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Selectmen vote to recommend millions in debt exclusions

Disapprove of dam maintenance Article

Budget kept to .67% increase, less than 1%


by Robert Falcione

March 21, 2007 — The Selectmen met in Room 211 this evening, starting with a discussion of the Lake Maspenock dam, and continuing with Warrant item actions. It was not televised.

      Members of the Lake Maspenock Preservation Association (First two rows of audience, below) joined in the discussion about the dam that was voted to purchase at last year's Town Meeting. Many members have taken it upon themselves and in conjunction with the Selectmen, to investigate water rights, insurance issues, and safety and repair.

      Member Julie Crawley found three towns with dams and similar issues. Chelmsford, she said, paid a total of $1,100 for insurance for three dams. Previous quotes have placed similar insurance at $25,000, a figure that officials have balked at.

      Selectman Mike Shepard said that Representative Paul Loscocco thought that a $100,000 grant from the state looked good. Mr. Shepard also said that it would be advantageous to see if the State would take it over.

      "I am not convinced the Town should be in the dam business," he said.

      After a lengthy discussion that was coming to an end, a Lake Association member said he had to report the status to other people.

      "I need help in answering why we have yet to purchase the dam..."

      "You have just listened to why," said Mr. Shepard.

      "We are charged with doing the best we can for the Town. So you can ask until you're blue in the face," he said.

      The group did not stay for the discussion of Town Meeting Warrant Articles. Ironically, the first Article on the list was whether to recommend the appropriation of $90,000 for maintenance of the dam. A majority of the Selectmen voted to disapprove.

     The Selectmen reiterated their "no override" position that they made public last Tuesday. Since then, they have met with representatives of the School Department.

      "Nobody is happy," said Selectmen Chair Muriel Kramer. "But we agreed the share would be spread out proportionately."

      The Town Manager and Appropriations Committee will look over the "Town" side of the budget, all that is not schools, and the School Department will make their own cuts.

      The School Department had been talking about letting 18 combined teachers and staff with a previous budget increase of 2.1%. The latest budget provides for less than a 1% increase.

       After the meeting, School Committee Chair Rebecca Robak said, "We are not sure how we are going to meet additional cuts. There's no getting around cutting services."

       Both the Board of selectmen and the School Committee agreed that more collaboration between them is the key for the future.

       Some of the capital items the Selectmen voted to recommend at Town Meeting were $3.5 million for Fruit Street athletic fields, $3.6 million toward the waste water treatment facility, and nearly $3 million for the Middle School wall repairs. These and several more money Articles will be voted on at Town Meeting. Those passing will be put on the ballot as debt exclusions for voters to ultimately decide upon.

       The Selectmen voted to put each debt exclusion on the ballot separately.

       To encourage participation at Town Meeting, Mr. Shepard asked, "Could the Moderator pull the Articles out of a hat?" It is common knowledge that special interest groups pack Town Meeting for their agenda items and often leave leave after their vote.

       Appropriations Chairman Stuart Cowart, who was on hand for the discussions, said that some towns, "Had a little Bingo thing and they call the Article and that's the one they discuss."

       Although the DPW and the Fire Department also had capital spending Articles, Chief of Police Thomas Irvin had none.


Danger in Snow Banks

by Robert Falcione

March 20, 2007 — What person has not slid helplessly into a fluffy snow bank the first year they got their driver's license? Let's hope there is nothing under the soft snow, like a steel guard rail or large boulder. But the snow banks framing our streetscapes on this date are not those benign cushions. They are very dangerous.

    After a combination of snow, sleet and rain, the banks on the sides of the roads are as hard as ice, strong enough to support a vehicle. Catching the right wheel against the snow bank could pull a vehicle up the embankment, but even worse, could pull the wheel sharply while elevating the vehicle on the right side, causing it to tip onto its side. This phenomenon even happens at low speeds. Even a simple tip-over could cause serious or fatal injuries, but the risk increases with speed.

    More crashes than ever at high speed result in roll-overs, and many of them result in a fatality or two. The phenomenon that causes roll-overs on back roads can increase the possibility of death the faster a person drives.

     Tell the kids. The snow is dangerous.

ESL and HCAM-TV to Hold Hopkinton Idol Competition

Live Weekly Show to Feature Local Aspiring Singers


March 20, 2007 –  Enter Stage Left Theater Workshop, Inc and HCAM-TV hope to find out with their collaborative “Hopkinton Idol” competition, the answer to, "Is there a Kelley Clarkson in our midst?"  The six-week competition will be broadcast live on HCAM-TV and viewers will be asked to email their votes to determine which contestants will continue on to the next round.  In addition to “fame and fortune,” the victorious “Idol” will also win a professionally recorded demo tape.

     “Since there are so many talented people in this town we thought it would be fun to host our own ‘Idol’ competition,” said Kelly Grill (Photo, in white), a co-founder of ESL.   “Being able to broadcast this live on HCAM-TV and have viewers email their votes makes this a truly interactive community event.  It should be very exciting!”


The Auditions

      Auditions for Hopkinton Idol will take place on Saturday, April 7th at 10:00 am at the HCAM studios (77 Main Street, Hopkinton).  Interested singers (pre-teenagers to adults) are encouraged to register for their spot in line by emailing Enter Stage Left at  esltheater@comcast.net    Singers should be prepared to sing a two-minute song of their choosing a cappella.  Singers must be residents of Hopkinton. 

The Competition

     After 12 contestants are selected via the audition process, the competition will begin with live broadcasts from 7:00 p.m-9:00 p.m. on Thursdays, beginning on April 12th.   Contestants will receive professional coaching by Enter Stage Left voice teachers prior to their appearance each week and will perform with music tracks provided by Enter Stage Left. 

     The broadcasts will be done at HCAM studios in front of an audience, which is open to the public.  Each week, the two performers with the lowest number of votes will not continue to the next round.

     The judges for the show will change each week and will include voice and drama experts such as Amanda Maffei, Barbara Kessler, Steve Spector, Robert Falcione, Dan MacMillan and Valerie VonRosenvinge. 

The Final Show

The final Hopkinton Idol show will take place on May 31st and will feature clips from the entire competition.   There will also be a finalist concert at ESL’s studio at 30 Main Street this spring/summer.


 For more information call 508-435-2114 or visit www.enterstagelefttheater.com


AOL Video has recently taken a page from the YouTube playbook in allowing embedding of their video content on external websites. Because AOL is posting this content, it is reasonable to assume that they are providing it legitimately, unlike the millions of YouTube videos of professional performances uploaded by users, and not the artists themselves.

Above, enjoy a song from the last network TV performance by singer Bobby Darin before his untimely death in 1973 at 37 years-old.

VERIZON FIOS USERS: An ActionTec router provided by Verizon does not support AOL streaming video content. It took several hours with Verizon to figure this out. The fix was, at Verizon's cost, to install a d-Link router.

Ninety-second Pizza

Subway Manager Hina Patel shows of her latest creation that took only 90 seconds to cook!

     HopNews Welcomes Country Farm and Subway to their list of advertising supporters. All of our advertisers live or work in Hopkinton. Please support them all by clicking on their advertising buttons and seeing what they offer.

     Click on the SubWay button now and see how High School students and Senior Citizens save $1.00! (Psst. Please tell them you saw them on HopNews.com.)

Real Estate Transfers for Hopkinton for Past Week

Most recent first

Compiled by Eric Montville for HopNews.com

Address Buyer Price Date Seller
13 Fawn Ridge Road Cartus Financial Corparation $1,362,500 Mar. 19, 2007 Gregory J. Herrema et al
22 Wescott Drive James Marguerite & Dana Marguerite $1,700,000 Mar. 16, 2007 Sandra A. Green
6 Schofield Road Brian Harpish & Kristen Harpish $498,000 Mar. 15, 2007 John Jones & Linda M. Jones

See List back to February 1,  2007

Police News UP-TO-DATE  Today, March 19, 2007

6:57 am Officer Jacob Campbell came upon a vehicle that was stopped in the middle of the road on South Street...


2:17 pm An employee of a Cedar Street business reported that a smaller gray sedan just pulled into the parking lot, with a  lot of front end damage.  The operator also appeared to be intoxicated...


12:35 pm A caller from Main Street reported that her ATM card was stolen out of her house by the contractors who boarded up the house after a fire...

Claire Bear 

Above, Amanda Maffei sings a sing-along song from her March 10 performance at ESL Theater Coffeehouse.

Viaggio Interotto

The story of a pre-teen girl of Italy during World War II and her emigration to America to join her father and uncles after the war.
A first hand account of the German occupation of a small village near Parma, the partisans fight for liberation, the aid to downed
American airmen and finally uniting the family in America.
This is the personal story of Bianca (Pellicelli) Sapporetti as told to Howard Rouse with a hope of finding the downed flyer that the family aided in Monchio delle Corti prior to his return to the Allied lines.

by Howard Rouse
March 18, 2007 — This narrative opens with a journey, that is not interrupted, (interotto), but closes with a voyage that was interrupted. The first trip brought Dante Pellicelli from the beautiful Italian village of Monchio delle Corti, to America. The year, as far as we can determine, was shortly before the turn of the last century, (1898-99). This was during a time of increased migration of Italian citizens to the country where the streets were professed to be, “paved in gold”.

Shortly after arriving, Dante married an Italo-American lady, Maria, and they settled in Salem, Massachusetts, not very far from where he worked, in a local foundry. He would ride the bus to work each day and never owned an automobile throughout his lifetime. Both of them lived into their nineties and had been married 65 years when Dante passed away at 96 years-old, with Maria following shortly at the age of 94.

The preceding paragraphs are important to this story, in that Dante convinced his brothers, Virginio and Guido, that they should follow him to this new land. Virginio, did not decide to leave soon enough, and was conscripted into the Italian Army to serve in an Artillery Brigade during World War One, a delay that proved unfortunate, because his military service left him with blown eardrums and profound deafness for his remaining days. He did manage to recover some of his hearing, with a bone conduction device that was worn behind the ears. Guido, the younger brother, did not serve in the army but he did follow his older brothers to America. He made the trip a couple of years after Virginio, who arrived in 1919. Guido was a happy-go-lucky type of guy who wound up working at the Statler Hotel in Park Square, Boston for many years, while Virginio took a position in the kitchen of the Mansion Inn of Cochituate, to eventually become the chef for over thirty years. ENTIRE NARRATIVE

Introducing the Models for the
Hopkinton Women’s Club Spring Fashion Show
April 10th, 2007
Hopkinton Country Club

March 18, 2007 —    Lynn Evans for Potpourri Designs in Westborough, and Richard Francis Salons in Ashland, are once again joining The Hopkinton Women’s Club in hosting a Spring Fashion Show fundraiser with all proceeds donated to Friends of the Hopkinton Seniors Citizens in support of the new Senior Center.  The Spring Fashion Show will be held at the Hopkinton Country Club, Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 beginning at 7:00 p.m.  

     The 10 models selected for this year’s event are Cindy Bernardo, Karen Abrams, Julie McGuirl, Alicia Shambo, Ellen Wright, Carol Walsh, Mary Ellen Kelleher, Trina Macchi, Therese Collins, and Rebecca Robak!   New this year, a contest was held to choose the recipient of a hair/makeup/outfit makeover.  Entries were submitted of someone deserving of a makeover and the winner is Leda Arakelian!  Tickets are on sale now for $40.   Please call 508-497-9388 or send an email request to hopkintonwc@verizon.net

File photo, Cathy Flynn at last year's event.

Police Association Dance

The dancers above enjoyed a momentarily spacious dance floor just before it got packed with people dancing to the sounds of Tailspin.


March 17, 2007 — The Hopkinton Police Association held their annual Dinner-Dance at the sold-out Portuguese Club in Milford this evening. They raffled prizes donated from local businesses and individuals in between dinner and dancing. The Association holds a fishing derby in the spring and a senior citizen dinner in December with the proceeds.

21 Years, but who's counting

March 18, 2007 — Greg Brady made his yearly pilgrimage to Cornell's for St. Patrick's Day, where he plays his only gig of the year. A few years ago, Mr. Brady gave up playing out to have a full-time family. He plays his mix of Irish music, Jethro Tull and Allman Brothers, leading up to the all-time favorite sing-along, American Pie to end the evening. Mr. Brady started playing there 21 years ago.

Winter Wonderland

March 17, 2007 — The storm was a vivid reminder that it is still winter. The weatherman promised a glimpse of the sun, and that is exactly what he gave, as evidenced above on West Main Street just before the sun set, as it broke through the blue-grey clouds and lit up the icy tree limbs. TIP for budding photographers: The scene that lasted only a minute was captured because the photographer had a camera with him.

The Metrowest Symphony Orchestra


Hopkinton High School Auditorium

7:30PM pm on Saturday, April 7, 2007



March 17th, 2007 The MSO proudly announced a partnership today with the Hopkinton Athletic Association in kicking off the 111th running of The Boston Marathon, the country’s oldest and finest!  Hopkinton, the official starting point of the Boston Marathon, will begin  “Marathon Week”  with a special Pop’s Concert presented by the Metrowest Symphony “Boston Marathon” Orchestra.  The concert will take place in Hopkinton High School's beautiful Auditorium on Saturday, April 7th, 7:30PM Hopkinton High School, 90 Hayden Rowe Street, Hopkinton, MA.  

                The evening will feature an array of popular pieces, such as Fanfare for the Common Man, Chariots of Fire, Man of La Manchamusic from Harry Potter, Superman, Pirates of Penzance, and  Jupiter” from 'The Planets’, with an encore selection from Dvorak’s 8th Symphony

Our special Guest Artist, Senior Master Sergeant Michael Cross, USAF (RET), will be singing our National Anthem and God Bless America.  A guest celebrity “conductor” will make an appearance to lead the symphony in a rousing march. 

                Tickets are $15 for Adults, $6 for Students and Seniors, and may be purchased at the door or through our website at www.metrowestsymphony.org .   For further information or ticket reservations, please call (508) 453-4734, or email president@metrowestsymphony.org

The whole family will enjoy this event - come and celebrate Hopkinton’s “Marathon Week” kickoff event with the MSO! 

                “We are pleased to be asked to do this concert,” says MSO President Rob Ocasio.  “We have been performing regularly in Hopkinton for over five years so we feel like their hometown orchestra. The fact that we have been asked to kick off a major international sporting event makes me proud of all the musicians of the MSO who have worked so hard for this.

                This concert is made possible by the Hopkinton Athletic Association and Hopkinton Chamber of Commerce, and funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, an agency that funds your local cultural council, and by the generosity of many donors in your community.   

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Extremely Irish

Olivia Handrahans’ Irish Igloo…..waiting for the Eskimo Leprechauns. Age 9


Tom Phelan and Brett Baker at ESL Coffeehouse March 31, 8:00 pm


Hopkinton resident Tom Phelan and Brett Baker will team up to perform duo versions of classic jazz tunes from bebop to bossa nova to contemporary acoustic jazz at the ESL Coffeehouse at 8:00 p.m. on March 31.  Tom and Brett have performed at many area venues, most often in a quartet setting with the MetroWest Jazz Project.   Their performance on March 31 will take place at ESL’s intimate studio setting at 30 Main Street in Hopkinton.  Tickets are $15.00 per person. 


School Budget Still Undetermined

Committee discusses forcing override at Town Meeting

“We’re not on the same page even though we’re 2/3rds of the town’s budget” ~ Dave Stoldt

By David Hamacher

March 16, 2007 — Several members expressed their concern with the lack of collaboration with other Hopkinton Departments forging the overall town budget for the coming year at last night’s School Committee meeting. Citing his seven year tenure as a committee member and referring to fellow member Phil Totino’s role for the past ten years, Dave Stoldt (File photo, right) said, “It used to be that all departments and committees would gather information and we’d all sit down, review the data, interpret it so we all understood what the numbers meant, and then we would take necessary actions to move the process forward. That’s seems to be missing in the past year or two. What I would call ‘the Hopkinton Way’ seems to have gone away.”
      Mr. Totino replied, “I’m disappointed in the process when I read about the actions in the newspaper. It was my understanding that we would sit down with the Selectmen and work together to come up a number we can all live with. Now I read how we need to come up with another $447,385.00 in cuts to meet this number.”
     Business Manager, Mr. Geoff MacDonald (File photo, below left), referenced an e-mail he received from the town accountant Heidi Kriger on March 15th that showed how $447,385 was calculated. “It appears the revenue projections used earlier to determine budget increases for next year are not going to be as high as thought. So, they’ve taken our original budget which called for a 2.1% increase and then calculated what a 1% increase would be which comes to approximately $342,469. They then took the projected deficit against the lower revenue projections and then pro-rated it against last year’s town budget. The schools’ share of last year’s budget was 76.6%. When you factor the schools’ share into the projected town-wide deficit of $137,000 against the revised revenue projections, our share becomes approximately $104,900. Add that to the $342,000 number (difference between the 2.1% increase asked for by the schools and the originally mandated 1% increase), and you arrive at approximately $447,000.00.”
     Dave Stoldt reminded the committee that, “statutorily it’s still our authority to determine the schools’ budget. We’re not on the same page even though we’re 2/3rds of the town’s budget.”
    Member Lyn Branscomb wanted to know the process behind the school bringing their budget to the Town Meeting floor that would mandate an override on its own if the schools budget was more than the town-wide budget number. She asked “What would happen then?” COMPLETE STORY

Reader shares letter to Selectmen


Muriel, Lenny, Mary, Mike, and Ron

     I am watching with serious concern over the way this budget process is proceeding. I know the town charter changes roles and process, however, there is something to be said for the Appropriation Committee knowing in such detail , and with shared history, the school district budget. I sat for 6 March Saturday mornings with them and know the level of commitment they put into really understanding the issues around education and funding. FULL LETTER

Traffic Advisory –  Department of Conservation and Recreation Declares Snow Emergency

Today, at approximately 4:15 p.m. the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) declared a “Snow Emergency”. As a result of that declaration any vehicles that are parked on or remain standing on any DCR roadways may, and will, be towed at owner’s expense. The Massachusetts State Police asks all citizens of the Commonwealth to ensure DCR roadways remain clear ensuring the most efficient snow removal possible.

Eva C. Grant, 103, of Hopkinton died Thursday, March 15, 2007 at the Westborough Healthcare Center. Born in Lawrence, MA she was the daughter of the late Randolph and Lillie (DeLong) Nicholas. She was also the wife of the late William A. Grant who passed away in 1949.

She was the mother of 1 son Robert Grant, 3 daughters; June Ranlett, Carolyn Bredmore, Rosemary Bleakney. She was also the sister of David Nicholas, Haddie Nicholas, Louis Salsman, and Hilda Arnold. A Memorial gathering will be held later in the spring. Arrangements are incomplete and from the Chesmore Funeral Home of Hopkinton. www.ChesmoreFuneralHome.com

John J. ``Jay'' Nobilini, 64, a resident of Framingham and Hopkinton for many years, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007, at Massachusetts General Hospital after a brief illness.

Born in Framingham, son of Philomena (Cafarelli) Nobilini and the late Reno Nobilini, he was a graduate of the Framingham High School vocational class in 1957. He served in the Army in Korea from 1966 to 1968. Following his time in the service, he started his roofing contracting business, J. Nobilini Roofing, which he continued until his retirement. He enjoyed vacationing at a family cottage in Litchfield, Maine, and racing vintage cars. ARRANGEMENTS COMPLETE

Meeting of the Hopkinton Historical Society this Sunday!

After shoveling your walkway this weekend, please join us for a Joint Meeting with the Ashland Historical Society on Sunday, March 18, 2 pm, at the Ocean House (2 Myrtle Street, Ashland). The meeting will include a presentation about the history of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, a commercial and scientific enterprise that straddles the Towns of Ashland and Hopkinton on Frankland Road. Hear about technological advances from this facility over the years including development of prosthetic limbs, machine guarding technology, and automobile safety standards. Following the meeting (at 4 pm), there will be a walking tour of the Research Institute (71 Frankland Road, Hopkinton) for those who wish to see more.

Hope to see you there!  If you need additional information, please call 508-435-0074.
Bill Shaw President, Hopkinton Historical Society.

Good News from a Grave

FCCH Kids Choir presents "Good News from a Grave" a Kathie Hill Musical. Bring friends, neighbors, and the entire family to this lively energetic musical production featuring the FCCH Kids Choir accompanied by a live band and complete with awesome choreography. Fun for the whole family!

Friday, March 16 at 7pm CANCELLED
Saturday, March 17 at 4pm STILL ON!!

Admission: $2, kids under 3 are free. Also, a non-perishable food or toiletry donation for the "Feeding with 5000" program. First Congregational Church of Hopkinton (FCCH), 146 E. Main St, Hopkinton, 508-435-5900, www.fcch.org

Girls 5th grade Basketball Champs!

Taylor Sokol, Hannah Elliott, Jenna Yaggy, Jane Hart, Rebecca Plunkett, Jasmine Dieb, Kathryn Lentoni, Kendall Missaggia, and Kelsey Babigan.

The Team's Name was "The Bluewave" and they were coached by Chris Elliott, Dickran Babigan and Jim Hart.

They won their final game (a true barn-burner) by 1 point.

Jim Pyne does a first


     Republican Jim Pyne, member of the DPW Advisory Board, and the person who sold the Fruit Street land to the town, took out papers to be the first member of a newly created Board of Public Works. The Board was created at last May's Town Meeting with an Article sponsored by Attorney Thomas Nealon, which also created the need for 3 Board members.

    However, the position may become moot, and those elected may find themselves without a position, if the Selectmen get their way to place the DPW entirely under the control of the Town Manager. To keep abreast of election goings on, check out the Election 2007 button.

Former ConCom Chair files in Superior Court against ConCom and DPW


March 15, 2007 — Brian Morrison, former Conservation Commission Chairman, has filed suit against that Commission, naming some of those he served with, as well as the Hopkinton DPW, appealing the Commission's Order of Conditions for "certain work, including the construction of" the Town's Waste Water Treatment Facility on the town's Fruit Street property. Read Document.

     The lawsuit looks similar to the  petition filed in February to the DEP and signed by 30 residents, including Mr. Morrison. However, in this action, a lawsuit in Superior Court, Mr. Morrison is the sole plaintiff.

     In a February 5 article, HopNews reported:

 The major complaints are that the project is too dense, the WWTF is located in a wetlands buffer and near Whitehall Brook, that the travel time for the waste water is too short before entering the brook, and that the plant should have been located on another part of the property or another area in Hopkinton.

    Many of the same complaints are registered in this latest appeal, which must be settled, according to the documents, in one year. File photo of Mr. Morrison taken March 8, 2007 at Planning Board meeting.

HopNews gives away $500.00


March 15, 2007 — HopNews Video Editor Davis Sheehan awards $500 to loyal reader Greg Fraser for guessing correctly (Or should we say "calculating" correctly?) when the HopNews visit counter would show 1 million visits. Click twice for the video.

Ragin' Hormones

Today was a proud day for a group of students at Hopkinton High School. After four years of playing intramural floor hockey as a team, the Ragin' Hormones, a group of seniors, finally made their dreams reality and won the championship game. Just a day before they beat out a faculty team called the Yankees, a team that had beaten them every year up to this point.

All Invited to Holy Week Services

Collaborative Services by St. Paul’s, Christ Church, and Grace Methodist


March 15, 2007 – As a means of uniting together in fellowship and faith, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hopkinton, Christ Episcopal Church in Medway and Grace United Methodist Church in Hopkinton will be conducting joint services during Holy Week.  All are welcome to attend these reflective and spiritual services, which will take place at the following times and locations:


Wednesday, April 4

7:30 p.m.  Tenebrae                                           Christ Church, Medway

Thursday, April 5 (Maundy Thursday)

6:30 p.m.  Fellowship Meal                                             St. Paul’s Church, Hopkinton

7:30 p.m.   Maundy Thursday Liturgy with

       Foot Washing, Holy Eucharist,

       and the Stripping of the Altar                        St. Paul’s Church, Hopkinton

Friday, April 6 (Good Friday)

Noon                 Stations of the Cross                  St. Paul’s Church, Hopkinton

7:30 p.m.          Good Friday Liturgy                    Grace UMC, Hopkinton

Saturday, April 7

7:30 p.m.   Great Vigil of Easter                          Christ Church, Medway

Easter services will be held independently at the respective churches.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Grace UMC are located at 61 Wood Street (Rte. 135) in Hopkinton.  (508-435-4536, www.stpaulhopkinton.org and 508-625-1189, www.graceumc.org.)

Christ Episcopal Church is located at 14 School Street in Medway.  (508-533-7171.  www.cecmedway.org)

Driver of TT Unit involved in fatal Hopkinton fiery crash identified


The Massachusetts State Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the operator of the 2007 Mack Semi-Tractor-Trailer involved in Monday’s fatal crash was 38-year-old David C. Rhodes of Enfield, CT.


On Monday, March 12, 2007 at approximately 11:19 p.m. troopers assigned to the State Police Barracks in Weston responded to a two-vehicle crash on Route 90 West at mile-marker 105.8 in Hopkinton (near the Westborough town line) that resulted in one fatality. Due to the intensity of the fire, neither the make of the TT unit nor the identity of the driver could be determined at that time.

Previous story

Thursday March 15th at 7pm

ESL will host a very special event... the reading of Karen Webbs award winning screenplay "Green Grass".  Karen is a Hopkinton resident who has written several successful screenplays.  "Green Grass" won 2nd place in the Vail film festival this year and Karen will be flying out to Vail at the end of March to accept her award.  Her play has also been selected by the Rhode Island Film Collaborative as their 2007 film project.  They will help with production and filming of Green Grass along with Karen's company "Pinch Hit Productions." 

Hopkinton Develops

March 15, 2007 — The Hopkinton Chamber of Commerce invited its general membership to listen to pitches by developers this morning at a breakfast meeting at Maria's Caffe Italiano.

       Stan Yeakel, representing Erickson Retirement Communities, which is purchasing the 200 acre Terry property for use as retirement units, said that a 1500 minimum unit count would contribute to an economy of scale necessary to implement their goals of having a self-contained community.

      Asked by a reporter if it is a for-profit or a non-profit organization, Mr. Yeakel explained that the developer would own the property, and a non-profit would occupy the space and hire Erickson to run it. The property tax status in the way of revenue, or lack thereof, for the town was not detailed.

      He said that the community was geared so that even a retired teacher could afford the facility, which cost an entry fee of a minimum $175,000 deposit and a minimum monthly fee of $1800. Health care is extra.

      Roy MacDowell, Jr.  (Above, facing), principal of Boulder Capital which has completed a Purchase and Sale agreement with Weston Nurseries and the Mezitt family for over 700 acres of land, reminisced about his years doing business with the nursery, calling the Weston Nurseries Catalogue, "The industry Bible." Weston Nurseries used to produce a catalogue each year that included all plant materials that landscapers and others needed.

     The Town of Hopkinton has the right of first refusal to purchase the nursery land, because it was under Chapter 61A tax status. The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit conservation organization, has been invited by the town to take part in decisions surrounding the possibility of partnering with the Town. Their plan required that 51% of the property be owned by the Town and used for open space.

     Mr. MacDowell said today that his company is prepared to keep over 50% as open space.

From Town Talk (Discussion Page)

Re: Whitehall Property Update Please


From: Jack Speranza
Date: 15 Mar 2007
Time: 06:35:28 -0700
Remote Name:


     I served on the Capital Improvements Committee from 1997 - 2003. Each year, town committees were required to come before us with their 5 and 10 year forward looking plans. Mr. Coolidge (representing the Open Space Committee) would routinely come before us with plans that included the purchase of the Whitehall property.

     The rationale for keeping the purchase of this property a priority on the plan was because it would allow the town to expand active recreation at Reed Park (including allowing for vehicular access from Wood Street). Ironically, during these early years, Mr. Coolidge reported that his committee rejected opportunities to purchase this property for substantially less than $1 million (we just paid $2.5 million), stating this was "too expensive a price" for that land. You probably won't find this information in the official minutes from either board because, at the time, this information held "executive session" privilege from public disclosure (though, interestingly, you also won't find minutes that speak to either committee ever being in "executive session.").

     The primary reason for soliciting a town meeting vote to purchase this property for "passive" recreation purposes was directly tied to the phantom grant we never received. While there may be valid reasons for keeping this designation, it would be more interesting to know what factors have contributed to Mr. Coolidge and his committee moving away from their original rationale for purchasing this property. Can't really speak to phantom agreements with abutting land owners and the like. I haven't been able to attend the last several meeting of the CPC, but as of the end of last year, it was represented there were no other agreements in place concerning the Whitehall property or with any of its abutting property owners. Editor's Note: This was copied verbatim from the discussion page. Paragraph indents have been added to ease reading. Your civilized opinions are welcome on that page.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

11:00 AM on the Town Common


The Easter Bunny makes his annual visit to Hopkinton on Saturday, April 7th, 2007 for the Park and Recreation's Annual Easter Egg Hunt. The event, which is sponsored by Hopkinton Drug Store, will be held at 11:00 AM on the Town Common.  The Easter Egg Hunt is for Hopkinton pre-school to 2nd grade children.


Please bring your own basket or bag to collect the candy and "Special Prize Eggs".  We ask parents not to pick up eggs prior to the start of the event.


There is no registration or fee for this event and we will try to give candy to all children that attend.

Please note that the Easter Bunny will appear, weather permitting, and that parents are welcome to take pictures with him.

For more information please call Parks and Recreation at 497-9750 between 10 AM and 1 PM on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's. There will be no rain date - Check www.hopkinton.org to see if cancelled due to weather. File photo

And the Winner is...

March 14, 2007 — Hopkinton High School student Gregory Fraser (Left) was the winner in the HopNews 1 Million Visit Contest. Last December 15, Gregory sent in his best estimate from reading the clues and extrapolating the time and date that the counter would switch. Gregory guessed 12:00 pm on March 12, 2007. The exact time of the millionth visit was 1:24 pm, 84 minutes later. The next closest guess was the day before at noon. Above, HopNews Video Editor, Hopkinton High School student David Sheehan, awards Gregory a $500.00 facsimile check for the camera. David interviewed Gregory on video Tuesday and will put that together Thursday.

NO OVERRIDE! ~ Selectmen

Above, Town manager Anthony Troiano presented budget alternatives to Selectmen Tuesday evening.

March 14, 2007 — Town Manager Anthony Troiano presented three budget scenarios to Selectmen last night, starting with a 1% increase that would have meant a $96,614.66 shortfall. The second scenario, requested budgets from the various departments, would have brought the town into a $973,542.93 budget shortfall. And the final scenario, a level services budget, would have pushed the town into a $2,447,144.23 hole that would have required an override costing each household with an average $550,00 home, an extra $449 on their tax bill.

    Instead, the Selectmen voted to go with a budget based on the available revenue of $58,241,934.18, rather than any of the costly presentations.

     "It means we have go with available revenues," said Mr. Troiano today.

     "We have to work collaboratively; there's no money. We have to make cuts.

     "We have to bring he budgets down to existing revenues," he said. Mr. Troiano said he expected the School Committee or a representative to appear before Selectmen next Tuesday.

      The vote to use existing revenues as the budget basis was moved by Vice-Chair Mary Pratt and seconded by Selectman Mike Shepard. Only Selectman Ron Clark voted against it. He had suggested giving voters a choice of two budget scenarios.

Dog Officer to the Rescue

March 14, 2007 — Passersby, business people, Officer Phil Powers, and teens kept this extremely skittish dog at bay by feeding it after it was seen running in and out of traffic frantically across Main Street this afternoon. The dog, which was not at all traffic savvy, would not let itself be captured, or even let its tag be seen, until Animal Control Officer William Proctor got a leash around it with a combined effort of everyone in cornering it. The dog's residence is on Grove Street, as was determined by a zoom photo of its tags and the display of its telephone number in that photo before its capture.

Recycling with the Lions  

March 31st is the next Lions Club recycling drive. Bottles and cans can be dropped off at Colella’s Supermarket on Main St. between 9 am and 2 pm. 

The collection of outdated/unused cell phones, for the Hopkinton Senior Center, continues. All donations gratefully accepted.

5th Grade Champs

This year's 5th grade boys Rec. basketball champions - front row from left - Evan Rosen, Colin O'Rourke, Andrew McMillan, second row from left, John Hamm, Andrew Taggart, Nate Lane, Mark Senecal, coaches Jack O'Rourke & Mark Rosen. Missing when photo was taken: Anthony Casella.

Three More Host Families Needed ~ and Soon


 A number of Hopkinton students visited the Ecole La Source, outside Paris, over our February vacation. Now it's our turn to host the French kids and their chaperones. This is the third year in a row that this exchange has taken place. The students will be here for a total of 16 days. They arrive on Sunday, March 31st and depart on Monday, April 16th. The students are usually in the 14 - 16 year old range, both boys and girls. It's not necessary for anyone in the host family to speak French, or for the American student-host to be taking a French course. The French students have all been studying English and are here to practice their skills, not speak French.

     In order to continue this exciting exchange program, we need to identify an additional three host families with children attending Hopkinton High School. Host families will be responsible for lodging, for meals, and for spending some time with a French teenager over a 16-day period. Mr. Bruce Mitchell, a French teacher at Hopkinton High School, is coordinating the logistics of the exchange and is acting as liaison between the school communities. If you are interested in hosting a student, please contact Bruce Mitchell (bmitchell@hopkinton.k12.ma.us) to obtain more information. READ LETTER

Selectmen's meeting

Scholastic Art Awards

Selectmen hear from potential Weston Nurseries partner

March 14, 2007 — Hopkinton High School Teacher Marion Strangfeld (Right) brought some of her art and photography students (Above), all winners of awards from the 2007 Boston Globe Scholastic Art Award contest, before the Selectmen this evening to receive commendations from them too.

    The work of the seven Gold Key winners will be advanced to New York for national judging.  Those are Elise Largesse, Samantha Connelly, Emily Glazier, Katharine Schenot, Jessica Sidoti, Melinda Bryant and JingJing Chen. Winning the Silver Key are Caitlyn Danahy, Lauren Shahian, Renee Zale, and Jessica Sidoti. Caitlyn Kohl received an Honorable Mention. The artwork was selected from 3,500 entries from Massachusetts.

     Badge Blackett (Photo, left) from the Trust for Public Land (TPL) was on hand to explain what that organization will do for the Town in considering the purchase of Weston Nurseries land, of which there has been an inches-thick purchase and sale rendered to the Town at the end of February by Boulder Capital. The Town has 120 days in which to exercise its Chapter 61a rights, a statute that gives the Town the right of first refusal on land it has granted agricultural tax status that has received a bona fide purchase and sale.

     "Our purpose is to help partners achieve land protection," he said.

     "TPL has worked 75 municipal projects, but never one that has had such potential to impact a community," he said. The Town sent a letter to TPL last week inviting them to take part in the process.

     "I understand there is no commitment from the Town," he said, alluding to language in the letter inviting TPL to take part.

      "You don't get an opportunity later," Mr. Blackett said, referring to the 120 day limit the Town has to decide. "I think we're well-suited to help you make the decision."

       Mr. Blackett said that the group's purpose is to help identify the value and attributes of natural resources and identify what the Town wants to achieve with the components of developable, municipal, and conservation property. He appeared to warn of not accepting TPL's help, calling it, "An alternative that will become evident if you do not exercise your rights."

       Roy MacDowell, Jr. of Boulder Capital (Photo, right) was in the audience and was invited to come forward by Chair Muriel Kramer after Mr. Blackett finished. Mr. MacDowell told of his Sunday trips to Weston Nurseries and seeing people using the land.

       "A lot of people view this as public space. We have the intention of keeping a lot of open space.

       "Our concern is what the legacy of the next 30 years is. We'd like to name it Legacy Farms.

       "Weston Nurseries was the Tiffanys of the industry, and we want to bring it back," said Mr. MacDowell.

       The introduction of TPL into the mix brings a competitive nature to the purchase process.

       There will be a Special Town Meeting to consider purchasing the land.    

Massachusetts State Senate Passes Resolution Calling for End to Iraq War


March 13, 2007 — The Massachusetts State Senate yesterday voted to pass a resolution calling upon the President and Congress of the United States to bring troops home from Iraq and to develop a plan for bringing about an expedited end to the war.
     The resolution was authored by Senators Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) and Robert O’Leary (D- Barnstable) and sponsored by 14 additional Senators. The language contained in the Senate resolution was worked out as a compromise among several resolutions proposed in the state Legislature on the war.
     “It is important that we give the people of Massachusetts a chance to be involved in this significant national debate,” stated Spilka. “Voters in 139 cities and towns across the Commonwealth said ‘yes’ to a ballot question asking whether our troops should be brought home. That’s a strong mandate, and the state Legislature should respond accordingly."

Master's Concert

March 13, 2007 — Above, from left, Former Selectman Eric Sonnett and Planning Board candidate Ken Weismantel speak with Town Moderator Dr. Bruce Karlin prior to his performance with the MetroWest Symphony Orchestra at the Orchestral Master's Concert at the Civic League in Framingham last Saturday. The orchestra will perform a Marathon concert on April 7th in partnership with the Hopkinton Athletic Association. Details TBA. Photo by Janet Repucci

Community Fun Town Clean Up

Saturday, April 21 8:30-10:30 am


March 13, 2007 — SPEAC is helping Hopkinton organize a town wide clean up. The DPW and the Hopkinton police have identified areas to be cleaned up on April 21 in honor of Earth Day. SPEAC will coordinate the groups wishing to help and assign an area to be cleaned. We will invite school clubs, scouts, athletic teams, church groups, neighborhoods, and anyone who wants to help join the town for clean up.

      Groups will clean from 8:30-10:30 AM. SPEAC will provide donuts at the end to say thank you! We are trying to firm up the donut location now.  Cans that are collected during clean up may be donated to Community Fun Clean Up towards snacks for next year.

    Groups wishing to participate can begin to contact Karen Weiskerger for SPEAC at 508-497-3959, or k.weiskerger@verizon.net, and find out where they can help. Each group is responsible for their own trash bags, clean up gloves and equipment such as rakes. After the clean up, the group will remove the trash to one of the dumpster locations, to be identified by the DPW. Per request with police Chief Irwin, groups will check in and out with SPEAC via phone to be sure all areas are done and people are accounted for at the end.

      The hope is that this project will develop into an annual event for the town.  Community Service is a level playing field allowing everyone to participate and do something positive. 

REGISTRATION FOR FALL 2007 SCHOOL YEAR PROGRAMS GOING ON NOW at the MetroWest YMCA Hopkinton Early Childhood & Education Center.   Pre Kindergarten Academy, A School Readiness Program Must be 4 by September 1.  Discovery Corner, 2.9 - 5 years old.   Both are half day programs with extended day options and follow the public school year calendar.  Call Heidi Kaufman at (508) 879-4420 x 66, for more information or to register.  Download our School Age programs brochure online at www.metrowestymca.org,  click on Hopkinton Programs. File photo.

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