior Center, and now this."    Deborah Howard had similar concerns, adding, "I have two small children. I bought our house two years ago. I never would have bought there if I kew about this."

Meanwhile, Delamere did clarify a few fears of the neighbors. He said there would be no waste in the building, or even in the dump truck coming in or out of the building. He said the only truck coming in or out would be the company's dump truck. He said, "Despite the wording of the request, there are no raw materials being stored there."

The Zoning Board of Appeals will continue the hearing of Case 4070 to November 1st at 7:30 p.m. Let's hope that it is scheduled in the Great Hall. The Yaitanes Room is like a sauna, and it wasn't fair to the 50 or so people who had to wait outside and listen on speakers.

(Posted on September 20 @ 11 p.m. Photos by Mark Snyder)

 

 

 


MORE GREAT P.R. FOR "LODGE AT STOUGHTON" LUXURY APARTMENTS--Three Arrested for Drugs in their Lot

On September 27 at about 3 a.m., Sgt. John Bonney encountered three suspects in the parking lot of the Lodge at Stoughton "Luxury Apartments" on Technology Center Drive. After an initial search turned up marijuana, K-9 Annie was deployed by Officer Brian Holmes and discovered cocaine, bottles of Tadalafi, a vial of Trenbalone, and Nolvadex and Clobid pills.

John Nardone, 25, of Quincy was charged with possession of a Class B drug and conspiracy to violate drug law; Anthony Frasca, 25, of West Roxbury was charged with four counts of possession of a Class E drug (Subsequent); and Monique Slaybi, 28, of West Roxbury was charged with possession of a Class B drug and conspiracy to violate drug law.

The Lodge was the location for a shooting, a gun incident less than a week later--and now a drug arrest.

(Posted on October 1, 2012 @ 9 p.m. Information from Stoughton Police Department Facebook Page)

 

 


TRAGEDY STRIKES STOUGHTON FAMILY--
17 year old SHS senior David Wade Killed

A wonderful Stoughton family was struck by tragedy Saturday afternoon, September 29. Shortly after 3 p.m., 21-year old Michael Wade, recently licensed in firearms, was cleaning his 40 calibre gun when a bullet (out of sight in the chamber) went into his brother Andrew's chest. The accident sent Michael to the phone, along with his mother, Karyn dialing 9-1-1. The dispatcher tried to get Medflight to the scene, but they were unavailable and the Stoughto Fire Department rushed the injured youngster to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton. After unsuccessful surgery, 17 year old Andrew, a member of the Stoughton Football Team, had passed away.

According to David Traub, spokesman for Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey, "The fatal shooting of David Wade in his home in Stoughton remains under active investigation by the State Police detective unit attached to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office and the Stoughton Police Department, with assistance from MSP Crime Scene Services Section, ballistics, photo and associated investigators, as well as the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Forensic and other investigation continued overnight and is ongoing." An autopsy was performed on Wade.

Stoughton Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, said that grief specialists would be called into Stoughton High School on October 1st. She wrote, "In just two weeks time, our community has been struck by two tragic deaths of young people in our midst.  While the Hansen community is still mourning the death of a little girl in a car accident, the High School is now facing the terrible sadness of the death of David Wade.  Our seniors have lost a classmate, and our football team, a teammate.  Numerous teachers have had David in their classes over the years and will feel this loss personally. SHS Principal Julie Miller convened the crisis team Sunday.  In the days to come our counseling staff and administrators will work together to provide all the services and support that our students and high school staff may need, including after school hours.  Additional support has been offered by the Stoughton Youth Commission, who responded to a request from our crisis team to do everything they can to help. Counselors will be available from first thing tomorrow morning, plans are in place, and the administration is aware of those individuals who may be most affected so that they can be cared for.  The coaches and others have already been working with the football team. We are a strong and resilient group of people, and everyone will help each other get through this. We will continue to give our students the excellent education that they are used to and deserve. The Wade family has generously asked that donations in David's name be given to the Stoughton football program, and we will set up an account for this tomorrow."

A scholarship will be set up in the name of the tragic accident victim, so that his name may live on. He was a very popular kid from one of Stoughton's nicest families. He leaves behind his loving parents and three brothers, and hundreds of people whose lives he touched. David, who was a member of the Cheerleading team last year, was #56 on this year's undefeated Stoughton High grid squad. May he Rest in Peace.

FOOTBALL & CHEERLEADERS HOLD CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

It was advertised by word of mouth, and on Facebook, but hundreds of Stoughton residents, including the football and cheerleading teams, held candles and said prayers for David Wade, outside his house on Barnes Road and Turnpike Street. Members of his family came out to thank the crowd, and everyone stood vigil. Members of the football team lit candles in the street, huddled in the center of the street, and dedicated their season to #56. Two police officers helped control traffic on Turnpike Street, where vehicles parked on both sides of the street slowed traffic to a standstill. It was difficult not to cry. Tears were shed by young and old alike, including by this writer. There is nothing more to say, or to write. This tragedy not only hit the Wade family, but everyone else in this community. Certainly the cheerleaders and football players miss David as one of their own. So, does everyone else in the Town of Stoughton.

Candlelight Vigil @ St. James Church

Stoughton Mourns
Story by Jeff Pickette

DAVID'S FUNERAL & OBITUARY

David James Wade, 17, a lifelong resident of Stoughton, died accidentally on Saturday, September 29 at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton. He was the son of Douglas W. and Karyn A. (Kemp) Wade of Stoughton. Born in Quincy, he was educated in Stoughton schools and was a senior at Stoughton High School.

David was on his way to being a Triple Crown Recipient for playing three sports for all four years of high school. He was a member of the Stoughton High School football team, #56, as well as the track and field and cheerleading teams. He also volunteered for many school activities. He enjoyed camping, swimming and motorcycles.

In addition to his parents, David is survived by his brothers, John Paul Wade, Steven Anthony Wade and Michael Andrew Wade all of Stoughton. He was the grandson of Carolyn and Howard Kemp of Waltham, Evelyn Wade of Burlington and the late Robert Wade. He was the uncle of Abigail Riley Maready (Wade) and Cheyanne Elizabeth Wade. He is also survived by many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Funeral Service will be held at St. James Church, 560 Page St., in Stoughton on Friday, October 5 at 10 a.m. Visiting Hours will be held at the Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St. (Rt.27) in Stoughton on Thursday, October 4 from 3-7 p.m. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations for the David James Wade Scholarship Fund may be made to the Black Knights, c/o Margie Tarpey, Stoughton Public Schools, 232 Pearl St., Stoughton, MA 02072.

 

(Top Photos via Facebook. Middle Photo Created by David Lambert. Bottom photo by Mark Snyder)

 

 


 

Selectman Cynthia Walsh Announces Her Cancer Diagnosis At Board Meeting

For those who were wondering why Selectman Cynthia Walsh had taken to wearing fashionable scarves to meetings, her announcement Tuesday night was startling. The long-time town meeting member and volunteer on numerous committees, who is now in her third term as a Selectman, said that she'd had a biopsy on her neck, and she'd received the diagnosis-- Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of cancer of the lymphatic system.

Walsh will be undergoing radiation treatments, but expects to remain active on the Board. Walsh, who is known for her keen sense of humor, and down-to-earth lifestyle, told those in attendance (and people like me watching on TV), "This cancer hasn't affected my brain or my mouth." She thanked residents who have prayed for her and sent her well wishes, and asked that the prayers continue.

One doctor, who is familiar with this type of cancer but is not familiar with Ms. Walsh's case,, told Snyder's Stoughton, "Sometimes, if it's located in one area, such as the neck, and if they don't have to do chemo, the chances of survival and recovery are good. Radiation is more easily tolerated, and if they catch it early, it is highly curable."

Walsh is a long-time Board Member of the Cedar Hill Golf Course, which is located near her home. She has been a member of Town Meeting for the town's most well-attended precinct, Precinct 2, of which I am the proud Chairman, for decades. Walsh recently spoke at the Volunteer Luncheon at the YMCA, and was a guest speaker at the Literacy Volunteers dinner at the Stoughton Public Library not long ago. The retired Stoughton elementary school teacher told the audience Wednesday night (September 26) that, "I will continue to serve in all my capacities, as long as I can."

Snyder's Stoughton send prayers and wishes for a rapid and complete recovery.

(Posted on September 27, 2012 @ 9 p.m.)


TOWN MEETS TO DISCUSS TRAFFIC SAFETY CONCERNS

 

 

News release from office of Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr.:

The recent accident near the Hansen Elementary School which resulted in the tragic death of Shayla Lutz has spurred as Stoughton examines traffic safety issues throughout the Town.

Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., Interim Town Manager and Dr. Marguerite C. Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools convened a meeting of Town Departments. (Police, Fire, Public Works, Engineering and Planning), Jed Cornock of Old Colony Planning Council, Ray Guarino of Old Colony Planning Council, Joyce Husseini of the Stoughton School Committee, Forrest Lindwall of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, State Representatives William Galvin & Louis Kafka, Emily Kowtoniuk of Senator Joyce’s office and Nicholas Zaferakis, Jr. of Congressman Lynch’s office.

“We will examine traffic safety concerns throughout the Town”, said Joseph Feaster. “The tragic accident near the Hansen School has caused us to focus our attention on this issue so that such tragedy will not occur in our Town in the future.” Dr. Rizzi said, “The entire school community is saddened by the tragic death of Shayla near the Hansen Elementary School.” We will work with Mr. Feaster, the Town officials and others to insure that our school zones are safe for all of our students and their families.”

"We are just starting the process, but intend to develop short-term and long-term solutions for the Board of Selectmen and School Committee to consider”, said Joseph Feaster. DPW Superintendent John Batchelder told Snyder's Stoughton that one of the things discussed was the possibility of installing sidewalks in that area of Central Street, and possibly moving the crosswalk.

(Posted on September 27, 2012 @ 4 p.m.)

Complete News Release, Agenda, and Letter from our State Delegation to the Governor


FUNDRAISER FOR LUTZ FAMILY;
TOWN & SCHOOLS WORK HARD ON SAFETY ISSUES

Jan Jones , Founder of the Little Theatre of Stoughton washeartbroken when she heard about the tragic death of Shayla Lutz. She tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “Shayla was one of our Little Theatre Family toddlers. Her 8 year old sister, Ashleigh, has been in our last two shows, “Pinocchio” and most recently she played little Snow White in our summer production, with her mom and dad, William and Melissa helping in all aspects of the production.”

Jones said that a number of people called her to see what they could do to help.
“We are devastated by this tragedy. We had been planning a mystery dinner theatre for the 6th of October and we would like to continue with this event and direct the proceeds to the trust established by the town for Shayla and the Lutz family. Little Theatre will be the hosts for this event which will be held at the Cedar Hill Golf Course clubhouse. It will consist of a dinner and show with an auction/raffle as well. Seating is limited, but if we all support this, we can certainly provide a most generous donation. It is a small thing, but it is what we do, put on shows and if all goes well, perhaps we can do another later in the season.”

Tickets are $40 person and even if you cannot make that evening, a donation will certainly help. For reservations, call Jan at 781 834 6209. There will be limited seating. Those wishing to donate auction or raffle prizes are also invited to call.

If you missed the Vigil, and can’t make the performance, a trust fund for the Lutz family has been established at the Stoughton Co-Operative Bank. Donations may be made to The Lutz Family Trust at either of the Stoughton Co-Operative Bank's branches on Park St or mailed to the Lutz Family Trust, c/o Stoughton Co-operative Bank, PO Box 446, Stoughton, MA 02072.

JONES WRITES: "Interim Town Manager has canceled this event" Rescheduled for November 3 @ 6:30 p.m. at Old Colony YMCA.

Jones wrote: "He cited our differences with the schools. I did all arrangements with the manager of the cafe at the golf course. Unfortunately he is gone and did not notify me. When I did not hear from him, I did not find out until I called Jodi last week. Jodi called the town manager and he told Jodi no. I spoke to Mr. Feaster yesterday and he would not do anything to work it out, claiming that permits were not in place. They never had to do this before according to others who used the facility, it was just a phone call. The good news is that the Y has donated their space for Nov 3 Saturday nite at 6:30 p.m."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------>

And, in light of this tragedy, the community is also concerned with the future safety of the area in front of the Hansen School and all our public schools. School Committee member Erdem Ural wrote a letter to the School Committee, Superintendent of Schools, Board of Selectmen, Police Chief and Town Manager in response to the deadly Central Street accident. In part, Dr. Ural wrote, “It is incumbent upon us to implement appropriate protection measures in a timely manner. I appreciate that deciding what the appropriate measures are, and then implementing them properly, will take time. In the mean time, we must create interim stopgap measures, in order to protect our residents, and our precious children…..I strongly urge you to place a police officer and a cruiser on Central Street in front of the Hansen School, at least during the assembly and dismissal of the Hansen School students.”

Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine said that having a cruiser parked every day at one school probably would not be feasible. He told Snyder’s Stoughton, “We’re in a collaborative effort with the DPW and the school department. We have been working with the DPW on ways to reconfigure all the dangerous intersections in town. We’ve looked at accident reports for West, Island and other intersections on Central Street that have been identified as dangerous. It will take time and resources to address them. We assign police officers to the schools every day. To promise to have a car in one spot every day isn’t realistic. They get pulled away with other calls and operational issues. There are many schools in town. People at other schools wouldn’t be pleased if we had a car at one school every day and ignored their school. We do the best we can with the resources we have.”

As for the school department, School Committee Chair Deborah Sovinee sent out a statement on Tuesday which said, in part, “A crossing guard at that location would not be safe. The person would be in significant personal danger, and would draw people into an intersection, now rarely used, which would put them in danger as well. The guard could not be seen by oncoming traffic until they were standing in the middle of a lane. The presence of a crossing guard would encourage people to cross at a location where we believe it is best to discourage such a crossing. There is a procedure for vetting locations for crossing guards designed by traffic engineers, used by the district, and by that criteria, this location, assessed before, and now again, is unsafe by several different measures. Once a person becomes acquainted with the facts, they see that placing a guard there is to actively invite a second disaster...The school committee cannot address the matter of road construction, alteration, signage, markings and lighting. These issues are under the authority of law enforcement, public works, and in the case of Route 27, the state. Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster has given highest priority to pulling together a working group of all authorities required to effect change at this intersection…. The school committee and the school district administration are steadfastly committed to the safety of our students. Stoughton is a town with a tremendous amount of traffic, and many children using the streets to get to school. We implore everyone to think about their driving habits, drive more slowly, follow the principals’ instructions in school zones, put down their cell phones and create a safer environment for all pedestrians. While neither speed nor phone use had a role in this accident, it is clear to us watching the arrival and dismals at all of our schools, that these behaviors place students at risk every single day. If anything good can come from this horrible accident, we hope that it is that all drivers take more responsibility for the safety of every child.”

In addition, it should be noted that Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany, and XO Devine met with the Hansen School PTO Monday night and, according to those who were there, explained that a crossing guard might have just the opposite effect that they want, and told them that many parts of Stoughton were being examined for safety issues. Chief Shastany told them that there were many tickets given out on Central Street this year, and the police do monitor for speed.  The Chief and Lt. Devine explained that parent driving behavior is a concern at all schools.

A team of town engineers was over at the Hansen School Tuesday watching the dismissal from start to finish. There is a working meeting (not public) scheduled for later Thursday, September 27, from 9 to 11 am that Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster has organized that will go over all of the existing information.

Snyder’s Stoughton sends the most sincere and deepest condolences to the Lutz family. The Stoughton Community feels their pain. If anything can be done to spare another family this heartbreak, then it should be done. It’s nice to see that leaders of a number of our town departments are working together toward that end.

 

(posted on September 25, 2012 @ 9 p.m.)

School Committee member's letter regarding safety on Central Street @ Hansen & email trail
Traffic Study of the Area

School Committee Response on Central Street Accident

 


 

STOUGHTON POLICE ARREST STATE COP

 

The Massachusetts State Police relieved Trooper Brian Simpkins of duty Friday morning following his arrest in the overnight hours by Stoughton Police for operating under the influence and violation of the open container law. Simpkins, 39, of Canton, was ordered held in lieu of $1,000 cash bail at his arraignment Friday morning in Stoughton District Court. Simpkins was found sleeping in his personal car, which was running, in the parking lot of the Wendy's restaurant on Washington Street in Stoughton at approximately 2:10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. Stoughton Police officers found an open container of alcohol in his car and determined that he was impaired. Stoughton officers arrested Simpkins for operating under the influence of liquor (second offense) and having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Simpkins had a previous OUI charge prior to his employment with the State Police. He was bailed from the Stoughton Police station and went to court with his lawyer for arraignment several hours later.

Simpkins is assigned to the State Police Barracks in Boston (Lower Basin). He joined the State Police in 2006. In relieving him of duty, a State Police commander took from his service weapon, cruiser, badge, and MSP identification. The department will hold a hearing at headquarters next week to determine a change in Simpkins' duty status. The State Police Internal Affairs Section will monitor the criminal case against Simpkins and has opened its own internal investigation. The offenses as alleged are contrary to the values, ideals, and expectations of the Massachusetts State Police. If the allegations are proven, State Police will take appropriate internal disciplinary action in addition to whatever criminal punishment the defendant may face.

(Posted on September 21, 2012 @ 4 p.m. From a State Police Dept. news release)


 

 

LAMBERT AVENUE PROPERTY HEARING
BEFORE ZBA CONTINUED TO NOVEMBER 1st

David Krivelow, a 12 year Stoughton resident, and his business partner, Scott Rawl of Resource Project Group, a wrecking and demolition company, were looking for a location for their twenty foot dump truck and their demolition tools, and saw the vacant eyesore at 75 Lambert Ave. He tells Snyder's Stoughton, "When we saw it, we thought we'd be doing the neighbors a favor. Our intentions were all good. We figured we'd take a condemned eyesore and make it something that looked good." But, Krivelow got a taste of what the neighbors along Lambert, Rockland and McGarvey Road had to say on Thursday night. Close to 100 people were inside the Yaitanes Room and outside in the Great Hall to universally express their disdain for the proposal to build a garage to house the dump truck and demolition tools.

Krivelow and Rawl, seated next to their Attorney Steve Delamare, heard an endless parade of, "No Thanks." In fact, the only speaker in favor of the proposal was Attorney John Gianino, who represents the condemned building's owner, Mrs. Donahue. He said, "Mrs. Donahue doesn't like the vacant building, either. She has tried for years to sell the property. There's a garage there, and the proposed owners are willing to clean it up. It seems like a logical use. We've had offers from an ambulance business, and for senior homes. They were rejected. The owner is wondering just what this property can be used for."

Abutter Jarod Henderson had an idea. "It's a family neighborhood. They building should be knocked down and they should build a playground there." That got massive applause from the crowd. Of course, the town was planning to buy the property in 2011, with the possibility of expanding the senior center/youth commission building and its parking lot next door. But, the proposal was withdrawn at Town Meeting.

The Town of Stoughton doesn't seem too keen on the idea of Resource Project Group's proposal. Selectman John Stagnone (writing for himself), Town Building Commissioner Tom McGrath, and The Planning Board all wrote letters against the project. Planning Board Chairman Joseph Scardino read from the letter Thursday night. It concluded, "The property is located partially in a General Business Zone and in a Residential Zone which changes the character of this largely residential neighborhood. The existing General Business zone parcel stands alone within an almost wholly Residential zone, which is incompatible with the existing land uses. A General Business zone use surrounded by residential uses creates negative encroachments and adversely impacts the neighborhood." In addition, a number of neighbors wrote letters to the ZBA requesting denial of Case #4070 for the request for a Special Permit for the 75 Lambert Ave. property.

Over a dozen residents took the microphone and spoke out against the proposal. Martin Franklin said he moved into his neighboring property in 1962. "Fifty years later, that monstrosity is still there. Come down and look at it. It's not place for a busness," Franklin said. Peter Irons said it was "a safety issue. There are a lot of kids living there. Dump trucks at any time of day are a safety issue." Frank Lyons told the ZBA, "Little kids are all over this neighborhood. I have a four year old. People walk their dogs and jog down the street. We need to put sidewalks in. With them, it's a whole different ballgame." Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh picked up on that theme, adding, "I go to the Senior Center. These folks live in a real neighborhood. There are no sidewalks and the road is extremely narrow. Dump trucks make a lot of noise. Everyone sitting here has good intentions. But, they get the same results from Town Hall. Someone puts the complaints in a file. This is not a good place for this business. It's simply not compatible with the neighborhood. Read all the letters and listen to all the people. The continuance should be scheduled in a bigger room."

Alison Abrams had a petition to knock the building down. She said she wouldn't mind a house or duplex there. Virginia and Brian Cuddy spoke out against the proposal due to the zoning issues. They questioned whether the zoning from 50 years ago was even in effect since the building hasn't been used for nearly a decade. Marguerite Mitchell of the Zoning Board, and an attorney in her profession, wanted the town's legal counsel to review the situation, adding, "I'm not sure how we can consider this if it doesn't meet the requirements of our zoning law." Abutter James Lindy also said it didn't meet the requirements for a Special Permit: "There is no evidence this is an essential or desirable use. Any additional traffic, especially heavy equipment, is detrimental. The zoning was set up 50 years ago." And, in the same vein, ZBA member Dan Pessia said that the Board shouldn't even be hearing the request. He told the crowd, "There's no measurements of the proposed building. There's no information on how close this is to the nearest resident. We're wasting our time continuing it now."

Ines Allen was worried about resale value of the neighborhood's homes. "If we decide to sell, who's going to buy? We have a Judge Rotenberg Center home, the Senior Center, and now this."    Deborah Howard had similar concerns, adding, "I have two small children. I bought our house two years ago. I never would have bought there if I kew about this."

Meanwhile, Delamere did clarify a few fears of the neighbors. He said there would be no waste in the building, or even in the dump truck coming in or out of the building. He said the only truck coming in or out would be the company's dump truck. He said, "Despite the wording of the request, there are no raw materials being stored there."

The Zoning Board of Appeals will continue the hearing of Case 4070 to November 1st at 7:30 p.m. Let's hope that it is scheduled in the Great Hall. The Yaitanes Room is like a sauna, and it wasn't fair to the 50 or so people who had to wait outside and listen on speakers.

(Posted on September 20 @ 11 p.m. Photos by Mark Snyder)

 


 

RECYCLING CENTER MOVING

 

Effective, Saturday, September 29, 2012, the Recycling Center will have moved from its current location adjacent to BJ's to 100 Page Street (same driveway for C & D Facility & the same site as the old Transfer Station.). The Recycling Center will continue to be open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will accept metal household appliances, tvs and computer monitors, propane tanks as well as newspaper, cardboard and other recycling materials. There is also a drop off location for leaves and grass clippings.

 


 

Senator Brian Joyce's Report to the Town of Stoughton, September 11, 2012


SELECTMAN PICK NEW TOWN MANAGER


Michael Hartman---the Selectmen's Choice

Selectmen voted unanimously to consider Michael Hartman from Canton as their candidate for Town Manager. Selectman Chairman John Stagnone explained that their consultant, Municipal Resources, Inc., will coordinate a complete background check and investigation of Hartman. If all things check out, the consultant will assist the Board of Selectmen to prepare a Letter of Offer. Stagnone jokingly said he hoped that the new town manager would be installed before the end of November (when Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr.'s contract expires.)

He has been Town Manager of Jaffrey, New Hampshire since 2007, and has been a past administrator in Wareham, Medway, and in RI and CT, since 1988. He has certainly cut his commute!

Selectman Cynthia Walsh, who made the motion to name Hartman, told Snyder's Stoughton that "he had the most extensive background information relating to Town Meeting. If the town manager can convince town meeting to fund our budget, I'd be happy. You only get one choice. That's when your year is made. I all depends on Town Meeting. I've been disappointed at the way our presentations have been made and received the past several years. I've seen a number of town managers. It really depends if the peanut gallery has faith in the presenter. I'm hoping Mr. Hartman can make an effective presentation."

Selectman Chairman John Stagnone took umbridge to the reference to all three candidates as "retreads" (or "recycled"), terms that were used by this writer. "The three finalists all have multiple years of experience. It's an unfair characterization of town managers in general." Donald Jutton, of Municipal Resources, Inc, the firm the town paid $18,600 to coordinate the search, agreed with Stagnone. Speaking on a phone in the Yaitanes Room Tuesday night, Jutton said, "This is a nomadic profession in tenure. The average term of office is four years. So, negative conclusions shoudn't be drawn by tenure time. it doesn't mean they didn't do the job. They sometimes move up. And, officials change in communities. A majority of your Board may not be there in three years." As for a question asked by Selectman Bob O'Regan, whether they might gain from re-advertising the job and by-passing the final 3, Jutton said there are no guarantees. "You can never say the ideal fish isn't below the boat. But, you had a very good pool. If you google Stoughton, the police department problems surface. Those can be issues for people outside the community."

(Posted on September 18, 2012 @ 9 p.m. Mark Snyder photo)


U.S. Senator Scott Brown Visits Stoughton Resident's Business

U.S. Senator Scott Brown visited a Stoughton resident's family repair shop in Mattapan today. Looking for "Thank You for building this" businesses, he couldn't have picked a better place. Stoughton resident Paul McKeen tells Snyder's Stoughton, "The business was started from scratch by my father in the early 1970's. It is the epitome of a family business, with the third generation now in the business. 7 out of 9 siblings, plus one sister-in-law are actively involved with the day to day operation." McKeen added,  "I am voting for Senator Scott Brown. I like what he stands for. He's bipartisan and I think he's doing a better job than his opponent could do."


Watch the Video!

(Posted on September 17, 2012 @ 4:20 p.m. Courtesy Photo l to r: Andrew McKeen, Steven McKeen, Paul McKeen, Ward McKeen, Gwen McKeen, Sen. Scott Brown, Chris McKeen, David McKeen, Mark McKeen, Karen McKeen. That's 8 out of 9 McKeen siblings. One sister, Liz, missing.
Andrew (son of Paul) makes third generation.)

Meanwhile, Stoughton's Redevelopment Authority
Chairman meets Senate Candidate Liz Warren


Carlos Vargas and Elizabeth Warren

 
Carlos Vargas, an owner of Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester and Stoughton, and Chairman of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, tells About Town that he was thrilled to meet Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate. "I was asked to come to a business event in Dorchester. There were 15 or 20 business owners there. From a business standpoint, I think she represents the little guy, not big business like the typical Republicans. I like Scott,but not his party."


THE EYESORE ON LAMBERT AVENUE

Sherry Radbil, who grew up on McGarvey Road, and whose parents have lived there since 1961, wrote a note to About Town regarding a scheduled hearing on September 20 regarding the abandoned building located at 75 Lambert Avenue, adjacent to the Stoughton Senior Center and Youth Commission building.  Neighbors came out to a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on August 16, 2012 to respond to a proposal for a development of the dilapidated property. Neighbors were shocked the night of the meeting to find that the article was withdrawn from the agenda, with no prior notice given to abutters of the property. Radbil said that "the residents of the area are strongly opposed to the town allowing not just a business, but a business that will bring noise and pollutants into the neighborhood.  Further, the structure is located adjacent to the senior center/youth commission building. The increased traffic of trucks and construction vehicles will pose a danger to the entire area, including the many seniors and youth who frequent that location. The people on Lambert, Rockland, and McGarvey Road have been subjected to the detrimental effects of the trucks at the garage on that site for years, including noise, traffic on narrow side streets, and the odor of diesel fumes."
 
The proposal for a special permit for 75 Lambert Avenue was by David Krivelow, who is represented by Attorney Steve Delamere.  The relief requested is listed as "Wholesale,Transportation and Industrial Item #13, Open Storage of raw material, etc." Krivelow was listed as the owner of Resource Project Group at 120 York Street in Randolph. It is listed under "wrecking and demolition work" on Google.  I tried to contact the company, but the phone was disconnected.  I then dialed David, who is listed as a resident of Eagle Rock Road, and was unable to reach him.  I contacted Delamere last week and requested to speak with Krivelow about his plans. I have not heard from him.  Delamere told me that an application was filed and that it was for an office space "where trucks come and go.  Hard materials may be stored there, but not waste or trash." Delamere pointed out that the property was an eyesore, and that Krivelow was planning on building something that would look good, and would not disrupt the neighborhood any more than the previous occupant did.  But Brian Cuddy and his Rockland Street family, and many other abutters strongly disagree.  
 This Lambert Ave.  property and the senior center are the only non-residential properties in this particular neighborhood, which is located off of Lincoln Street, not far from Shaw's Supermarket plaza. I have written about this closed-up garage before.  It is a KEY piece of ever expanding the senior center and youth commission building!  If the town could purchase this property, they could expand the building and build additional parking.  If you've ever been to an event there, parking IS limited.  The town should shield this property from development, and work to take it via eminent domain or direct purchase.  John Blanchard, an abutter from Rockland Street, wrote to the Board of Selectmen on August 20, "I am writing you in regards to the special permit that has been filed under the Town of Stoughton By-Law of 1970, as amended, Section V, D, Table of use Regulations, Principle Uses, Wholesale, Transportation and Industrial, Item # 13,  in order to have open storage of raw materials, finished goods or construction equipment and structures for storing such equipment as well as an office and storage of equipment for a demolition business to be located at 75 Lambert Ave.  I would like to go on record as a resident of Stoughton and as a owner of property on Rockland Street that I am very much opposed to the use of that property in this manner. This is a residential neighborhood with many young families with little children that would be placed in harms way, not only with the increased traffic and heavy equipment moving through the neighborhood, but also with the storage of demolition materials that could (and probably will) contain hazardous waste. Additionally the property values of the families that reside in this neighborhood will be greatly decreased causing the hard working Stoughton residents of this neighborhood to lose much of the investments they have made in their homes. Please do not let this Special Permit be issued for such a purpose."

Stoughton Board of Selectman Chairman John Stagnone, writing as a private citizen, agreed, writing in part, "The Board of Selectmen has been working with the Planning Board and the Redevelopment Authority on a Master Plan for the whole town. This type of use is not something that is desirable to have in what is largely a residential neighborhood. The previous business there, Donahue Trucking, had numerous complaints, and was a source of a lot of headaches for the neighborhood. The Building Commissioner states that by granting the Special Permit is a way to eliminate an eyesore. I do not see this being the basis for granting a Special Permit, there are other ways the town could and should pursue conditions on this site. I would ask the Zoning Board to deny the Special Permit requested, as it would be detrimental to the neighborhood and all the Master Plan Committee time to finish its work as rezoning this property may be a future recommendation."  

Thomas McGrath, Stoughton's Building Commissioner, said the lot is approximately 1.2 acres, and a large portion (30,918 s.f.) of it is zoned General Business and the remainder is zoned RC, along with the rest of the neighborhood. Kirvelow's intended use is allowable in the GB zone with a Special Permit from the ZBA. While residential use is what one would expect there, and what one would want to encourage, that is not allowed under the current zoning. I think this zoning classification is what caused the present situation of a non-occupied eyesore in a nice neighbrohood, remaining that way for way too long." As for the past use of the property, McGrath wrote, "Historically, Donahue Trucking operated out of this location and, judging by our files, was the source of a lot of headaches for the neighborhood going back to the early 70's.

I am still waiting to hear from Krivelow, the proposed developer, or hear further comment from Attorney Delamere.  When I do, I will update this story.  But, as I currently understand it, no good reasons have been furnished to allow the development, as proposed, to go through.  In addition, the current owner of the building should be forced, by law, to demolish it as a health risk, to residents and public safety officers. The town should explore taking it by eminent domain or by purchase for future uses by our seniors and/or youth.

Go to the ZBA hearing at 7:30 p.m.on September 20 to voice YOUR opinion on the matter (if they actually DO hear it.) 

 

 

Story & Photos by Mark Snyder
Posted on September 17, 2012 @ 8:30 a.m.


TRAGEDY ON CENTRAL STREET--UPDATE
The Shayla Lutz Accident

The name of the young girl killed in the accident described below was Shayla Lutz, age 3, of Stoughton. She was transported from the scene but did not survive her injuries. She was pronounced dead at the Good Samaritan Medical Center.
 
Although the investigation will not be concluded until the collision analysis and reconstruction report has been finalized, the evidence at the scene, interviews with eye witnesses, and other investigation by the Stoughton Police, State Police and Norfolk District Attorney's Office does not support criminal charges in this incident at this time.
 
The investigation has not produced evidence that speed or impairment were a factor in this collision. As the driver of the Angelo's Plumbing truck has not been charged or cited with any infraction and his name is not being released.
 

The Stoughton Police Department and the men and women of the Norfolk District Attorney's Office extend our sympathies to Shayla Lutz's surviving family and friends in this tragic incident. Snyder's Stoughton also sends its deepest condolences. We will let you know when arrangements are made.

 

The Original Story:

A Stoughton toddler reportedly crossing the street with her mother in front of the Hansen School has died after colliding with a passing box truck at approximately 2:45 p.m. The Stoughton Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Crime Scene Services Section, and the Motor Vehicle Homicide Unit of Norfolk District Attorney’s Office are on-scene...
investigating.

The name of the child is not being released until later this evening, allowing time for appropriate family notifications.
The investigation is ongoing. No charges are in place at this time. The driver of the truck stopped at the scene and is being interviewed, as are other eye witnesses to the event.

(Posted at 5 p.m. on September 14, 2012. Updated @ 8:35 p.m.)

Statement from the Stoughton School Committee:

"We, the members of the Stoughton School Committee and Stoughton Public Schools administration, are deeply saddened and offer our condolences to the Lutz family for the death of their little girl.  They are in our thoughts and prayers. 

While Shayla was not a student at Hansen Elementary, this tragedy has deeply affected many people in the Hansen School community. School grief counselors will be available when school resumes from the religious holiday break on Wednesday for any students, staff members, and parents who feel the need to use their services. We are grateful for the offer from the Stoughton police chief Paul Shastany who has been of tremendous help and support to us from the very beginning of this terrible event.  He has facilitated the availability of the State Police trauma team who will also be at the Hansen School on Wednesday.  We will come together as a community to help and support all of our students, teachers, and families impacted by this tragedy.

Pick- and drop-off times are always a concern and we take the issue of safety in school and during arrival and departure from school very seriously.  School officials, in conjunction with Public Safety officials, will carefully review all of the areas around the Stoughton Schools to see if there is any more that can be done to ensure safety for all children using our streets and sidewalks."

 

Statement from Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr.:

"It was an uneventful Friday as I prepared to enjoy the weekend.  My Friday afternoon was shattered upon learning from Fire Chief Dolloff and Police Chief Shastany of the fatal pedestrian accident near the Hansen School.
As one who has lost a child, my heart immediately went out to the family.

While the accident investigation will continue, I wish to communicate to the family the deepest sympathies of the Selectmen, the residents of Stoughton, and from me personally at Shayla's tragic passing.

I will receive a full report of the accident, and then request the Selectmen, the School Committee, Senator Joyce, and Representatives Galvin and Kafka to work with the Town's public safety departments to examine the facts, and hopefully devise an action plan so that such a tragedy will not happen in the future."

THE FUNERAL........A Very Sad Day:

Shayla Ann Lutz, 3, beloved daughter of William Keith Lutz and Melissa J. (Glassett) Lutz of Stoughton, died by accident on Friday, Sept. 14. Born in Weymouth, she was a resident of Stoughton for the past year and a half. She enjoyed playing with her brother and sister, singing, karate, trips to the park, animals and riding a dirtbike. In addition to her parents, Shayla will be missed by her sister Ashleigh E. Lutz and her brother Jeremy L. Lutz.

She was the granddaughter of Kevin and Patricia (Aupperlee) Glassett of Weymouth, Cheryl A. (Emswiler) Knighton and her husband Kent of Maine and William J. Lutz of Weymouth. She was the great granddaughter of Ann (Kavell) DeFreitas of Quincy , Betty Turner of NH, Katherine "Kay" Jenkins of Weymouth, Earl Jenkins, and the late Milton "Pete" Emswiler, Paul "Red" DeFreitas, Ernest Aupperlee, Paul F. Glassett and Grace (Westover) Glassett. She is also survived by two aunts and several great aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Funeral Mass will be held in the Immaculate Conception Church, 122 Canton St. in Stoughton on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 10:30 a.m. Visiting Hours will be held in the Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St. (Rt.27) in Stoughton the day before, on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 5-8 p.m.


The Hansen School PTO has established a trust fund for the Lutz family. Donations may be mailed or made in person to the Stoughton Cooperative Bank branches.

 

Andrew Kellogg, Technical Support Coordinator, Hansen School PTO

School Committee member's letter regarding safety on Central Street @ Hansen & email trail
Traffic Study of the Area

School Committee Response on Central Street Accident


WHO WILL BE THE NEXT TOWN MANAGER?


Paul Shew of Franklin


Kenneth Fields of Boca Raton, FL


Michael Hartman of Canton

Or, will they go in another direction?

The Town Manager Search Committee got what many expected during a three month search to replace former Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster, Jr. was one of the "final seven" who were interviewed by a myriad of questioners on September 12, but was cut from the "final three" submitted to selectmen last night (9/13).

Feaster, whose contract runs through November, told Snyder's Stoughton, "I'm disappointed, but I will continue my initiatives until the new person comes into the office. I plan on leaving the town in a better place. My mission shall continue, and I will remain involved in the town."

Search Committee Chairman Eric Milgroom, a former School Committee Chair, thought of the final three "would do a good job." His Vice Chair, Forrest Lindwall of the Redevelopment Authority said all three were "equally qualified."

From my point of view, I didn't see how any of these candidates---all recycled managers who have held multiple jobs in multiple towns, and gone to multiple interviews--was any more qualified than the current interim. Each, according to Google, has had issues. I thought Hartman came on in the end and was the best of the candidates the Selectmen's interviewed, followed closely by Shew, with Fields lagging way behind. It should be noted that a consulting firm, hired by the Search Committee, attracted 55 applicants for the job. Then, only 23 of those applicants actually bothered to fill out the questionaire which led to interviews. I applaud the work of the TM Search Committee, they all did their due diligence in trying to get the best candidate for the position. But, here is what they ended up with:

Shew has held six municipal management jobs from 1979-2009. He was a finalist last year in North Andover for their town manager position, according to a local paper. His last position was as City Manager of Rye, N.Y. from 2003-2009. He's been a "consultant" since then.

Fields was an administrator in four places in 14 years. Fields got a payout of $160,000 after serving two years as Village Manager in Islamorada, Village of Islands from 2008-2010.

Hartman
is the only one current working in the field, as Town Manager of Jaffrey, NH. , since 2007. He's been a past administrator in Wareham, Medway, and in RI and CT, since 1988. The paper in Wareham had a story from August 17, 2006 headlined, "Hartman should be sent packing." Another paper said he left Medway after "wrestling with selectmen."

But, the business of being Town Manager is so political that an election for selectmen or town council can lead to unemployment. We know that. That shouldn't be held against them. But, repeated positions of short duration are not a good sign. Recent experience here shows those types of records can continue after they serve here, too.

Many of the selectmen seemed to prioritize finding someone ready to do battle with the school department, for funding, procurement, and services. My own feeling---despite the $20,000 expended, I didn't see an "ace" in the hole. I congratulate the residents who volunteered the time on the committee. I point my verbal flashlight at the "consultant" who was paid top dollar to bring in the same old thing. I hope that whoever is chosen will do a great job, for a long time to come. But, I'm not confident, at this point.

Find out on September 18, 2012 @ 7:30 p.m.
Town Hall, 3rd Floor Great Hall

(Photos by Mark Snyder)

(Posted on September 14, 2012 @ 12:25 a.m. )

The Patch Story


STOUGHTON HAS BIG PLANS

 

The Stoughton Chamber of Commerce hosted a dinner meeting at Courtyard by Marriott last night. With delicious food from Smokey Bones Restaurant, and interesting food for thought that followed, the crowd heard from a number of speakers, and then split into small groups to tackle a number of questions supplied by Juliet Walker and Sue Brown of Brown Walker Planners in Newburyport, MA. They were hired by the Master Plan Committee, chaired by Joe Scardino.

Chamber Chairman Chris Petrie hosted the evening. Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster, Jr. was the first to speak, saying that when the Master Plan is completed, and it begins to be instituted, “ Stoughton will become a destination in the State of Massachusetts.” Selectmen Chairman John Stagnone gave kudos to the Chamber, mentioning that “business is a big part of the community.” Town Planner Noreen O’Toole and Scardino, who also chairs the Planning Board, also greeted the crowd.

Brown and Walker did a presentation on “Community Vision.” They said that what the business people in the crowd, as well as residents in the Stoughton community, need to express what they think their community should be. That is the information they are trying to gather. They plan on further “stakeholder interviews”, “visioning sessions”, and “public forum groups” to understand better the needs of the community, both business and residential. They will be studying a number of issues, including traffic, housing, finances, employment, education, public safety, senior services, schools, historic places, and more.

During visioning conversations, small groups tried to identify “a word of phrase you think is a key characteristic of an economically healthy community”, “the town’s principal challenges affecting the town’s economy/business sector”, “tools and strategies that participants believe will help Stoughton improve economically and better support its business sector”, “priorities a master plan should address”, and “tools or strategies to best address those priorities.”

The Town of Stoughton Comprehensive Master Plan visioning will continue on Monday, October 15, 2012 with a Master Plan Community Forum, from 6-9 p.m. at the Stoughton Senior Center, 110 Rockland Street. Transportation and child care will be available on a first come, first serve basis. A light dinner will be provided. Contact stoughtonmp@gmail.com for more information.

In addition, Brown Walker Planners, Inc. is planning focus groups. If you’d like to participate, call Noreen O’Toole at 781-341-1300 x9201. If you’d like to be added to the Master Planning email list, send an email message, with your full name, to stoughtonmp@gmail.com.

The Stoughton Master Planning Committee includes Chairman Scardino of the Planning Board; Vice Chairman Daniel Kelly of the Conservation Commission; John Stagnone of the Board of Selectmen; Forrest Lindwall and Lou Gitto of the Redevelopment Authority, William Angelos of the Planning Board, and Chris Petrie of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce.

Watch the Presentation


STOUGHTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
IMPRESSES THE FBI!

Read The FBI Magazine


STOUGHTON REMEMBERS
September 11, 2001


Capt. Robert O'Donnell photo

Mark Snyder photos


Stoughton Mourns the Loss of Mark Kelley

 

Mark Kelley, a former Selectman, and a long-time town meeting member and precinct chairman, succumbed to a myriad of health issues on Saturday, September 8 at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton at age 58. 

Kelley, who was a member of the Open Space Committee, was known as someone who would look at a problem and come up with solutions, while working with those on opposite sides of the problem. 

Residents of Stoughton poured out their grief on my Facebook page, and in messages to About Town. 

Town Meeting and Disability Commission member Carin Klipp wrote, “I will miss him deeply. God bless his family.” 

Selectman John Anzivino added, “Condolences to the Kelley family, may Mark Rest in Peace.” 

Town Meeting and Conservation Commission member Dori Frankel said, “So sad. Mark was a voice of reason, and such a nice guy. R.I.P. Mark, you will be missed by so many.” 

Former Stoughton Fire Chief Bill Stipp, writing from his home in Colorado, said, “A great man was lost, but to those that knew him - it was always more than being great. He was a genuinely kind man.”

Adds Sharon Fradkin of the Sharon/Stoughton League of Women Voters, “Mark was a good person, who made sense, was intelligent, and a calming influence. He will be missed!”

The official obituary:

Mark Edmund Kelley, former Stoughton Selectman and longtime Town Meeting Representative, died the day after his 58 th birthday, Saturday, September 8, 2012, at Good Samaritan Medical Center following an extended illness. Mark lived his entire life in Stoughton and was active in political and social circles. He attended St. Mary’s School in Stoughton and graduated from Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood. Following his graduation from Bentley College in Waltham with a degree in accounting, he held an executive tax position with Cumberland Farms, Inc., at its national headquarters in Canton. He will be remembered as a generous, gregarious, and family-oriented man, who embraced public service selflessly. No one was a more ardent fan of the New England Patriots football team. He was the son of the late Stoughton Town Moderator William J. Kelley Jr. and Leona Kelley. He is survived by his sister Pamela Murphy ofSanta Monica, CA, and his brothers Dr. William J. Kelley III of Miami, FL, and Brian L. Kelley of Falmouth, MA, along with many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated in Immaculate Conception Church, 122 Canton St., Stoughton on Saturday, September 22 at 10:30 AM.   Burial at sea will occur on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Falmouth, MA.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Mark's memory may be sent to Joslin Diabetes Center, Development Office, 1 Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215.  Arrangements by Farley Funeral Home, Stoughton.  Guestbook and obituary at www.farleyfh.com.

 


JUBINVILLE TOPS GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL RACE

(Primary Results)

Milton attorney wins District 2 on his third try, besting the brother of the past incumbent, the choice of Mayor Tom Menino, and one other. Bob won Stoughton, Sharon, Easton, Avon, Canton, Framingham, Milton, Natick, Needham, Randolph, and Westwood---among others.


THERE'S A NEW REVEREND IN TOWN

Trinity Parish Episcopal Church as welcomed a new priest in charge.  About Town wants the community to know about the dynamic Rev. Laurie Rofinot.  Reverend Rofinot is a priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts, and has served as a field education supervisor and community organizer. She was previously with St. James Church in Cambridge. Laurie has been on the Massachusetts Clergy Association (MECA) board for four years and currently serves as its treasurer. Laurie has been married to Patrick Michaels since 1980, and they have one teenage daughter, Marian.

The Church, located at 414 Sumner Street, has a full calendar of upcoming events.  Sunday, September 16th will be Rev. Rofinot's first official Sunday service.  There will be a service at 9:30 a.m., followed by a celebratory breakfast in the Parish Hall.  John Kingsbury, the Senior Warden, would like to see members of the community some to the service and breakfast.  On the Church's website, leadership writes, "This marks the beginning of a bright new era for Trinity. We hope everyone will attend this mass and celebration, and invite your friends along with parishioners who may not have been regular attendees. It will also provide an opportunity to thank the Profile and Search Committee members who worked with patience and diligence for so long."   It should be noted that two members of Stoughton's School Committee are also on Trinity Church's leadership team.  Vestry members include Tom Colburn and Deborah Sovinee.


STOUGHTON MOURNS THE LOSS OF JERRY SAVAGE

 

 

Personally, I am deeply saddened by the passing Monday night of Jerald S. Savage, a CPA with Wallace, Savage & Davis in Stoughton. Jerry Savage was a vice chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and was te campaign treasurer for former selectman John Anderson’s campaign.  Savage was a financial wizard who helped to save Curry College, and did the same for New England Sinai Hospital. He and his lovely wife Sheryl, Executive Director of College Advancement at Massasoit Community College in Canton, were very active at Ahavath Torah Congregation (where he served as President), and were very generous with their time and funds for many local charities.   In addition to his bride, Jerry leaves his son Michael and his wife Karen; his daughter Karen and her husband Tom, and grandson Brody and granddaughter Anya, and his late grandson, Cole Benjamin. 

 

Savage’s Funeral will take place Friday, August 31, at Ahavath Torah Congregation, 1179 Central Street at 1 p.m. Memorial observance will take place at his home Sunday through Tuesday nights, with Minyan at 7:30 p.m.  Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, who is leading the funeral, told About Town, "He was a great man with a giant heart who would do anything for his community."  Per the family's wishes and request, donations in Jerry's memory may be directed to the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund, c/o ATC, 1179 Central Street, Stoughton, MA 02072.

(Posted on August 30, 2012 @ 8 a.m.)


Stoughton Generous With Taxpayer Money

Stoughton Selectmen were generous with taxpayer's hard-earned money Tuesday night, voting to give $2200 toward half the travel, hotel and meal expenses of the final seven candidates for the Town Manager's position.  That brings the total of the nationwide "search" to $21,100.  Forrest Lindwall of the Citizens Search Committee thought it was only fair.  "The final seven candidates did the best on our consultants questionnaires and in their interviews. And, they bring innovative ideas regarding sharing of personnel and equipment in tight financial times."  But, Selectman Cynthia Walsh railed against the idea, adding, "You can imagine my dismay that people are being flown in long distance. I wanted someone from New England, at least. I don't want on the job training on our local laws and customs. They should have lots of Massachusetts experience. It's getting really expensive---over $21,000 now."  

Recently, in U.S. World & News Reports, Alison Green wrote about this exact thing.  She noted, "Before the economy went south, employers would almost always pick up the tab for candidates traveling for job interviews—flights, hotels, and sometimes even meals and entertainment. But in this market, with tight budgets and plenty of local candidates to choose from, employers are increasingly declining to pay for applicants’ travel costs."  But, in Stoughton, spending OUR money went through with flying colors, supported by Selectmen John Stagnone, John Anzivino, Steve Anastos, and Bob O'Regan.  Walsh was the only one who opposed it.  Would we have lost an amazing candidate if we said no?  Probably not.  Many do not expect in this economy to have their expenses picked up.  At the suggestion of O'Regan, and with Stagnone's backing, however, the Search Committee's consultant contacted Stoughton Chamber Executive Director Terry Schneider, and the candidates will stay at the Marriott Courtyard at a discounted rate, with a welcoming gift, as well. This came to fruition due to an email and some phone calls made by Schneider.

Regarding this above article, O'Regan responded, ""We are hiring the chief executive officer for a complex organization with a budget of about $80 million, in very difficult times. We face significant challenges to catch up on deteriorating or inadequate public buildings (like the fire station and high school), improve our infrastructure and build our tax base. As a percentage of the town budget, and bearing in mind the skills and talents we want to recruit in our next town manager, $2200 to split extraordinary travel expenses for applicants is more than reasonable. In the business world where so many of us work, the process we are using is the norm for finding senior management for a large organization like the town. It is very much like the process used for the current police chief and the first town planner, Both of those selections proved to be well worth the expense and effort. I do not understand why we would be wise to use an inferior process or cut corners too sharp for fillng the top job in town government."

(Posted on August 30, 2012 @ 8:30 a.m.)


TOUGH TRAVELS AT TOWN HALL

With the roof work disabling the front steps and side entrance of town hall, it’s become difficult to navigate the building.  Tuesday, it became an impossibility for seniors and those who are disabled to go anywhere in Town Hall.  The elevator there “blew a seal” and is no longer operable.    Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. moved the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night to the Stoughton Police Station’s Community Room.  By law, the town must have their posted meetings in a handicapped-accessible spot.  Unfortunately, the show will never end up on TV.  Steve Innis, the Executive Director of Stoughton Media Access Corporation, told Snyder’s Stoughton that “all the portable cameras were signed out.”  Hence, it won’t be taped for later airplay.   As it stands, parking is tougher to find around Town Hall, and navigating the building—even for those who’ve been throughout it regularly—is a bit confusing. Although signs are up, I still found myself reaching for the wrong doors, as I entered from the basement.  The end result—of a new roof—will be well worth it.  But, the inconvenience to residents is just another aggravation that we taxpayers must bear. 

Feaster reports that the elevator was operational at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 30. He writes, " Thanks to Building Superintendent Robert Grover, United Elevator Company of Hingham and Cyr Environmental, the Town Hall elevator is operating.  Knowing that many Stoughton residents, particularly our seniors, come to Town Hall to pay their water bills, the Treasury staff sprung into action on their own accord and set up a 'payment command post' in the basement entrance way. This is what serving the public is all about.  I applaud the dedication and quick thinking of the Treasurer's office staff."

 


 

FREEMAN STREET FIRE STATION:

“DISGUSTING, DISGRACEFUL

 

Selectmen, meeting this week in the Stoughton Police Station’s Community Room, were surrounded by members of the Stoughton Fire Department. They came to emphasize just how bad the Freeman Street fire station is to live and work. Firefighter Jeff Ledin said that the town has been putting “Band Aids” on the station, which is literally falling apart. He got up to speak when Selectman Cynthia Walsh mentioned that she didn’t think the Finance Committee would pay for repairs not of an “emergency” nature. Ledin stated, “I consider this an emergency. It’s a disgusting, disgraceful place to be. If residents walk in front of the station, there’s cement falling off the roof. It is an emergency.”

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Greg Goldberg said that not much money has been spent on maintaining the Freeman Street station. “We have tried to keep the station in good repair. The bathrooms and kitchen are deplorable. The public would not stand for it. But, we live there seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All we’re asking for is livable and safe conditions.”

Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. toured the building. He told Selectmen, “The roof will be done. It’s in dire need. If these funds are not available for dire necessities for living and work space, then we need to find a way to do these things. We don’t want to see an injury to our firemen or have an agency come in and tell us what to do. I know we have financial limitations, but we need to fix where they eat, sleep and bathe. I’d hate to tell them we can’t do that. We’re being hogtied and not able to address their needs.” What Feaster referred to was Article 48 of May 3, 2010 Town Meeting, which provided $610,000 for a number of projects in town, including $130,000 specifically for the roof, floor, and other needs as outlined in a $200,000 study, chaired by resident and former selectmen Dick Fitzgerald. Feaster was trying to point out that the needs at the station may have changed in over two years since the vote. Selectman Bob O’Regan said the town needed a “well-defined action plan.” A motion by Walsh to have the Town Manager follow the Article 48 vote, and go by what was defined in the 2010 Town Meeting Warrant, passed 3-2. Chairman John Stagnone and Selectman John Anzivino opposed the motion. O’Regan and Selectman Steve Anastos supported it. I am sure that some of the projects outlined in that vote will be fast-tracked. All the other necessary repairs could be included in a request at a Special Town meeting. Speed is of the essence. We should not force our employees to work in such a substandard environment.

(Posted on August 28, 2012 @ 10:45 p.m.)

 


A DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN

Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. will be honored at the Boston Branch of the NAACP’s Annual Freedom Fund Dinner.  Stoughton’s Interim Town Manager will receive a “Distinguished Service Award.”  The former President of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, Feaster will collect his award at a gala dinner on Saturday, September 15 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston.   Other honorees include Dr. Charles Ogletree, Jr., Louis A. Elisa, Deborah Enos, Tulaine Montgomery, Charlotte Nelson and Dr. JudyAnn Bigby.  The keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP.  Congratulations!
 

(Posted on 8/30/12 @ 11 p.m.)


 SALUTING PRESIDENT ROWE

 

Stoughton Town Accountant William “Bill” Rowe was elected President of the Massachusetts Municipal Auditors and Accountants Association for the Fiscal Year 2013.  The mission of the association is the development of a closer relationship and understanding among those concerned with municipal accounting and finance in Massachusetts; the discussion and analysis of problems relating to municipal finance under the laws of Massachusetts; and other objectives of mutual interest to Massachusetts municipal accounting officers.  It provides a training program that can lead to a “Certified Governmental Accountant” designation, which is increasingly in demand by Massachusetts municipalities. Rowe joined the association in 2001, when he worked for the Town of Braintree.  It will be ten years that Rowe has worked for the Town of Stoughton as Town Auditor, then Town Accountant (a switch only in titles, not responsibilities.) on September 18.  Rowe was elected to the MMAAA Executive Board in 2007, and during Fiscal Year 2012 he served as First Vice President.Rowe told Snyder’s Stoughton that he’s appreciative of the prestigious position he is in. “It’s nice to be recognized for leadership capabilities by your peers. I was honored to be nominated for the Executive Board as well. It’s a great organization. They do a lot of training, and counsel to municipal accountants around the State.”   Congratulations!

 

(Mark Snyder photo. Posted on 8/30/12 @ 11 p.m.)


 

 

 ANDERSON ON THE MOVE


Former Stoughton Board of Selectman Vice- Chairman John Anderson, who serves as Representative for the Town of Stoughton on the Norfolk County Advisory Board, has been appointed to the Advisory Board's Finance Committee by Fred Koed, Board Chairman of Cohasset.

 

Anderson will serve with Owen Dugan (Fin. Com. Chair) of Wellesley, Carl Balduf of Plainville, Robert Purdy of Dover, and Paul Connors of Randolph. The vacancy was created in April when Frank Hegarty resigned from the Advisory Board. Mr. Anderson was appointed to the Norfolk County Advisory Board by a unanimous vote of the Stoughton Board of Selectman on December 22, 2010.  Stoughton is one of twenty eight towns in Norfolk County. Each town has one representative on the Advisory Board. 

Anderson wrote Snyder’s Stoughton, "I am pleased and honored to be appointed by the Advisory Board Chairman to the Finance Committee and look forward to this assignment and working with the other members of the committee to meet the needs of our county and my hometown of Stoughton."

 

(Posted on August 30, 2012 @ 11:05 p.m.)

 


Police Chief Gets Three Year Contract

 

Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany, recovering from back surgery, got good new Tuesday night. The Board of Selectmen gave final approval to a three year contract for him. Terms were not announced. Selectman Chairman John Stagnone said, “The contract recognizes the work Chief Shastany has done, and the work ahead. There’s an incentive included for achieving accredited status. We’re excited to be working with him when he returns from sick leave.”

(Posted on August 28, 2012 @ 10:50 p.m.)


Town Manager Search Co$t$ UP

 

The Board of Selectmen approved spending $20,000 on a Town Manager search. They hired a consultant for $18,900. That consultant has narrowed down the field of candidates to seven. Now, members of the Citizen Town Manager Search Committee received $2200 to cover some of the expenses of flying candidates into town. Chairman Eric Milgroom and Vice Chair Forrest Lindwall explained that the money would pay for about 50% of the applicant’s costs. Selectman Cynthia Walsh didn’t want to hear about it. She said, “You can imagine my dismay that people are flying in long distance. I want someone at least from New England. I don’t want on the job training. They should have lots of Massachusetts experience. It’s getting really expensive---over $21,000 so far.” But, Lindwall said that “the final seven ranked high on their essay questions and interviews with our consultant. They have experience on working with other communities, sharing equipment and personnel. That could be the future.”

(Posted on August 28, 2012 @ 11:10 p.m.)

 


 

A $500,000 SURPRISE FOR STOUGHTON OFFICIALS

 

When the Transportation Bond Bill was signed, sealed and delivered to the Governor’s desk from the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, it had a few goodies inside for the good people of Stoughton.  $100,000 was included for a study of the downtown.  $175,000 was included to help buy the Stoughton Railroad Station from the MBTA.   Most shockingly, was the section that included, “that not less than $500,000 be expended for signalization improvements at the intersection of Ethyl Way, Erin Road, and Central Street in the town of Stoughton, including, but not limited to, installation of a traffic light and improvements to the roadway and sidewalks.”

We all know that Central Street is loaded with traffic, and has some notoriously dangerous intersections (West and Central, Washington and Central, Mill and Central, Island and Central—just to name a few). But, Ethyl Way & Central were never in that mix.

 

Stoughton Police safety officer Lt. Michael Blount told About Town that “there hasn’t been a problem at that intersection. I’d rather see money go to traffic lights at Central & Island, Central & Mill, Central & Tosca, or Central & West. Those are places where we need the help, in my opinion. Putting a light at Ethyl Way, Erin Road and Central Street will make it a longer commute for those using Central Street. Any traffic light will slow you down, unless is activated only by a car. Maybe if the Chapter 40B (Woodbridge) is built, that will lead to infrastructure improvements. We have major problems on that roadway, but not at Ethyl Way and Erin Road.”

 

Superintendent of Public Works John Batchelder was just as mystified.  “I had not a bit of input into this,” he told me.  “We’re in the process with a Brockton agency of doing a study of Central Street from the Avon line to Cobbs Corner to see what we can do to improve the safety, and alleviate the traffic, on the road. The biggest concern was Mill Street.  We tried to help then.  When and if Woodbridge is built the developer is supposed to re-align the West Street intersection on their dime.”  Batchelder worries about safety issues on Central Street.  Island Street concerns me the most, because of the hills.  It is much more involved in trying to improve that area. Getting out of Tosca Drive and taking a left back on Central Street is nearly impossible. I’d have picked three or four ahead of the one they chose. But, I had no input.” 

 

Planning Board Chairman Joe Scardino said he was not aware of the $500,000 traffic light and road improvement project at Erin Road and Ethyl Way until a reporter asked him about it.   “It certainly never came before the Planning Board. Not sure if it was a District 5 (State) decision or if Mr. Batchelder requested it. Could be the brains of the State that we needed it. We’ve certainly talked about the timing of lights up and down Central Street, but nothing like that.  Since none of us knew about it, it must be the State. That’s why we’re doing a Master Plan, to touch all the local groups and find out what their needs are.  They didn’t come to public parties about this. Town officials should have been involved in the decision-making. I was certainly not at the State House lobbying for those lights. There were others I would have lobbied for.”

State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton) and State Reps Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton) and William Galvin (D-Canton) were the folks who got the over $750,000 in total for the Town in the Transportation Bond Bill.    Senator Joyce, who is Chairman of the Senate’s Bonding Committee, told me Wednesday afternoon that the earmarks were all put in by Lou, Bill or himself. As for the traffic lights at Erin Road and Ethyl Way, Joyce said, “I know it was a request from the House. We kept it in.”  He was told me he was not aware that the location is directly in front of Knollsbrook, a condominium community where Lou Kafka has resided since he moved to Stoughton from Sharon. “I have no information on that.  First I’ve heard of it,” Joyce added.   Kafka told me he included the request because Knollsbrook’s residents have been looking for a traffic light there for over 20 years. “Even before I moved in, people wanted to be able to get in and out,” he told me.  I asked about other intersections that seemingly needed the traffic lights more urgently. Kafka replied, “Island Street needs a whole study in itself. I don’t think it would have gone anywhere. It’s a much larger problem because it affects Central Street. It would have taken specific language from the State, and not just a traffic light. We’re working with the town and their master plan in dealing with Island Street and Mill Street.”

I also spoke with former Selectman Dick Levine, who is now the President of the Knollsbrook Condominium Complex.   He told me, “We really haven’t been pushing it. I found out it was included in the bill.  It wasn’t because we did anything. Many years ago we tried, but nothing recent. It’s a busy street.  There are sidewalks there already. But, there’s a lot of traffic, and on Ethyl Way the line of sight is very tough. I know that before I moved here seven years ago, they tried to get lights. It hasn’t come up in the last four years of Board meetings.” 

One town official, speaking with anonymity, told About Town, “I have never heard of the State paying for a traffic signal and its ancillary support, without a qualified study, and without any prior meetings with town officials.  Never. Ever.”

A Knollsbrook resident, Jessica, told me that, “It’s not usually an issue for me getting out of there. That’s crazy. I think lights are needed in other places before there.”

 

Another resident, Barbara, told About Town, “Sometimes it is really hard to take a left turn in the morning, and then again around 5ish. During the rest of the day, I don’t have a problem.”

But, Sharon tells me, “My daughter lives in Knollsbrook. Her husband got in an accident pulling out of Erin Rd. A traffic light at Island, Erin or Ethyl would be helpful to all condo owners in the area.”

I applaud the work of our legislators for bringing the money back into Stoughton.  But, it seems clear in this case that this $500,000 project may not be the best one for the Town of Stoughton.  I hope that the money can be utilized at whatever intersection is recommended by the study being done under contract to the town, and with the input of paid employees who specialize in these things, like the Town Planner, Town Engineer, Town Manager, DPW Superintendent, and the Fire and Police Departments.  Maybe it ends up being the one at Knollsbrook—or maybe not.

 

(Posted on August 16 @ 1 p.m.)

 

 


REGISTER TO VOTE!!!

 

Friday, August 17, is the last day for Voter Registration.  Usually the Town Clerk's office is open on the last day of voter registration until 8 p.m.

Notice Under Section 51 of Chapter 239 of the Acts of 2012. The State has changed the registration session until 5 p.m. (instead of 8 p.m.) due to the fact that most town halls are closed or only open until Noon on Fridays.  

The Stoughton Town Clerk's Office will be open 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 17 for voter registration. VOTE!

 


 

 

Freeman Street Fire Station Conditions "Deplorable"

Town Manager Joseph P. Feaster, Jr. and Fire Chief Mark Dolloff told Selectmen on August 14th that the Stoughton Fire Station on Freeman Street is "deplorable" and could pose a safety hazard to employees. The Town has been looking into building a new public safety facility, but Feaster pointed out that the earliest anything could be built is 3-5 years. He urged Selectmen to put an item on a Special Town Meeting warrant to pay for necessary repairs to the Freeman Street location, as recommended by Building Maintenance Supervisor Robert Grover.

READ THE RECOMMENDED IMPROVEMENTS

 


TRAIN STATION COULD BE FOCAL POINT OF DOWNTOWN

Stoughton has actually got some of the tax money that we all pay into the State flowing back to us. Thanks to the work of State Reps William Galvin (D-Canton) and Lou Kaka (D-Stoughton), along with State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton), the town will receive $750,000 for three items. $500,000 for a traffic light and sidewalk improvements on Central Street by Ethyl Way & Erin Road (adjacent to the Knollsbrook condos and down the street from the latest approved Chapter 40B project, Woodbridge); $100,000 for a study of the downtown; and $175,000 towards the purchase of the Stoughton Train Station at market rate. All of these were tucked into the Transportation Bond Bill that passed the House and Senate. So, we decided to ask a number of town officials their thoughts on the train station and its thirty parking spaces. What are the possibilities?

Selectman Bob O’Regan was the most enthusiastic official I spoke with. He said, “I think that the town should purchase the train station for $1 from the MBTA. The bond bill provides 175k from the State, and we should pay $175,001. That would be fine. The idea behind the station and the 30 surrounding parking spaces is that it should be an architectural focal point for bringing the downtown back. August 10 th, the South Coast Rail Committee presented concepts to the Board of Selectmen that including use of the station, and then acquiring the post office space to create green space, or a park in the square, around which businesses could be located, and desirable housing could be developed.” He gave kudos to our Beacon Hill reps, adding, “To me the inclusion of 100,000 dollars in funding for the planning of the downtown is great work by our legislative team in the Transportation Bond Bill. In addition to the master plan and visioning, we should open up request requests for proposals to urban planning and design teams. Like the companies that developed Mashpee Commons, and Quincy Center’s multi-billion dollar rejuvenation by private developers. This was because Quincy put it to bid. One of the things we should be doing is getting ideas from the marketplace and then using the $175,000 for the train station, to try to work on a public-private partnership. It’s been two years since that idea came from the South Coast Rail Committee. It’s a highly visible beautiful piece of property. I’m troubled that it’s been two years and nothing has happened again. SRA is getting a handle on the actual value of the property and what we could do with it.” O’Regan wanted me to close my eyes and think of the downtown: “Picture this: You drive into the square, from Honeydew to the Train Station it could be green space, with businesses built around it. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Carlos Vargas, the Chairman of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, sent the following statement to Snyder’s Stoughton after I had contacted several members of the SRA for their opinions on the train station. He told them he’d rather have the Authority send a single joint statement. Here it is: “ The Stoughton Redevelopment Authority has committed to ‘assist’ the town in the acquisition of the Train Station Depot Building and adjacent 30 parking spaces, as part of our overall goal to redevelop the downtown area. To date, we have met with the Interim Town Manager and members of the Board of Selectman to discuss the possible acquisition and retained an independent consultant who conducted an inspection of the building on August 6 th, which we attended. Special thanks to Fran DeCoste of Transit Realty Associates, a Stoughton resident, for opening the building for our inspector. The inspection report will identify all items of repair/rehab that will be necessary to restore the building for occupancy by a potential tenant exclusive of interior tenant fit up. The report will also include estimated costs for the repair/rehab effort and we should have it by the end of this week. We are willing to partner with other agencies, and we see additional funds available from the state, as a positive accelerator to execute our plan. We need to keep in mind that our objective is to serve the town as a conduit to positive development, meaning increasing our tax base, and improving conditions for business and the community.” In a phone conversation Tuesday night, Vargas said that, “We’ve spoken to the post office. The train station could be their kiosk in town. Maybe we could have them relocate and use their land for parking, or to look for a developer for another project there. These are all ideas at this stage. I was shocked at how nice the inside of the building was when I took the inspection tour. It could be a perfect spot for the post office. Or, maybe a famous chef with deep pockets will want to open up a unique type of restaurant there. The possibilities are endless.”

Roberto Soto of the Redevelopment Authority sent me his opinion, as well. He wrote, "My position is simple, the train station is a key component to the downtown redevelopment, especially with the 30+ parking spaces that would be made available to the businesses around the center. I have always believed that one of our goal is to increase the town tax base through the responsible re-development of the community, so purchasing the train station offers a great opportunity to do so."

Interim Town Manager Joseph P. Feaster, Jr. said simply, “It’s my bosses (the Board of Selectmen) call. I’m certainly happy about what our delegation did to secure funds. We’re pleased with the grants for study and acquisition. That’s what will be vetted at a public meeting of the Board of Selectmen about the train station in September. What should occur there is not my call.”

John Stagnone, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, texted, “Mark, the redevelopment authority hired a company to review the station. Until I see the report, I cannot say either way whether I support the purchase or not. I would like to purchase it, but it has to make sense for the town from a cost and use factor. We are short on office space in the town hall, so I would start by looking at the needs of town departments, whether a department or departments could be moved.”

Selectman John Anzivino had some ideas about the train station. He told me, “I’d really like to see a little café or diner in there. It would be nice to get something like that. I’m assuming that they will ask that part of the building be set aside to serve commuters. Now, I’m hoping we can get the State to release the funds.” Anzivino has toured the building and said, “When we went through it, I was surprised at how good the condition of the building was. But, it still needs a lot of work. If I private company fell into the downtown plan, I’d have no problem with that. I wouldn’t mind seeing some kind of public-private partnership. I’d like to see this start moving along. The local residents and businesses raised a great sum of money to update the building, and the MBTA let it get into disrepair. It was a working train station. I used to take it to Boston in 1979, and buy a coffee and paper there.”

(Posted on August 16 @ 8 p.m.)

 

 


 

SOMETHING ROTTEN at ROTTENBERG CENTER'S HOUSE---
the continuing saga....

Another day, another incident at a Judge Rottenberg facility. On Saturday, August 4th, Stoughton Police say that a teenager incited a riot at the JRC house on Park Street, located right next to the town-owned Cedar Hill Golf Course. Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine tells Snyder's Stoughton that the incident occurred at 11:30 a.m. Arrested was 17-year-old Jakob Moran of Brooklyn, New York. He was charged with Assault and Battery with a dangerous weapon, Assault & Battery, and Inciting a Riot. In addition, a juvenile will be summonsed to court for Assault and Battery charges, according to XO Devine. According to local sources, two staff members were injured, but neither sought medical assistance.


Jacob Moran (SPD Booking Photo)

This particular house has seen similar occurances, as have some of their other properties around town. On Saturday, November 7, 2011, an incident was reported to the Stoughton Police Department at 8:25 p.m. at thisJudge Rotenberg Center’s “group home” at 1115 Park Street in Stoughton. Stoughton Police Executive Director Robert Devine told Snyder’s Stoughton, “We had to call in mutual aid. We’d like to thank the Canton Police for their effort.” Devine explained that when police arrived three residents of the house—a 20 year old and two 16 year olds---had barricaded themselves in a room. Devine said, “They had assaulted staff and were throwing things at them. The staff called police. Officer McNamara was charged with trying to talk them out of the room. They were uncooperative and threatened to attack police if they came in after them. When Canton Canine Officer Scott Brown and his dog Bosco arrived on scene, the three heard the dog and surrendered.”

The 20 year old young adult, Eyheen Fountain, and the two juveniles (who were not named by police) were charged with Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (dishes and frying pans), vandalizing property and Assault & Battery. The three were all placed under arrest. Fountain was arraigned that same morning and released back to the Park Street home. The juveniles were due later in the week at juvenile court. Devine said that the quick call to police on November 7 night was “a marked departure from the JRC’s past policies and procedures.”

XO Devine estimated there are at least seven JRC homes in Stoughton. He added, “By the time we’re notified, they are already set up and running. It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from them—maybe nine months to a year. Previous to that, we had a stretch two years ago when we got called every week, with a large volume of calls. We voiced our displeasure and met with their management. We made our recommendations, and they instituted many of them. We’ve had a lull until the November 7, 2011 call.”

In that November 7 incident, there were staff members with injuries like cuts, bruises and busted lips, according to Devine. This particular JRC group home is located adjacent to the Cedar Hill Golf Course, and almost diagonally across the street from Selectman Cynthia Walsh’s home. Walsh told Snyder’s Stoughton, “I wasn’t aware of any problems at the Rotenberg house. No one called me or came to my door. But, I’ve never had a problem there. You’d never know they were there. I’ve never witnessed or heard anything unusual. I see the white van when it goes back and forth.” Walsh said she is more concerned about an arson fire in her backyard that is still unsolved. “I know that the JRC kids didn’t do it. So, I think I have more to fear from others in the town rather than the residents there.” Walsh said that they bought the house over four years ago, and moved in recently. “I’d rather have an occupied property than one that is vacant. But, it would be nice if they made people aware of where they were. They used to have neighborhood meetings. ”

JRC Attorney Mike Flammia responded to a call for more information about security precautions in the homes, as well as how the safety of staff and neighbors are protected. He told me, “All the houses are fully equipped with security. They are fully secure. None of the students got out Saturday night.” He said if a student does get out, they let neighbors know. He also said that, “The students receive excellent treatment there. They have behavioral problems and the staff is trained on how to handle students. They go through weeks and months of training on how to respond. They have equipment to prepare them for situations. They are trained in how to react to crisis situations. They are trained on how to restrain the student or to call 911--which is what they did here.” When I asked how many JRC homes were in Stoughton, Flammia said he didn’t know. When I asked why neighbors are no longer notified of these homes, he said, “You can’t discriminate against group homes. You can’t prevent them. It’s illegal. These children are entitled to their education and to live wherever JRC purchases homes. There’s no need for neighbors to be concerned in terms of safety or anything else.”

According to Wikipedia, “ The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC, formerly known as the Behavior Research Institute) is a school for special needs students that operates in Canton, Massachusetts, providing applied behavior analysis and educational services to children and adults with severe developmental disabilities and emotional or behavior disorders, as well as providing respite care to their primary caregivers.” Additionally, the site talks about the history of the program, adding, “The center was founded as the Behavior Research Institute in 1971 by Matthew L. Israel, a psychologist who trained with B. F. Skinner. In 1994 the center changed its name to the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center ‘to honor the memory of the judge [who] helped to preserve [the] program from extinction at the hands of state licensing officials in the 1980’s.’ It has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charging $220,000 a year for each student. The Judge Rotenberg Center treatment goals include a near-zero rejection/expulsion policy, active treatment with a behavioral approach directed exclusively towards normalization, frequent use of behavioral rewards and punishment, video monitoring of staff and the option to use aversives, the most controversial of which is the use of electric shocks. The final item has provoked considerable controversy and has led to calls from several disability rights groups to call for human protection from behavior modification, behavior therapy, and applied behavior analysis approaches. In May 2011, Matthew Israel was charged with misleading a grand jury over the school's destruction of the tapes, as well as being an accessory after the fact. Israel resigned his position at the JREC in a deferred prosecution plea deal with the Massachusetts State Attorney General's office. The JREC is currently administered by a court-appointed monitor.” I have written extensively about this company (see “Something’s Rotten at Rotenberg Center”). Dr. Israel dodged me for weeks to evade conversing about what went on behind closed doors in their facilities, a half dozen years ago. They gave me a “tour” of the Canton school, which was carefully scripted. When a “student” tried to talk to me, they yanked him away. I know that I have spoken to parents of students in this program, and they have praised it. Many told me it was their “last straw” for their children, and their family. They just couldn’t do anything more for them. One told me that the JRC was “a blessing” for their family.

But, Stoughton seems to have more of these homes than any other town. It may be good for the students, but I don’t see how it can be good for the neighborhood, no matter how you spin it.

(Posted on August 6, 2012 @ 10:30 a.m. Mark Snyder photo and Stoughton Police Department Mug Shot)

 


 

MONEY INCLUDED FOR TRAIN STATION
In Transportation Bond Bill

 

Stoughton's State House representation, Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) and Representatives Bill Galvin (D-Canton) and Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton) have passed legislation that provides at least $175,000 in matching grant funds to the town of Stoughton for the purpose of purchasing or refurbishing the old MBTA Stoughton Railroad Station on Wyman Street.

The Transportation Bond Bill that came out of a conference committee of three Representatives and three Senators, including Joyce, provides flexibility for the town and allows them the first say in the future of the property.

The language in the bill directs the MBTA to convey the 6,100 square foot property, including 30 adjacent parking spaces, to the town for “fair market value.” It also provides $175,000 in matching funds to help the town purchase the property and allows the town to pay off the purchase over ten years with no interest.

“Throughout the meetings I’ve had with both MBTA and Stoughton town officials, it has been clear that everyone wants an equitable and profitable solution that benefits the town and its residents,” said Joyce. “Once we were able to press pause on the private sale of the property, we were able to focus on giving the town the most significant voice in how the station fits into the future economic vitality of the surrounding area and the entire town.”

"I was pleased to see that our House amendment was included in the final bill," added Rep. Galvin. "These provisions are great for Stoughton and will provide the town with options on how the area is developed," he concluded.

On July 16, Sen. Joyce and Reps. Galvin and Kafka met with MBTA and town officials at the station to tour the building and talk about its needs and potential.

Since that time, the Legislature has been working on a favorable agreement that would allow the town to purchase the property for use or to sell or lease for private use. When the MBTA listed the property for private sale, the legislators were able to get the sale halted until the town could first say whether or not it wanted the property.

The bill now heads to Governor Deval Patrick.

--From a news release by State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton)

(Posted on August 3, 2012 @ 8 p.m.)


FEASTER FIGHTS BACK ON ANONYMOUS COMPLAINTS

The Stoughton Board of Selectmen and members of the press (myself included) recently received anonymous mailings postmarked from Sharon, which included press clippings from the Boston Globe and the Bay State Banner from 2004, concerning conflict of interest charges against Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., who was then President of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Boston.

Some members of the Board of Selectmen, as well as I, have also received anonymous calls, emails and texts accusing Feaster of going by train into his Boston law office, while on the clock as the Interim Town Manager. Also, certain members of the Board of Selectmen heard this directly from employees working in Town Hall.

I’ll admit that About Town was skeptical to begin with about these accusations. One of the calls, accusing Feaster of parking his car at Town Hall and traveling via train to Boston, came to me when I was in a town building for a meeting, and Feaster was there, too. 

But, the story became a recurrent one, and the accusations became so widespread that I constantly heard them from a number of residents.  I decided to look into the merits of the situation with a reporter’s eye.  None of the alleged accusers would speak on the record. In addition, there are political ramifications with Feaster in the running for the permanent Town Manager position. He is under contract as Interim Town Manager until November 30, 2012. He has served in an interim capacity since April 1, 2012.

First of all, concerning the 2004 press clips, While on the Boston ZBA, Attorney Feaster was representing developer Joe LaRusa, whose projects had significant neighborhood opposition. But, Feaster recused himself from all ZBA votes on LaRusa’s projects. Still, all but one of LaRusa's projects passed the ZBA. 

Feaster also came under fire for claiming Boston as his primary residence. His car was registered to his home in Stoughton (Feaster has had a residence in Stoughton since 1998). But, he also lived in a Roxbury home, he maintained.

The clippings reported that Boston Mayor Tom Menino removed Feaster from the ZBA.  Feaster told About Town that he stepped down from the ZBA position: “I resigned from the position after serving 11 years, 3 as Chairman. It was simply too much aggravation.”  

Bottom Line: The State Ethics Commission, in a letter dated August 3, 2005, said they were “not going to investigate the matter further.” 

He had inadvertently signed three decisions that he had recused himself from.  Ethics Commission Senior Investigator David Giannotti had asked him to “read what you sign before signing it, since signing a decision involving a client raises 23 (b) (3) issues.”

And, that was the end of the story.

Which brings us back to the accusations that Feaster has been traveling via train to Boston to his law office at McKenzie & Associates, P.C.    

His biography at the firm’s website doesn’t mention his current position as Interim Town Manager in the Town of Stoughton.  It speaks about his extensive law and municipal experience (as is appropriate for a legal site.)

Feaster’s Employment Agreement with the Town of Stoughton allows him to participate in “teaching, writing, speaking, consulting (including legal consulting and/or advice) on personal time. Said activities and compensation, if any from said activities, are expressly permitted, provided that in no case is any activity allowed which would present a conflict of interest with the Town of Stoughton or interfere with his duties as Interim Town Manager.”

Feaster allowed About Town full access to his calendar, which covered all the time he has served since taking the job.  Aside from vacation days, his calendar seemed jammed full.  In fact, each time I have had appointments with him, there were people waiting before and after I left.  

Feaster said he granted access to the calendar “because I was to put this issue to bed.” 

Feaster told me, “I’ve been in the game long enough. I know what folks will do. I don’t get near the line. Certain people can dance on the line and nothing happens to them. I won’t even take a car or cell phone from the town.”  

The Attorney, who is paid about $11,666 per month, receives no benefits from the town, except a week’s vacation that was added to his Extension of Employment Agreement (his original interim contract was extended in July as the permanent Town Manager search continues).

As for all these various charges leveled at him, he wonders why all the accusations have been anonymous. “If they have the evidence, let them come up to the third floor [of Town Hall] and face me. They have no guts and they don’t have their facts straight. I don’t like anonymous cowards. They’re not going to catch me doing something stupid. I don’t take kindly to nonsense. Don’t hide behind anonymity.  If you have something, bring it!”

Feaster said that he’s gone to Boston a number of times for meetings with officials, and he sometimes will stop by his law office.

“But, does it interfere with my performance as Interim Town Manager? No.  I don’t have time for my practice, unlike some of my predecessors," Feaster said. "I’m here at 7 a.m. most weekdays. I have more things to do than I have time for. It angers me to have folks make these allegations. [I've been to] Boston. I’ve been to my firm. I have no new cases.” 

“I’d like to do both. I’d have a hefty income," Feaster admitted. "But, it’s impossible.  This was started by disgruntled folks going out the door. When they think I’m in Boston, I’m meeting with library staff, or DPW, or schools.  I’m not in Boston practicing law. My contract says I can do other things, but I don’t have time to because of the requirements of this job. They don’t know what they are talking about or they are lying. Bring me the proof.” 

Feaster added, “I’ve done more appearing at town events that any previous town manager.”

Feaster, the first African-American in the top office in Stoughton, was asked if he felt it could be racism that brought these claims.  

“I’m inclined to feel I’ve been singled out. I’m here a little over 100 days. I’ll let your reading public be the judge. What they’re saying is just not so. I want to make my case. That’s the lawyer in me.  I do feel I’m being treated differently than my predecessors. I have some great visions for what can be done in this town.”

Feaster is favored to be in the final three when interviews are completed for the permanent Town Manager position. An independent consultant and community volunteer group is working on narrowing down the finalists for the job.   

Calls to some members of the Board of Selectmen for comment on this story were not returned by deadline.

(Posted on August 3, 2012 @ 9 a.m.)

 

 

 

LOOKING FOR A JOB?

  The Town of Stoughton is hiring!  They are looking for a cashier/receptionist at the Council on Aging.  The person will be responsible for greeting people, answering phones, and providing resources to the public. The person hired will also be responsible for handling all monetary transactions for the COA.  Position will assist the Council on Aging Director with administrative assistance, as needed.  The Town is also looking for a Principal Clerk for the Town Clerk's Office.  Work includes issuing various licenses and permits, registering voters, participating in the election process, assisting in the maintenance of vital records, maintaining and updating files, and performing a variety of clerical and support responsibilities as assigned. Successful candidate will have a working knowledge of State and Federal Laws, and applicable Town bylaws. Working knowledge of office principles and practices, word processing, and spread sheets used by the department. Must have ability to learn and use Central Voter Registry (the State database.) 

Both jobs pay $32,570.72.  Detailed job descriptions may be obtained at the Office of Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., Town Hall, 10 Pearl Street, Stoughton, or on the Town of Stoughton website at www.stoughton-ma.gov under Town Manager/Job Postings. Deadline for filing applications is noon on Thursday, August 9, 2012.   

(Posted on August 1, 2012 @ 10 p.m.)

 

 


IT'S A BOY!

Group Four of the Stoughton Fire Department helped to deliver a healthy baby boy on the evening of July 31! Congratulations! Mom and baby are both healthy.


 

 

STATE POLICE MAKE ARRESTS AND HAND OUT PLENTY OF TICKETS, BUT ANOTHER CASUALTY OCCURS ON RT. 24

The Massachusetts State Police arrested nine drunk drivers on Routes 24 and 195 this past Friday and Saturday, July 27 & 28-- the first weekend of a new patrol initiative aimed at cracking down on impaired, distracted, and aggressive drivers. State Police patrols Friday and Saturday also made one other felony arrest and six misdemeanor arrests and issued criminal summons to nine drivers. Additionally, troopers wrote 222 motor vehicle citations on those roads on those days.

Two drunk drivers were arrested on Friday night, while seven more were arrested Saturday night, despite heavy rains. One of the drunk drivers arrested was interdicted as he drove the wrong way on Route 24 (driving northbound on the southbound side) near Exit 10.

At 1:35 a.m. Saturday, troopers responded to a two-car crash on Route 24 northbound, north of Exit 8, in Freetown that sent two people to Rhode Island Hospital with injuries. One of the injured, Jose Perez, 49, of  Brockton, who was driving a 1999 Ford Mustang, was charged with operating under the influence, negligent operation, and marked lanes violation. The other victim, a 24-year-old Middleborough woman, was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. Both drivers had serious injuries believed to be non-life threatening.

On Sunday, at 3:15 a.m., troopers and Berkley Police intercepted another wrong-way driver on Route 24 in Berkley. The driver was traveling north in the southbound lanes of Route 24. Police identified the driver as Nicholas Pilla, 25, of New Bedford and observed his eyes to glassy and bloodshot. Police smelled an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. A trooper had Pilla perform numerous field-sobriety tests and determined he was operating under the influence of liquor. Pilla was charged with OUI liquor and negligent operation.

This past weekend was the first in which Massachusetts State Police Troop D is deploying 11 additional patrols on Routes 24 and 195 on both Friday and Saturday nights. The extra patrols run from 8 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday and from 8 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday, and will continue through the end of September. They complement regular patrols out of the Middleborough and Dartmouth Barracks. The patrol surge was announced last Thursday in the wake of frequent crashes causing fatalities and serious injuries in those areas of Southeastern Massachusetts.

A fatality on Route 24 occurred in Randolph, in Troop H, not in the Troop D patrol surge area. In that crash, evidence suggests the victim exited his car and stepped in front of oncoming traffic

(Information provided by the Press Office of the Massachusetts State Police.).

 


EASTERN BANKS BUYS BROCKTON-BASED BANK

 

Eastern Bank and The Community Bank plan to merge by year’s end, combining their resources and building upon Eastern’s financial strength to better serve the people and businesses in southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, the banks announced today. A mutually owned bank founded in 1818, Boston-based Eastern is among the most financially successful and sound banks in New England, making it an attractive partner for The Community Bank, which is headquartered in Brockton.

“The Community Bank has a long, distinguished history of serving its communities, but in recent years the economy has taken its toll on the bank,” said Eastern Bank Chairman and CEO Richard E. Holbrook (pictured above).  “This partnership will enable The Community Bank to continue to meet the needs of its customers under the Eastern Bank brand, while enabling Eastern to better serve southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape.”

If approved by state and federal regulators, The Community Bank would be merged into Eastern Bank by the end of the year.  The Corporators of both banks and their holding companies, Eastern Bank Corporation and Campello Bancorp, also need to approve the merger.

Eastern Bank, which has a branch in Stoughton at Walgreen's Plaza, has 94 banking offices in eastern Massachusetts, in addition to 22 Eastern Insurance offices.  It has $8 billion in assets, $6.5 billion in deposits and 1,700 employees serving more than 400,000 customers with an array of banking, investment and insurance products and services.  Eastern Bank donates 10 percent of its net income to the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, which, in 2011, donated $2.6 million to 1,200 local charities. Eastern Bank is a member of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce, represented on the Board of Directors by their Branch Manager Frantz Antoine.

Founded in 1877, The Community Bank has five branches, including two in Brockton and one each in Bridgewater, Lakeville and Sandwich.  As of June 30, it had $323.9 million in assets and $278.3 million in deposits.  Last year, newly appointed President and CEO John J. O’Connor III implemented a restructuring plan, which included the closure of three branches, to stabilize the bank.

“We made several important decisions that improved the bank’s financial position,” O’Connor said.  “In the end, however, it was clear that we needed a partner in order to meet the needs of our communities.  With its financial strength and nearly 200-year history of serving Massachusetts, Eastern was by far the best choice for our customers.”

This is the fifth time in the past 30 years that Eastern has merged with another mutual organization in Massachusetts.  The last was Sharon Co-operative Bank in 2007, which was preceded by Plymouth Savings Bank in 2005.

(Information and photo from Eastern Bank and The Community Bank.)

 


 

WATCH WHAT YOU FLUSH!

An Important Message from John Batchelder, Superintendent of Public Works:

"Over the past several months, we have experienced a great number of problems in our sewer pumping stations. This is due to the high amount of disposable materials being flushed down toilets. Examples of these items include baby wipes, disposable mop cloths (i.e. Swiffer), dryer sheets, and disposable dust cloths. Many of these items are marketed as being biodegradable. They do not break down but instead get caught in the impellars of our sewer pumps causing them to stop. This turns into a major project as the pumps have to be dismantled and the rags cut out. Please put these items in the trash instead of flushing them into the sewer system. Thank you for your cooperation."

(Posted on July 26, 2012 @ 6 p.m.)

 


 

 

Annual Town Meeting 2012

Who Bothered To Go??

Attendance

 

Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney released the official attendance records for the 2012 Annual Town Meeting. Perfect attendance should be saluted, and it will be here. But, poor attendance will also be noted. Whether someone was sick, or just wasn't able to make it for various reasons, isn't known, unless the voters want to ask their elected town reps. But, I put the information out to you, and you can take it from what it is--an attendance record.

In Precinct 1, perfect attendance was achieved by Robert H. Desmond, Jr., Jeffrey P. Gomes, Chairman Elliot W. Hansen, Patricia L. Martin, and Richard A. Parolin. Worst attendance was by Maria R. Simas, who made two meetings, and Joan C. Spicer, who made four meetings.

Precinct 2 enjoyed the best attendance townwide. Perfect attendance was turned in by Stephen F. Bates, Holly B. Boykin, Scott D. and Stephanie G Carrara, George L. Dolinsky, Anita A. and Richard C. Hill, Phyllis E. Kelleher, Mary Ann Killgoar, Zaida L. Rivera-Harris, Joaquin J. Soares, Jr., Chairman Mark Snyder, Gloria J. Veale, and Cynthia A. Walsh. Worst attendance was Barbara Harris, who only missed four meetings.

Precinct 3 had perfect attendance by Lisa M. Anderson, Robert E. Blumenthal, Laura M. Bushlow, Chairman Dennis J. Gada, Rachel M. Morton, Christine A. Shannon, and David C. Young. Worst attendance was Michael R. O'Neil, who only missed four meetings.

Precinct 4 saw perfect attendance from Roberta A. Camacho, Patricia E. Colburn, Chairman Juliann M. and Louis F. Gitto, Gerald J. McDonald, Diane Medeiros, Antonio M. Sousa, and Hollyce H. States. Worst attendance was Shawn Francis Croke, who only missed three meetings.

Precinct 5 had perfect attendance by Janice M. Esdale, Chairman Eric J. Kolman, Lisa E. Larkin, Norine Leaver, Elinore M. and Richard L. Morris, Cynthia M. Pazyra, and Larry Verdun. Worst attendance was a tie between Joseph M. Mokrisky and Elizabeth Murphy---both missed EVERY meeting.

Precinct 6 had perfect attendance achieved by Edward J. DeFelice, Joseph C. Figueiredo, James W. Gearin, Chairman Kellie M. Lamb, Joseph R. Madden, Jr., Margaret N. Sewcyk, and Nathan L. Workman. Worst attendance was turned in by Scott G. Breen and David M. Guglia, who both missed five meetings.

Precinct 7 featured perfect attendance by Candace Fisher, Jeanne M. Fleming, Barbara J. Graffeo, Donald G. Interrante, John J. Malley, Nancy C. Patterson, Chairman Elizabeth A. and Carl Pietro, Jr., and Robin Gamzon Zoll. Worst attendance were Karen Abramson, who missed all of them, and Joseph Flynn, who missed eight of the ten.

And, finally, in Precinct 8, six members turned in perfect attendance. They were John A. Kavin, Allan J. MacNeil, David C. Sheehan, Stephen E. and Teresa D. Tapper, and Peter Ventresco. Worst attendance was Paul McAlister and Aina M. McCann, who missed all ten meetings.

(Posted on July 25, 2012 @ 8 p.m.)

 

 


TOWN MANAGER SEARCH EXTENDED

 

Eric Milgroom and Forrest Lundvall of the Town Manager Search Committee requested that the Committee be allowed to extend the September 1st deadline for submitting final candidates by two weeks. Selectmen approved a new deadline of September 14, 2012. Milgroom, the Committee's Chairman, said that applications have come in from 15 states. 23 of the candidates were selected to receive questionaires, and move on to the next step with the firm hired to run the search. Three interview panels will interview the final six or seven candidates. Panels will consist of professionals, department heads, and the Search Committee members. Interviews will be held on September 12 and 13. A final group of 3 candidates will be forwarded to the Board of Selectmen for interviews with them on September 14. The Board could select someone that night, or at their next scheduled meeting. Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster, Jr. is among the candidates favored to be in the final round. The vote to extend was 3-2, with John Stagnone, Bob O'Regan and Steve Anastos supporting it. John Anzivino and Cynthia Walsh opposed the extension. Feaster's Interim contract expires September 30, 2012.

 


 

The Dump was supposed to be Capped and Closed....
instead, it's GROWING!

(photos by Mark Snyder on July 23, 2012)


 

SELECTMEN TACKLE "IMPROVING TOWN MEETING"

The Board of Selectmen's "Town Meeting Subcommittee", which consists of Selectmen Cynthia Walsh and Bob O'Regan, held a public hearing on July 19th at Town Hall, that was attended by several dozen individuals. The subcommittee was looking to receive information on the reasons for the large number of warrant articles and the slow processof Town Meeting, recommendations for improvement; deficiencies on how information is presented to town meeting and recommendations for improvements in that; guidelines for submission of proposed articles by town departments, boards and commissions for insertion in the warrant by the BOS; and improving presentation of information for town meeting's consideration of petitioned warrant articles. Many people came to speak, and give their opinions on how Town Meeting can be improved. Unfortunately, the BOS doesn't have much to do with it. It would take a combination of the BOS, FinCom, The Town Moderator, School Committee, Town Manager and Supt. of Schools, to actually improve anything. So, anytime that anyone mentioned something that Walsh thought was out of the scope of the BOS, she banged her gavel loudly. This, despite the actual wording of the Hearing, which said, amongst other things, "....slow process of Town Meeting and recommendations for improvements." That statement had no perameters. Louis Jutras, a member of the Stoughton Board of Assessors, and the IT Director for the Town of Canton, started out by recommending TM started on time. He was gaveled for that. He suggested, among other things, that individual articles be combined, but with separate votes. He was gaveled three times. Peter Murphy, Pct. 2 Town Meeting member and Chairman of the Municipal Operations Committee, thought the entire hearing was adversarial. "To use as the email address, "Fix Town Meeting" implies that it's broken. This creates a hostile atmosphere. And, your gavel also creates a hostile meeting."

Walsh said that "the Town Moderator runs town meeting. There is nothing we can do to change the way the moderator conducts his meetings. I won't tolerate any Moderator bashing." Finance Committee Vice Chair Pat Colburn said, "We should ask department heads if they NEED something, not if they WANT something. So much information gets discussed at Finance Committee meetings, and is re-hashed at Town Meeting. All selectmen should try to be at our hearings."

Finance Committee member Jim Gearin blamed Town Meeting members. "Many Town Meeting members show up unprepared," he said. "Many questions asked and answered have previously been asked and answered at Finance Committee and Selectmen meetings." He also added, "There were no priorities, and we went on a shopping spree. We should put the articles in the warrant in order of their priority." Town Moderator Howard Hansen said that the BOS could do that, if they so chose.

I think O'Regan had it right when he said, "Maybe the Moderator could conduct a public hearing of his own, like this one. But, it's his prerogative." Many in the audience had excellent ideas. I believe that a meeting should be called by Moderator Hansen, inviting ALL Town Meeting members, the Board of Selectmen, The School Committee, the Finance Committee, The Supt. of Schools and the Town Manager, to discuss what improvements can be made to Town Meeting. It can only have positive results in moving forward in an improved manner. It starts with the Board of Selectmen's insertion of articles, and ends on the floor of Town Meeting. Making that route a little smoother can't hurt. That means starting on time, having the proper materials in member's hands (prior to Town Meeting), and eliminating unsupported articles, for a start.

Faces In The Crowd: TM members Elliot Hansen and Eric Kolman; Selectman John Anzivino, School Committee members Deb Sovinee, Joyce Husseini and Dr. Erdem Ural; Fincom members Peter Ventresco, Jim Gearin, Barbara Anzivino, and Steve Mitchell; former Selectmen Tony Sousa, Bob Mullen and Ed DeFelice;

(Posted on July 20 at 10 a.m.)


 

TWO GUNS--ONE DAY

Earlier today, there was a shooting at 404 Technology Drive in Stoughton. The victim, shot in the back, lies at Boston Medical Center. Tonight? There was a man with a gun at 408 Technology Drive, threatening to commit suicide. Stoughton Police and Fire arrived on scene and diffused the situation. The individual was transported, under police guard, to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton for psychiatric evaluation. One Day, Two Guns at Lodge at Stoughton.

Snyder's Stoughton paid a visit to the management office at Lodge at Stoughton to ask about the number of reported police calls there during the past couple of weeks. A resident named Joe, a 24-year old who did not wish to disclose his last name, said that police have been there on a daily basis. He also said he was going to move elsewhere. Krissy Peppy, the Community Director at Lodge of Stoughton, said, "We're not speaking to any reporters." She gave me the number for their PR rep. Christopher Van Erns, with UDR Investor Relations, told me that, "With the incident that happened yesterday, we're working with the police. They indicated there would be a report forthcoming. Resident safety is our top priority." When asked about some of the individuals residing there, and the multiple reports of police presence, I asked about their screening. Van Erns replied, "We always do credit checks and background checks. It is not foolproof. I'm not aware of the incidents you talk about. If we see anything suspicious, we act upon it. The safety of our residents is our priority. We do what we can to make our residents feel safe."

I asked if he can truly bill the apartment complex as "luxury" with the number of incidents being reported. Van Erns said, "I really have no comment on that."

Police Chief Paul Shastany said that incidents like what happened yesterday were why he requested a housing and senior citizen liasson. "People don't know who to call for suspicious behavior at these complexes. I was going to have an office directly involved, and they would have gotten to know the players. We wanted a single officer to be the contact." That position didn't pass Town Meeting. But, Shastany adds, "People living in these complexes should feel free to contact police to report suspicious exchanges in their parking lots, people waiting for long periods in the lot, and loud arguments. We don't require identities when you offer us information. Knowledge helps us to maintain the public safety."

(Photo and Story by Mark Snyder. Posted on July 16 @ 11 p.m. Updated on July 17 at 12:15 p.m.)

 


 

WHO WANTS A TRAIN STATION?

An Open House and Public Meeting was held on Monday, July 16th at the Stoughton Train Station, which has been closed for several years. The MBTA had placed the station for sale, until a request from State Senator Brian Joyce (pictured top left) and State Reps Bill Galvin and Lou Kafka, had them remove it from listing sites. Joyce has included funding in a Senator Transportation Bill, and Kafka and Galvin have done the same in the House Transportation Bill. They are hoping to get Stoughton the railroad station for as small an amount as possible. But, the cost of renovating the facility could be steep. The roof needs repairs, the bathrooms are not functional, and there's mold on some of the walls. But, overall it is really a beautiful place inside, with wood paneled walls and ceiling.

Mark Boyle, Assistant GM for Development for the MBTA said that the late Al Lipkind fought hard to keep the station open. Boyle said he discussed with former Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. the possibility of the town either buying the building or leasing it from the T. He said that Crimmins rejected both ideas. That is why the MBTA put the station up for sale. Interim Town Manager Joseph P. Feaster, Jr. said that he had no idea about the sale until people saw the ads for it. Selectmen John Anzivino and John Stagnone both told me that the only thing that came before the Board was a lease agreement, that was tilted against the town, and rejected. "We never saw anything about a potential sale," said Anzivino. "I don't recall Frank ever discussing negotiations for a sale," added Stagnone. I actually asked Boyle point blank about it, and he said that Crimmins rejected a sale and lease.

Crimmins, in a long conversation, told me, "I first got involved with the T in 2010, going into 2011. There was a sign that it was for sale or lease by TRA. I approached the T at that time. I spoke with Fran Decoste of TRA, and tried to get an article in Town Meeting of 2011. I thought the town should try to control it. I tried to get CPA committee to fund it, and approached FinCom. They weren't supportive. I thought it was a great piece of property to control. That was for a lease. The terms weren't great terms, but there didn't seem much interest in the Board to negotiate it. Around early 2012, when we weren't interested in their lease, they said they'd put it out for sale or lease again. The Chairman of the Board (Stagnone) asked me to contact them to see if they'd hold off on those plans and come back to the town with a proposal. They were receptive, but the town had held them up the year before and they wanted a time frame. I contacted the T and before i left, I told them I was leaving, and I contacted Boyle and told him the contact person was Brian Riley of Kopelman and Paige. By March 31, I had nothing before the Board. They had not come up with a price yet. They were not approached by the Town prior to a sale. The Town certainly was warned that the building would be going on sale. In 2011, we were talking about the downtown revitalization, and I thought it might be a good property for the town to explore its options on. We had a local realtor tell us what a fair amount would be for rent. We had a local builder and our engineer look at what the costs might be to renovate. With the South Coast rail, the T wanted the option to take back the property, wanted a big rent for it, and very little parking. When I left, those negotiations were still on the table."

The train station's footprint is 6100 square feet, but the building offers only 2600 s.f. of usable space for retail or office. There is a dirt floor basement that tends to get wet, and a staircase that leads to the clock tower. It's really a very important piece of Stoughton's history. We SHOULD buy it, if the price is right, and State or Federal money can be used to buy it. We could use Community Preservation Act money to renovate the building, but then the town would have to abide by strict historic rules in terms of how things are renovated and possible future use of the building. I think it would make an amazing restaurant. A train station in Newton was turned into a restaurant, according to Boyle. It was in surprisingly decent shape, although it did set off my asthma. (I'm allergic to mold and mildew.)

There were many familiar faces who came for the tour of the facility, which was padlocked. Faces In The Crowd included Selectmen John Anzivino and Cynthia Walsh; Interim Town Manager Joseph P. Feaster, Jr., Terry Schneider and Realtor Fred Yaitanes of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce; Town Planner Noreen O'Toole, Planning Board Chairman Joe Scardino, Building Inspector Tom McGrath, Assessor Joseph Gibbons, Buildings Superintendent Bob Grover, School Committee Chair Deborah Sovinee, Town Engineer Ben Fehan, Redevelopment Authority member Forrest Lundvall, former Selectman Joe Mokrisky, Stoughton Historical Society Presidcnt Dwight MacKerron, Tom McGauley, and Legislative Aide Ted Philips, as well as Kafka, Galvin and Joyce.

A meeting during the early evening of July 16 at Town Hall, on the subject of the Train Station, drew only seven people. Bottom line, Interim Town Manager Feaster will be working with McGrath, and the engineering department, to come up with a plan of action regarding the possible purchase of the Train Station from the MTBA.

(Photos and story by Mark Snyder. Posted on July 16 @ 11 p.m.)

 

 

 

And they meet at Town Hall on the Trains


Pictured (l to r) Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster, State Rep. William Galvin, Selectman John Anzivino, Selectman Chairman John Stagnone, Redevelopment Authority member Forrest LundvallTom McGauley, and Selectman Cynthia Walsh. (photo by Mark Snyder).


MAN SHOT IN STOUGHTON

At 12:32 p.m. on July 16, 2012, a call came into the Stoughton Police Department of a shooting at 404 Technology Drive, in the Lodge at Stoughton "luxury apartments". Firefighters found a male who was shot in the back, and transported him to Boston Medical Center. Randolph and Stoughton Police were on the scene, with Detective-Sgt. Welch, Detective O'Connor, Detective McNamara, Sgt. Murphy, Officer Sullivan, as well as other officers, were investigating the crime. Media was quick to arrive, with two TV stations, WBZ radio, and the local papers sending reporters.

Snyder's Stoughton was there a half hour after the shooting. I spoke to a resident of the building, a 24-year old named Joe, who said, "There have been police cars and ambulances here every day for a few weeks. I plan on moving out." Others said that they really had no choice. One, who wished not to be named, said, "I have a lease. I really can't go anywhere." As police searched for evidence, sunbathers gathered at the facilities beautiful outdoor pool.

The victim was shot once, but witnesses said they heard two shots fired. Only one of the bullet casings was found, after a thorough search of the area. As to who the victim may be, we're in the dark. Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine would not confirm or deny that the victim and/or the perpretator lived in Stoughton. He said, "We have a person of interest in the case and this was not a random act of violence."

Lodge at Stoughton is a large Chapter 40B development, built in a business zoned area, with approval of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, under its former Chairman Joe Mokrisky. It was originally approved for owner Conroy Development. They sold it to the developer of the project. Among the top police response locations are Chapter 40B developments Quail Run and Stone Ends.

For those who question the safety of Stoughton, Interim Town Manager Joe Feaster emphasised, "Stoughton is a very liveable and safe town. This is an isolated incident. This can happen anywhere. On this particular day and time, it happened here.

Feaster is right. Shootings can happenv anywhere. One happened on Lincoln Street, around the corner from my house. But, these apartment buildings have drawn some criminal elements in their "affordable" housing slots. Most of the residents of all the apartments are law-abiding citizens, trying to make an affordable home. It's the few that aren't law abiding that ruin it for the rest.

The victim is expected to survive and recover from his injuries. The investigation is ongoing. Independent by reliable sources tell Snyder's Stoughton that the shooting may be related to another shooting on Page Terrace.

(Photos and Story by Mark Snyder. Posted at 3 p.m. on July 16, 2012.)


National Grid: Nearly 1500 Lose Electric In Stoughton

Stoughton residents near the Sharon line got an unexpected gift from National Gridlock on a hot and muggy evening---NO POWER. Nearly 1500 electric customers near Cobbs Corner, and adjacent to areas of Bay Road, lost their power early this evening (according to a National Grid map) . National Grid spokesperson Charlotte McCormick told Snyder's Stoughton at 9:13 p.m.: "I called dispatch. We have no reports of power outages in Stoughton." When I TOLD her that their WERE outages, she said she would check on it again. McCormick was nice enough to call back at 9:29 p.m., and said that the blackout affected closer to 500 customers, and the power was restored in one hour to all residents. She said that it was caused by "a blown fuse on a pole on Central Street."

 

National Gridlock is property of PMPNetwork, Inc.

 


 

PAVING THE WAY TO SAVINGS

Stoughton is one of the first towns in the area to using a new paving method, out of New York, that recycles the asphalt already on the ground. DPW Superintendent John Batchelder told Snyder's Stoughton, "This a new process that has been used successfully in New York and Connecticut. The western part of the State is using it, and Attleboro was the first around here." Trucks can be seen on Turnpike Street (which is closed). The process re-uses the asphalt, which is rejuvinated in VERY high heat, mixed with oil, and rolled back into the road. Then, a light coat of micropave, a light sealer with cement additive is added to the top as a finish. Batchelder explained that on heavily traveled roads like Turnpike Street, with a lot of heavy trucks, that a regular thick overlay will be added, rather than the micropave.

Batchelder said that side streets will have micropave. "It should stop a lot of the surface cracks. It's a new process that will save us a lot of money, if it works the way we think it should. We're trying to stretch our Chapter 90 money as much as we can."

 

(Photos and Story by Mark Snyder. Posted on July 18, 2012 @ 6 p.m.)


STOUGHTON SELECTMEN TO RECRUIT CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

At its meeting on July 10, 2012, the Stoughton Board of Selectmen voted to establish a citizen’s committee to advise the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen in the development of a long-term capital and financial plan for the Town. Applications are being sought to appoint five volunteers to serve on the Capital and Financial Planning Advisory Committee. Selectmen are seeking Stoughton residents with training, education or experience in accounting, auditing, budgeting, business planning, and related fields to serve on the committee for the upcoming year. Appointments will be completed so that the Committee starts its work in early September.

Stoughton’s Town Charter directs the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen to create a 3-year financial plan for the Town. This committee will initially advise the Town Manager, who is charged with drafting the plan, and assist the Board of Selectmen in evaluating the town’s long-term financial and capital needs. The Capital and Financial Planning Advisory Committee will also make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen concerning capital expenditures in next year’s annual town budget proposals as well as requests made directly to Town Meeting by citizen petitions.

The Selectmen have given the committee guidelines to anticipate level service budgets for the municipal and school departments, however, the committee may recommend increases or decreases in services based on information it receives. The committee’s full report for next year’s budget will be due in January 2013.

Person’s interested in serving on the committee should send letters of interest to the Board of Selectmen at Stoughton’s Town Hall by Thursday, August 9, 2012, 7:00 p.m. More details about the committee are available on the Town’s website http://www.stoughton-ma.gov/capital/ and from the Board of Selectmen’s office. For more information contact: Selectman Robert J. O’Regan at (781) 344-8209.


Decorated Lt. General of "Black Hawk Down Fame" tells Stoughton audience:
Sharia is here; Iran & Isreal WILL have War, and Obama Nasty to Israel & Welcoming to Muslim Brotherhood

Full Story & Video

 

 


 

Contract Extended for Interim Town Manager

Details


 

Another Day, Another Life Saved

On July 6, 2012, Stoughton Police Officers Duke and Lydstone responded to a call of a collapsed man at Cedar Hill Golf Course on Park Street in Stoughton. Officers could not locate a pulse and began CPR while deploying the department AED. The AED recommended a shock which stabilized the patient's heart rhythm enabling the Stoughton Fire Department to take over the life saving efforts and transporting the patient to the hospital for care. Well done by all.

(Information from Deputy Police Chief Robert Devine. Posted on July 12, 2012 @ 9:45 p.m.)

 

 

 

 


 

New Mexican Restaurant Opening In Stoughton

In the tiny strip outside Village Mall in Cobbs Corner, which houses Randolph Savings Bank, a dry cleaners and an eyeglass store, Stoughton will welcome its first Mexican restaurant.  Owned by Stoughton native Jesse Rosen (left in photo) and his business partner Josh Katz of Sharon, Roxanne’s Taqueria in Cobb Corner will be a brand new, independently owned restaurant that prides itself on bringing in quality, fresh, local ingredients to make some of the finest Mexican food in the area, according to Katz.  He tells Snyder's Stoughton , "Our head chef and co-owner, Jesse Rosen, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has created a mouth watering menu, highlighted by some delicious new Mexican flavors using traditional techniques. Cooking is Jesse’s passion, and all it will take is one visit to understand why."

The Mexican concept should do well, being situated at the Stoughton/Canton/Sharon line.  The menu has some interesting choices, including Sonoran Dog (a bacon-wrapped hot dog on a Mexican Bolillio Roll, with pinto beans, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, jalepano sauce, mayo and yellow mustard.).  There's a wide variety of Tacos, Burritos, Quesadilla, Tortas, and tons of toppings.  There's a vegetarian menu (including tofu tacos), and a kids menu.    Nothing will run over $10 on the menu. Running lunch specials, and special deals for people who work in the area.  Rosen said there's at least one super special for lunch and dinner. Rosen said that for him, a Stoughton guy, and for Katz of Sharon, opening there is perfect.  He told me, "I think for both of us it's great.  We've had so much support from friends we've known forever, and our families.  I really look forward to seeing some of my old friends."  They are hoping to be open by the end of July, and plan on being open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

(Posted on July 12, 2012@ 9:30 p.m.)

 

New Italian Restuarant on the way.....

Tuesday night, Attorney Karen Somoa introduced General Manager Debra Williams, as well as the new owners of Amelia's, a Northern Italian restaurant that is buying the location formerly occupied by the late X & O's Restaurant (and, before that, the legendary Albert's Restaurant.)  The 217 Washington Street location on Rt. 138 will offer entrees priced from $15-26, according to Somoa.  Somao mentioned Amelia's had locations located at Marina Bay (Quincy) and in West Roxbury.  Selectman Steve Anastos was excited about the prospect of Amelia's coming to town.  He said, "I'm happy to see a well-financed, established company looking to make a significant investment in Stoughton."

The owners of the new establishment are Marios Michalakis and Emilios Ventouris.  The pair own Alfredo's in Quincy (an "old school family style Italian menu") and Sofia  in West Roxbury  (an Italian steak house.)  They've owned the Quincy location for six years, and the West Roxbury one for four years. Michalakis told Stoughton Patch editor Jeff Pickette that the Stoughton location would feature something in between.  He told Pickette he thought it was a good opportunity, a very good location, and offered him the ability to expand the business.  

Somoa said she expected it would be four months after the real estate and liquor license closing that renovations will be completed and the restaurant would open.  

(Posted on July 12, 2012 @ 9:30 p.m. Jeff Pickette of Stoughton Patch assisted with information for this story.)

 


 

SELECTMEN SUPPORT PETITION TO REMOVE CORPORATE MONEY FROM ELECTIONS

 

The Stoughton Board of Selectmen voted 4-1 on Tuesday, July 10, to endorse a Moveon.org petition, presented by Steve Wilkinson of the Stoughton Democratic Town Committee, to overturn the Citizens United decision of the United States Supreme Court. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit corporation Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or "BCRA"). In a tight 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA violated the First Amendment.

 
Some contend that this decision just invites a money war by companies to control elections. But, the Supreme Court makes decisions when it comes to law, not right-wing or left-wing groups. Would the Board of Selectmen support the overturning of the Obamacare decision by the Supreme Court if proposed by the Tea Party? Doubtful. I couldn't believe that Cynthia Walsh, John Stagnone, Bob O'Regan (an attorney), and John Anzivino would be in lock step with Moveon.org. The only Selectman to vote against it was Steve Anastos. Congratulations to him for voting not to support the overturning of the Supreme Court.
 
Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, "praised" MoveOn for "10 years of making even people who agree with them cringe." They claim 9 million members, and support "progressive Democratic candidates." I thought maybe our Board should concentrate on STOUGHTON issues, and not national elections. We have enough concerns right here. But, after talking with Board members, I can even understand where they're at.
 
Board Chairman John Stagnone tells Snyder's Stoughton, "It was a request from a resident. The resident made the case and the Board supported it.  The petitioner provided links to information, as well as other towns that had supported it."  When asked why the Board was getting involved in national campaigns, by what some would call a left-wing organization, Stagnone responded, "Other towns have done it. We're not supporting moveon.org, but a petition. We'll consider any citizen petitions."
 
Board member Bob O'Regan, who is an attorney, said, "The vote wasn't to support a radical left movement. It was a petition to correct a Supreme Court decision. If you're a local government, depending on the State and Federal government to function well, then elections need to be fair and open. That's not done when special interest groups support Super Pacs. I supported the proposed legislative action to correct the defect that the Supreme Court found in the law."  O'Regan added, "The Supreme Court decided a particular law was not constitutional. Congress can fix that. The big question is, how do you prevent big dollars from special interest groups from perverting the voting process?"  
 

Finally, Selectman John Anzivino felt strongly about how big corporate money was affecting elections.  He told me, "I don't believe that corporations should be able to put money into campaigns. They are NOT people. They have a lot more money to give than individuals. The majority of our Board agreed."  As for the Moveon.org source of the petition, Anzivino said that, "If you associate it with that organization, some eyebrows may have been raised. That could be a surprise when people discover where it came from. But, I was supporting the idea of removing corporate money from the equation."

Selectman Steve Anastos, who was sole vote against it, told me he didn't even think it belonged on the agenda. "Why don't we focus on stuff that is way more important? If we're going to discuss something of national significance and implications, why not the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan? It was formed under a bipartisan commission, with supporters on both sides of the aisle, as well as corporate support? Why don't we pass it and deal with our spiraling deficit?" 
 
 Cynthia Walsh said simply that the petitioner was from Stoughton, and that she agreed with the petitioner. "I don't agree with the Supreme Court that companies are people. We should limit corporate donations, in the same way that individuals are limited on what they can give

 

   

 

 

 

(Updated and Posted on July 12, 2012 @ 8:10 a.m.)

 

ZACHARY'S EXPANDING

 

 

 

Stoughton's favorite breakfast spot is expanding. What we had reported a few months ago was confirmed at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, July 10. Zachary's Restaurant owner Joe McGovern unanimously got permission to transfer his common victualler license to his new location at Planet Fitness Plaza, further down the road on Rt. 138, towards the Easton line. McGovern is hoping to expand eventually to serving dinners, in addition to the current breakfast and lunch. He's hoping to expand his hours to a 5:30 a.m. opening and 10:30 p.m. closing. The new plans call for a 96 seat location. As those of us who try to go in their current location know, seating there is now a premium. We'll let you know when the new place opens. Since they are starting from scratch in a vacant building, it may be a few months.

 

(Posted on July 10, 2012 @ 10:10 p.m.)

 


FRUSTRATED BY THE SLOW PACE OF TOWN MEETING?

 

Selectmen Bob O'Regan certainly was.  O'Regan and Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh are hosting a meeting tonight in Town Hall of the newly-formed Board of Selectmen's Subcommittee on Town Meeting.  The agenda lists "Citizen's Comments" and "Goals and Procedures for Improving Town Meeting."  It's scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Great Hall on the third floor of Town Hall. Town Moderator Howard Hansen told Snyder's Stoughton, “I really take offense to this meeting. I know they are trying to improve the selectmen's end of things. Where do they get off having selectmen trying to improve town meeting without my input?  I wasn't even invited. These people must have all the answers.  If the BOS has no intention of supporting articles in the Warrant, they could save 15 or 20 articles. Why should we not allow people to ask questions? Very rarely does anyone take ten minutes.  If we spend two hours on an article for proposed schools, why not? It's a 100 million dollar item.  What's the rush to get that through?”

 

O'Regan said that Hansen has it wrong about the content of the meeting. He tells me, “This is more or less an organizational meeting for Cynthia and myself to figure out what we are going to do and how we will go about doing it. I’d like to do several public hearings, and we plan to ask the moderator to come.  We’ll look at written materials from other towns.  Tonight, I think we’ll be asking for comments on what sources of information we should go to. For example, do we send letters to all town meeting members? Because of open meeting laws, we can’t pick up the phone and talk to each other about this stuff."

 

O’Regan says that the meeting is “Laying the ground work for improving town meeting. The Moderator has no right to be upset that he’s not invited. It’s an organizational meeting on how to collect information, and we’ll be collecting from him, as well.  When he sees how we’ll do it, he’ll be OK with it. What would be helpful is for people to help identify problems and propose solutions, rather than just complaining.  There is technology available that could give all town meeting members an electronic device to vote.  Would people support paying for it?  Should we improve the technology to provide Power Point and the like?  It’s not easy to present necessary information currently. We’ll make a list of things and look to come up with solutions. We could spend all night picking apart town meeting.  We don’t want to pick it apart, we want to fix it.”

 

Hansen had other things on his mind.  “I always compare our town meeting to Framingham.  Their Moderator had a Special Town Meeting Monday night, and had a heart attack and died Tuesday. It got me thinking. I plan on having the Deputy Moderator more involved. For the preparation stuff, I have my system set up.  I should be able to hand the work load to my Deputy and explain how it works. I make mistakes.  Sometimes I call something wrong. But, in the end, it has all worked out and the Attorney General has approved Town Meeting’s work throoughout the years.”  Hansen said he has an eye appointment, and hopes to attend the meeting of the subcommittee after that appointment.

 

Here's the charge of the selectmen for this subcommittee, as written by O'Regan.

(Posted on June 28 at 7:30 a.m.)

UPDATE

A meeting was held in the Yaitanes Room in Town Hall on June 28, chaired by Selectmen Cynthia Walsh and Bob O'Regan, on policies and procedures Selectmen may take on improving Town Meeting. O'Regan said he really just wanted to meet with Walsh, and that's why he posted the meeting. The two selectmen are the only members of the Town Meeting Subcommittee. They propose to collect information about the reason for the large number of warrant article and slow process of Town Meeting, and recommend improvements by a deadline of September 1, 2012. They also intend to identify deficiencies in how information is presented to town meeting; draft guidelines for submission of proposed articles by Department Heads; and recommend procedures for improving presentation of information on petitioned articles.

Several people were allowed to speak at the meeting. School Committee member and Pct. 2 Vice Chair George Dolinsky said, "This is really a maximum of only 30 hours a year for serving on Town Meeting. When you run for the position, you know the amount of time it takes. There's a commitment in time for all volunteer activities."

O'Regan said he was worried "that Town Meeting is a dreadful experience. We lose them. That's a very high cost to the town. That's the future. I'd like to make town meeting a more positive experience." Town Moderator Howard Hansen said that the Executive Authority is the Town Manager and not the Board of Selectmen. He said, "Selectmen try to appease everyone when they shouldn't, resulting in too many articles on the warrant."

Faces In The Crowd included Board of Assesor Stan Zoll, Town Meeting member Cindy Pazyra, School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, Town Meeting member Dr. Roberta Camacho, Barbara and John Anzivino of the Fincom and Board of Selectmen, respectively; Former FinCom Chair Holly Boykin, and Fincom Member Patricia Colburn.

Want to speak on this? There will be a public hearing on JULY 19 at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall at Town Hall.

(Posted on June 30, 2012 @ 9 p.m.)

 

 

FOR SALE: USED TRAIN STATION

The MBTA, the useless hackdom that rips off riders and rewards mediocrity on the taxpayer's dime, pulled a fast one on the Town of Stoughton. They put up a for sale sign on the Stoughton Train Station, and never let anyone know about it. Should our State Reps and State Senator been in the loop? Evidently, they were not. Did our Interim Town Manager or Board of Selectmen get notification that the MBTA--which was just subsidized with over 50 million dollars in OUR tax dollars--was selling one of Stoughton's most significant historical buildings? No, sir.

It's just another case of lies. The MBTA's spokesperson told Snyder's Stoughton YEARS AGO that they had no intention of closing the station, and were going to repair the heating and water system in the building. Shortly after that lie, they asked the town to fork over the money, and to sign a contract taking legal responsibility for the building and the parking lot--but not OWNING it. Then, shortly after that next lie, they closed the building altogether. I guess that's the way the MBTA serves its customers---let them pee in the streets, and stay warm by lighting a Boston Globe on fire in the lot.

Evidently, Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. sent a letter of interest in April to Christopher Ashe of Transit Realty Authority, the company whose signs are hanging on the building. TRA is handling the sale of a number of MBTA properties across the state. Feaster never got the materials to bid on the building, until he requested them. He thought it was disrespectful (to say the least) that he (and the town) were not informed of the sale. The T formally terminated the bid documents---which were posted on the Transit Realty Authority's website--on June 20, after the T received complaints from 02072.

The MBTA should do exactly what the Massachusetts National Guard did. They sold us the Armory for $1. The MBTA should do the same. The building needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs, to make it habitable. Perhaps the town can use some of our Community Preservation money to salvage it. Perhaps, the Transportation Bond Bill will pass intact this year--with the $175,000 that Reps. Galvin and Kafka inserted in it toward's Stoughton's purchase of the station.

“I’m pleased with the projects we were able to include in the bill; the Stoughton Train Station belongs under the control of the town and we’re committed as a legislative delegation to making that a reality,” said Kafka.

Meanwhile, the publicity generated by the For Sale sign---and a planned "tour" of the building, seems to have slowed down the T. Perhaps one of our historians like Dwight MacKerron or Howard Hansen can pin down a few top T Hacks and tell them the history of the building. After the first few hours, maybe they'll relent and let us keep OUR building. This building has been listed for nearly 40 years on the National Register of Historic Places. It shouldn't shock the T that the town would want it. Not only that, a couple of decades ago (in the late 80's) as part of the town's gala biceentennial celebration, citizens raised nearly a million dollars which helped to renovate the building. But, the T still let it deteriorate over the years once again, and then shut it down.

The T is already forcing their lame South Coast Rail down our throats. This ill-conceived project, which will dissect our town and waste up to TWO BILLION DOLLARS, is on the fast track despite no money and no customers. As I wrote in this space before---and it was quoted all over the place---it would be cheaper for the State to lease limousines to drive each and every commuter from Fall River/New Bedford to Boston, than it would be to build this rail line.

Stoughton should DEMAND the railroad station---and underground tracks downtown---plus a ton of other mitigation, to allow this monstrosity through. I warned everyone about the NSTAR monstrosity and they let it in. This train will be ten times worse---and it could KILL people. It's about time for Stoughton's reps, from the local variety to our U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Senators, to STAND UP FOR US.

 


 

Old Colony Planning Council
holds 2012 Major Bottleneck Analysis Study Group

The Old Colony Planning Council, in conjunction with Pioneering Healthy Communities, hosted a community meeting to discuss the OCPC 2012 Major Bottleneck Analysis study. It was my fifth time seeing the slide presentation from OCPC's Transportation Planner Ray Guarino. I think I could have narrated it. As we've written in this space previously, the intersection of Central Street and Washington Street ranks #13 on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's Top 200 Most Hazardous Intersections. It's ranked 12th on the OCPC's Top 100 List. The intersection of Washington Street and York Street is ranked 79th on OCPC's Top 100 List. A number of other intersections in own also were ranked as having a higher than average crash rate. The majority of the discussion focused on the downtown. Concerns of pedestrian safety downtown---especially trying to cross in front of Honey Dew Donuts, were discussed. DPW Superintendent John Batchelder said that at one time barrels--with signs saying "stop for pedestrians in crosswalks" were placed in the middle of this crosswalk at 8 a.m. Batchelder said that it wasn't necessary to take them in at night. "Cars and trucks smashed them, and by evening they were rubbish." Town Planner Noreen O'Toole said the town is already meeting with District 5 OCPC officials on the downtown. "We need to look at pedestrian crossings. We want to make it safe for residents." Selectman Robert O'Regan wanted to see plenty of change in the downtown. He said, "We need to thorw everything out, and not sit waiting for the South Coast Rail to decide what they want to do. If Davis Square in Somerville can become a destination, what's to prevent Stoughton Center from becoming one? We need to get our act together."

The meeting, with dinner from Peppercorn's at the YMCA, was at the Stoughton Senior Center on Rockland Street. The event was hosted by Pioneering Healthy Communities Co-Director Karen Hall (also the COA/Youth Commission Director), and Stephanie Patton, who handles Policy for Pioneering Health Communities, and runs the town's OASIS program. Other Faces In the Crowd: Joyce Dwyer, co-Director of Pioneering Healthy Communities and Executive Director of the Old Colony YMCA in Stoughton; Terry Schneider and Bernie Planeta of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce; Steve Mitchell and Ed DeFelice of the Stoughton Finance Committee; Planning Board Chairman Joe Scardino; Town Meeting members Dori Frankel and Eric Kolman; Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh; Library Director Pat Basler; Moderator Howard Hansen; and Board of Assessor Stan Zoll.

(Posted on June 21, 2012 @ 9:30 p.m. Photo by Mark Snyder)

 


 

INTERIM TOWN MANAGER
WANTS PERMANENT JOB

The Board of Selectmen are spending $18,500 on a search firm to find a permanent Town Manager to replace Francis T. Crimmins, Jr., who went back to a private law practice. Another Attorney, Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., took over as Interim Town Manager. Today, Feaster told the press that he will be applying for the permanent position.

Selectman John Anzivino told Snyder's Stoughton, "When Joe applied for the interim, he said he wouldn't rule out the permanent position. He's been here for three months. We starting doing the search right from the get-go. He was brought in as the interim, and after three months on the job, he'd know if he found the work distasteful. If not, I figured he'd put his hat in for the permanent position."

Asked if this could affect the search, and how well Feaster has performed, Anzivino replied, "I don't see where the search process we've started would be stopped. We've contracted with the company to do the work. He came in at a busy time, with town meeting, and not really having that experience. I think he did the best he could under those circumstances. He put the time and effort to try and get up to speed. Obviously, he didn't have the insight into what Frank was thinking when he put the budget together. But, he jumped into it, and spoke to all the department heads, and did a decent job answering the questions asked of him."

"I was opposed to the search. It's the duty of the selectmen," Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh told me, "I've done it before. We can go through resumes and our police department can do background checks. We can google people. I don't see the sense of spending nearly $19,000 on the search." When asked how she felt Feaster has performed so far, Walsh replied, "No comment."

Selectmen Chairman John Stagnone said, "It was always a question of whether he'd seek the position. I think he's done a great job. I wasn't just looking for someone to keep the seat warm. He'll have to follow the same process and file an application, and we'll get the best person for the position."

Feaster began on April 1, 2012 and has a contract that runs through July 31, 2012. The Town Manager Search Committee has estimated that they won't have a candidate in place until at least late August. Feaster's statement to the press, issued through Executive Secretary Reggie Kowalzcykowski, read:

"I prayed on it and discussed my decision with my wife Phyllis and we decided that I should seek the position. During the past nearly 3 months, I have had an opportunity to learn the position and to work with dedicated and effective department heads, municipal and school employees, a supportive Board of Selectmen, the FinCom, and elected Town Meeting Representatives. I've enjoyed the challenges of the position and am encouraged by the many Stoughton residents and prior Stoughton elected officials who have asked me to stay on as Town Manager." Joseph and his wife Phyllis have lived here since 1998.

 

(Posted on June 21, 2012 @ 1:30 p.m.)

 


 

 

WATER, SEWER & TRASH FEES GO UP

The Water Enterprise Fund would have required a 39% increase if reserves and other funds weren’t utilized. But, Selectmen Tuesday night, on rates by 2.5% in Fiscal Year 2013. DPW Superintendent John Batchelder had recommended a 5% increase, which was what it went up last year. Sewer rates went up 5% last year, and Batchelder was recommending 5% this year, as well. On a motion by Selectman John Anzivino, sewer rates were increased by 2%. The way the sewer costs are billed to households became a point of contention for a number of speakers. I’m sure that selectmen will be forced to address this sometime soon in the future. Steve Padovano, a Stoughton senior citizen, said, “You’re going to drive people from this town. It’s not fair to older people