HAPPY NEW YEAR!
JANUARY 10 2010
A MILITARY COVENANT
By Tom Christiano
On December 17, 2009 members of our community and a few Military leaders assem-
bled at the Chelmsford Elks to speak about, and sign, a Community Covenant in support
of our Military & their families. It states, in part, the following: "We, the community, are
committed to: Building partnerships that support the strength, resilience, and readiness
of Service Members and their Families; and Assisting in the
implementation of the Military Covenant."
The speakers at this formal signing ceremony included: Selectmen Sean Scanlon, Pat
Wojtas and Clare Jeannotte. The Keynote Speaker was Colonel David Orr, Commander,
66th Air Base Wing, Hanscom AFB.
Refreshments were provided by Nashoba Technical High School and the Chelmsford
Lodge of Elks.
Photos by Tom Christiano
WINTER SUPPORT OUR TOWN
By Tom Christiano
Many Chelmsfordians stopped by the Java
Room on December 17th for our Winter "Sup-
port Our Town" Coffee get together. School
Committee member Kathy Duffett and I hosted
this informal seasonal gathering to help spread
good cheer to our friends and neighbors.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, as we
talked about: local politics... our Holiday prepa-
rations & plans... our local businesses and how
we can better support them...and anything else
we could think of in an effort to just have a nice
time getting together with friends.
The SPRING "Support Our Town" Coffee
is already scheduled for Thursday, March
18th, from 7:00 AM until 10:00 AM at the
Java Room, so please mark your calen-
dars and join us if you can, if only for a
Photos by Tom Christiano
Group waits for response
from school department
By Chloe Gotsis/ staff writer
GateHouse News Service
Dec 23, 2009
As the Chelmsford School District heads off on winter break, attorneys for the Liberty Counsel await response from the
school department as they mull over litigation over the Byam School Gift Room.
CLICK HERE for PDF: Yeoman letter
Kathleen Cullen and Kathy McMillan, the two Byam mothers who made national headlines for protesting the
school’s policy banning religious items at the holiday fundraiser, began work with the national nonprofit litigation and pol-
icy organization earlier this month. Representatives from the Liberty Councel, which specializes in religious freedom liti-
gation, first mentioned a lawsuit in early December after completion of the four-day fundraiser,
“They [officially] said they are going to sue us,” said School Superintendent Dr. Donald Yeoman. “They keep dancing
around whether they are going to sue us or not.”
The Liberty Counsel claims the school department has yet to respond to the group’s first letter, sent Dec. 2.
On Dec. 17, the counsel sent another letter to both Yeoman and Jane Gilmore, principal of the Byam School, alleging the
current policy “unconstitutionally discriminates against donors wishing to give religious, or even secular Christmas items.”
The letter states the district has made factual misstatements including that their clients raised their concerns about the
policy too late to make changes for this year and that no one had complained about the policy over the previous 27 years.
“Once the issue came to light parent after parent has confirmed that the policy has been challenged in the past, only to
have Principal Gilmore reject the complaints out of hand,” said the letter.
Steve Crampton, general counsel for the Liberty Counsel, previously told the Independent in a phone interview that ban-
ning religious gifts “constitutes discrimination on the basis of viewpoint and content.”
Crampton, who signed the counsel’s letter, said at this time the counsel does not intend on seeking monetary compensa-
tion but a change in policy.
The letter demands that the district stop disseminating falsehoods and accepts the counsel’s offer for a dialogue on the
“Failure to discontinue the falsehoods will not only thwart our efforts to engage in constructive dialog, but may well make
a bad situation worse, almost guaranteeing litigation,” said the letter.
Yeoman would not comment on the letter and said that the school’s legal counsel is handling the matter.
***************************** The Lowell Sun:12/27/09
Did Santa visit the Byam Elementary school?
That was the question Wednesday morning when an anonymous caller phoned The Column to say a man in a red suit
made a special trip to the Chelmsford public school.
The school sparkeda debate that went national after items including Santa,candy canes and menorahs, were banned
from the annual holiday fundraiser.
According to a few parents,drivers of Byam school buses said they saw a stack of wrapped presents in all shapes and
sizes in the front of the school before students arrived.
"The word was that the awning was so full of wrapped boxes that the door was hard to access,"said one parent.
By the time a reporter showed up,there was no evidence of any Christmas presents or St. Nick.
Staff inside the Byam office said they saw no such presents.
Guest Commentary: Former teacher offers her perspective
By Bonnie Wilder
GateHouse News Service
Dec 28, 2009
As a former Byam School parent and teacher, encompassing the years 1974-1992, I feel qualified to respond to the national news story about the
December Gift Room.
Also, after teaching nearly three decades in Chelmsford, my decision to now leave the comfort of retirement to engage in yet one more December
Dilemma debate is based on a sincere desire to impart history and knowledge that can be used to help resolve this recurring conflict — if the com-
munity is willing to accept this undertaking.
First, a history of Byam School, where my sons were students back in the Good Old Days with Principal number one. The foyer welcomed everyone
with a Holidays Around the World bulletin board, children’s art, toy soldiers, ornaments on a Christmas tree and a Menorah in the office window.
Parents volunteered to share their families’ December traditions in first-grade classrooms. Mixed aromas of latkes, warm cider and popcorn warmed
heart and soul as you wandered the corridors.
My sons’ concerts offered a musical smorgasbord of Santa, snowflakes, Silent Night, and songs from the Hebrew Festival of Lights. Everyone left
smiling. Even Santa (who resembled a certain School Committeeman) visited the kindergarten. I still hang those little tree ornaments my sons and
students bought for me at the Gift Room.
December was fun mingled with learning about each other. Byam’s inclusive, diverse ambiance fostered the freedoms of academia, personal ex-
pression, creativity, and appreciation/understanding of each others’ differences.
Morale was high among staff, parents and students.
Such programs were Constitutional and educational then, and they are now. When the Supreme Court eliminated prayer and Bible readings, the
Justices clarified the difference between indoctrination and learning ABOUT sacred art and literature, which they agreed is a vital to an education.
More than half a century later, this opinion hasn’t changed.
But the ACLU has masterfully created such fear in education that leaders self-censor, believing they will avoid controversy.
Byam is a prime example where an ACLU philosophy has taken root for almost two decades. Children see an aesthetically deprived, monochrome,
white-washed culture where snowmen and snowflakes dominate three long months of winter. Byam, like the witch-possessed C. S. Lewis Land of
Narnia, is “always winter, never Christmas”--or any other seasonal celebration.
The tsunami of comments on chat rooms indicates the awakening of a sleeping giant. But taxpayers are searching for answers to questions much
bigger than a Gift Room: “Who owns the schools? Who determines the curriculum and culture of a school?” And ultimately: “Who owns the chil-
In the 19th century, de Tocqueville prophetically warned of “soft despotism” that would creep into a future America if we the people became apa-
Those days are ending. Citizens no longer tolerate what they perceive as PC absolutism in leaders who do not respect their values.
These are THEIR children in THEIR schools, and administrators work for THEM.
A system that allows administrators to govern with absolute power has created soft tyranny (minus violence.)
In the early 1980s, the second Byam principal challenged my holiday programs.
There was no Holiday Policy, so I based my choral curriculum on the model of musical diversity and "balance" found in my textbooks.
I presented secular themes that passed the Constitutional “Lemon Test” which proved no excessive entanglement of religion.
Sacred Hanukkah and Christmas songs were balanced with secular selections. All were chosen with educational and aesthetic objectives in mind.
Assisted by the teachers’ union in five years of grievances, I submitted documents supporting our position from the national Music Educators pro-
fessional organization (MENC) and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) to which most administrators belong.
Presenting logic and evidence, we won each year and concerts went on with only a few conciliatory changes.
But rumors, tensions, misunderstandings and inconsistencies persisted throughout Chelmsford.
One example: a song “banned at Byam” showed up the same year in a concert at another school.
Finally, a former superintendent formed a task force with a handful of concerned residents who struggled to write what the School Committee then
adopted as the Holiday Policy. Its purpose was clarification to prevent future controversies and provide guidance for system-wide equity.
Has anyone actually examined, discussed and determined with all staff what the intent and uniform interpretation of this document should be?
In 1992, I transferred to South Row. Byam colleagues personally told me of incidents they were intimidated. One teacher was scolded for giving
each student a little brown paper sack which some (hidden) goodies, including a candy cane.
Nineteen years with Principal number three have passed, and finally two parents — newly transferred to Byam from Harrington — brought their
concerns to a PTO meeting. They asked one of those Why-the-Empress-Wears-No-Clothes type of questions.
The answers were nonsensical or vague. But they boiled down to what the superintendent said at a November televised School Committee meet-
ing: each principal can interpret the Holiday Policy any way she wishes.
But if a policy is enacted so arbitrarily and capriciously that it can mean anything to anyone, then it means nothing.
Resolution to the December Dilemma takes leadership from the top and teamwork all the way down into each classroom and corridor.
After all, administrators receive training in conflict resolution and can find resource people to assist them.
One idea: invite an expert from the First Amendment Foundation or the ASCD for Staff Development. Better, have the speaker give an evening lec-
ture to explain the legal rights of parents and students. The combined school councils could spearhead the project.
Yes, this will take hard work and commitment in working out common ground, but your kids and community are worth it.
Perhaps we could all start by singing, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me ...”
ZBA hearing on Stedman Street opens
GateHouse News Service
Dec 18, 2009
Residents and officials packed Town Hall last night for a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on a controversial Westlands
neighborhood home business, which neighbors say is in violation of the town’s zoning bylaws.
The board listened to presentations from both Frank O’Brien, owner of O’Brien Compliance
Management, which he operates out of his home on 12 Stedman St., and a group of con-
cerned Westlands area residents.
But the board delayed a ruling till Thursday, Jan. 14, where it will examine architectural
plans board members requested from O’Brien. The public hearing remains open, according
to ZBA administrative assistant Janet Murphy. Frank O’Brien
O’Brien has been operating his medical equipment supply business out of his Stedman Street home since he moved to
Chelmsford from Lowell in February 2009. However, when a group of residents noticed increased activity at the large
home this fall and signs for an open house in October revealing O’Brien’s business they brought the manner to the atten-
tion of town officials. Laurie Myers, a Pine Hill Avenue resident, and Roy Earley, a Chelmsford Street resident, informed
Town Manager Paul Cohen on Oct. 15 about O’Brien’s business at 12 Stedman St.
Town Manager Paul Cohen immediately notified the town’s building inspector and zoning enforcement officer of the situa-
tion. According to Cohen, the building inspector visited the property and discovered the resident’s complaints were cor-
Chelmsford Building Inspector Scott Hammond sent a letter to O’Brien Monday, Oct. 26 demanding he comply with zon-
ing bylaws until a special permit is obtained. In order to comply O’Brien must let go two employees and downsize his busi-
ness, which calibrates and tests medical equipment.
O’Brien said previously said in a phone conversation that he was aware that he was in violation of town zoning bylaws by
using more than 25 percent of his floor space for his business and having more than one non-resident employee at his
business. But he added that intended to eventually apply for a special zoning permit and request a zoning variance from
O’Brien said last month that in preparation for the ZBA hearing this week he had two of his employees working from
home and downsized his floor space.
Cohen previously said that a special permit will not remedy O’Brien’s two nonresident
TO VIEW THE CITIZEN’S
12 STEADMAN STREET
I f it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the
possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
“where a zoning change is designed solely for the economic benefit
of the owner of the property receiving special treatment and is not
in accordance with a well considered plan for the public welfare.”
Ruling on home-based firm delayed
ZBA will take a month to consider request to allow Chelmsford to remain
By Rick Tessier, Sun Correspondent
CHELMSFORD -- The Zoning Board of Appeals last night heard a resident's argument to grant a special permit
and variance to enable him to continue operating a business in his Steadman Street home.
Frank O'Brien's residence-based business, O'Brien Compliance Management, is currently in conflict with the
town's zoning laws.
After a presentation from O'Brien, questions from board members
and comments from neighbors and others in attendance, the ZBA
voted to continue the hearing to Jan. 14.
In the meantime, the ZBA will try to determine with greater accu-
racy the percentage of space within the building allocated to
O'Brien's business operations -- it can't exceed 25 percent -- and
will obtain an architect's certified floor plans of the building, for an
accurate assessment of overall square-footage.
O'Brien has applied for a special permit in part to enable him to
employ another worker on site, which would give him a total of Frank O'Brien makes his case to why he should be
four. He said he and his nephew live in the building at 12 Stead- granted a special permit and variance to continue
man St., in the Westlands neighborhood. operating his "Home based Business" at it's current
12 Steadman Street hearing 12-17-09 _part one
O'Brien said the current situation, in which two other employees
work off-site, pres-
ents a hardship.
In response to one of his neighbors' concerns, he said leasing com-
mercial space instead will push him to the financial brink. He claims
that revenues were down 60 percent this year.
Several neighborhood residents, including members of the group
Westlands Watchdogs, attended the meeting to oppose the special
permit and variance.
Some claim O'Brien bought the property earlier this year with the in-
First O'Brien's people come to the podium in favor tention of using it to house a business, although the neighborhood
of the application and then the residents come to
has never been zoned for commercial use.
the podium who are opposed. Starting with
Attorney Philip Eliopoulos,
representing some of the abutters "It's one thing to ask for a hardship for your business, but another
CLICK HERE thing to create that hardship yourself," said neighborhood resident
12 Steadman Street hearing 12-17-09 _part two Roy Earley.
The Planning Board and Health Department have also gone on
record in opposition to O'Brien's business operations.
Also in question is the legality of the business. It is believed that
O'Brien's current operations may be violating his Home Occupation
by Right entitlement.
The ZBA, however, is not empowered to either investigate or en-
force that alleged infraction. The board can only consider and rule
on O'Brien's requests for additional considerations. Legal concerns
must be addressed by the town's building inspector.
Comments and questions from the ZBA
about 12 Steadman Street.
If everyone could have whatever zoning he or she wished as a
12 Steadman Street hearing 12-17-09 _part three
property owner, there would be no purpose in having the regulation .
Letter to the Editor
I have lived in Chelmsford for 23 years -- pay my taxes, vote in town elections, volunteer in the
community, and express concerns in a reasonable manner. However, the 12 Steadman St.
issue has made me wonder: Who’s minding the store? Who can I look to for leadership?
Is it reasonable to assume that . . .
• “Residentially zoned” implies that bylaws will supersede an individual’s business pursuits?
• If your company’s mission is to verify compliance, you would operate in compliance with
the laws of the community?
• If you set up shop knowing you’re violating zoning bylaws, you can’t claim hardship when
• Home Occupation by right rule is meant for individuals working from home vs. setting up
shop, with paid employees, in a residential area?
• Other small businesses in town would love to operate from their home instead of in
• The BOS would take a leadership role on an issue that has far-reaching implications for
the fabric of our neighborhoods?
• The Master Plan Committee would see the relevance of this situation in relation to the
“Threats to Neighborhoods” highlighted in its SWOT Analysis, and would also take a leader-
ship role on this issue?
• A resident with professional credentials in space planning and knowledge of MA building
codes would be allowed to meet with both the Building Inspector and his supervisor to gain a
common understanding and interpretation of the definition of business space allowed in a
• With a past and present history of non-compliance, and absent a Zoning Enforcement
Officer, there’s no way to ensure compliance with provisions of a special permit?
• Town officials residing in residentially zoned areas would not welcome nor tolerate a busi-
ness operating beside their property?
A business operating in a residential neighborhood doesn’t seem reasonable to me, does it to
you? Voice your concern about maintaining the integrity of our neighborhoods
at the Chelmsford ZBA Hearing on Jan. 14th @ 7:00 pm.
14 Steadman St.
2009 CHELMSFORD CITIZENS OF THE YEAR
In an effort to thank and recognize a few of the public spirited citizens of Chelmsford, the panelists and host of the most recent "Politically In-
correct" Cable TV Show have selected the following individuals as our 2009 CHELMSFORD CITIZENS OF THE YEAR. Because of space
limitations I will only mention a few of their many accomplishments and volunteer activities. For a more complete description of all that they
have done for our town and country please tune in to the current "Politically Incorrect" TV Show or click on the following link to see the show
on the internet: http://www.viddler.com/explore/re007hq/videos/74/
KATHY BROUGH: Kathy has been a twenty year Town Meeting Representative in Chelmsford. She was a charter member of the Chelms-
ford Democratic Town Committee, working as a volunteer on campaigns too numerous to list here. Ms. Brough volunteers countless hours
for a variety of causes. She is a long time member of the board of directors for a homeless shelter in Lowell and has helped many AIDS pa-
tients get the care and services they require to survive. Ms. Brough has volunteered in many other capacities throughout the area.
CAROL & WALTER CLEVEN: The Clevens have been volunteering to help the people of Chelmsford for many years. Carol served on the
Chelmsford School Committee...as a Town Meeting Representative....as our Chelmsford State Representative (introducing the Bill to create
the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail)...and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Paul Center. Walter has been a twenty year Town Meeting
Representative...a published and successful psychologist and, along with Carol, a long time member of the League of Women Voters.
CYNTHIA McLAIN: Cindy has been working for many years to get the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT) completed and, now that it's finally
open, she served as the Chairman of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee during its first year and still sits on the committee. Ms.
McLain served for several years as the BFRT construction representative on behalf of the town of Chelmsford. During our 4th of July cele-
brations in town, you could always find Cindy managing the BFRT booth in the center, giving everyone who stops by a friendly hello, along
with an abundance of BFRT information.
GEORGE RIPSOM: George has served the town of Chelmsford in a variety of capacities, including time on the School Committee...the Fi-
nance Committee...the Arts & Technology Education Fund Committee...as a Town Meeting Representative...and as a board member of the
Garrison House Association. Mr. Ripsom served in the United States Navy for many years, including two tours as Commander of the Port-
smith New Hampshire Naval Shipyard Headquarters.
CHARLES WOJTAS: Charlie can always be found when something needs to be done in town. He has served for nine years on the Planning
Board (including two years as Chairman)...is currently the chairman of the Agricultural Committee and the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Li-
brary Trustees. Mr. Wojtas volunteered to tear down the old horse barn after the town bought the land on Robin Hill Road to construct the
new Community Gardens, saving the town thousands of dollars. He also uses his heavy equipment to plow snow for the Paul Center...help-
ing the Center in numerous ways during the annual 4th of July festivities, including building, transporting, staffing and dismantling their
fundraising booth for many years. Charlie also honorably served in the United States Navy, during the Vietnam era, aboard a nuclear subma-
GREEN CITIZENS OF THE YEAR
DONNA & HENRY PARLEE: This year, the Parlees donated a seven foot wide 22 horsepower lawnmower to the Open Space Program in
Chelmsford. This saved the program thousands of dollars and helps beautify the town owned fields at Red Wing Farm. The Parlees help
keep the tradition of farming alive in our community, keeping their many acres of land filled with vegetables and trees rather than with huge
housing developments. They are truly protectors of our environment and assets to our community.
SANTIAGO RIOS: Mr. Rios volunteers hour after hour at Varney Park in North Chelmsford, even though he has a full time job elsewhere, he
finds the time to give back to the town that he loves. At Varney Park, primarily - but not exclusively - during the warmer months, Santiago
cleans the beach every morning...maintains & cleans the bathrooms...runs the snack shack....empties & picks up the trash...cuts the
grass...and helps paint the historic building at the Park. He does all of these tasks as an unpaid volunteer. Santiago is clearly an outstand-
ing steward & protector of the environment.
The above noted selections for 2009 CHELMSFORD CITIZENS OF THE YEAR were presented by the undersigned Host of the Show,
along with the following "Politically Incorrect" Show panelists: Town Manager Paul Cohen, Mary Tiano, Tom Gazda and Anita Saville. We
thank and commend these outstanding public spirited citizens for their many years of service to the town of Chelmsford.
Producer & Host
Politically Incorrect's annual
Citizen of the Year Show
The panelists on the show are:
Town Manager Paul Cohen
and Anita Saville.
TO SEE SHOW
Town reduces limits on trash
By Rita Savard, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHELMSFORD -- After throwing out the notion of switching to automated trash collection, town officials
are limiting the number of trash barrels per household to cut costs and boost recycling.
Beginning July 1, residents will see current trash limits slashed in half, when the town moves from four 32-
gallon barrels per house to two 32-gallon barrels. Bids for a new three-year solid-waste removal contract
are due Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Selectmen say the new two-barrel minimum will have advantages.
"When we were looking into an automated trash system a lot of people said they would prefer a 64-gallon
barrel," said Board Chairman Clare Jeannotte. "The two barrels still equate to a 64-gallon (barrel). By re-
ducing the amount of trash per household, hopefully we'll encourage more recycling."
Residents who exceed the new limit will have to purchase special trash bags for pickup. The cost for those
bags have yet to be determined by selectmen.
Town officials looked at adopting an automated collection program last fall. But start-up costs were too
much for the town to handle during a tough budget year, even though the system did promise long-term
Town Manager Paul Cohen said by entering a three-year contract, Chelmsford will be free to investigate
other options -- including revisiting the automated trash system -- around the same time several neighbor-
ing towns will be looking to renew their contracts.
Billerica, Burlington, Tewksbury and Tyngsboro adopted automated collection programs on July 1, with all
four towns reporting a smooth conversion as well as a cost savings.
In September, Billerica Public Works Director Abdul Alkhatib said the new trash program had saved tax-
payers more than $30,000 in two months.
"It's something we can take another look at down the road," said Selectman Sean Scanlon. "It didn't make
sense to put money into it right now when we don't have the money to spend."
The town issued a joint request for proposal with Westford to further reduce costs over the next three
years. Once a company is selected, each town will have its own contract, Cohen said.
Recycling under Chelmsford's new contract will continue biweekly.
Solid-waste collection costs the town $1.3 million annually.
Costs savings from the two-barrel limit will be determined
once the bids are in, Cohen said.
CHELMSFORD ELECTION SEASON
Town Meeting Representatives up for re-election this year according to the town website are:
Kathryn Brough 14 High St
Thomas M DiPasquale 9 Mansfield Dr
Peggy Dunn 2 Bridge St
Robert P Joyce 103 Turnpike Rd
James P Lynch 189 Acton Rd PO Box 113
Timothy S. McIlvenna 11 Brook Street
Kathleen A Tubridy 45 High St
Bruce Clark 11 Sharon Ave
Phyllis H Clark 11 Sharon Ave
Bernadette Gilet 880 Wellman Ave
M. Janice Spence 816 Wellman Ave.
Karen A. Thorp-Dussourd 16 Washington St
Jean S Whiting 196 Wellman Ave N
H Steve Flynn 13 Dayton St
Scott J Glidden 12 Kiberd Dr
David W Hadley 40 Campers Trail
Jason P Hanscom 25A Willis Drive
Nancy J Knight 29 Stonehill Rd.
Matthew J Sheehan 47 Washington St
Judith A Straeffer 5 Barry Dr
James H Comeau 29 Robert Bigelow St
Henry A Houle 1 Pearson St
Cathleen H Latina 15 Jessie Rd
Raymonde R Legrand 20 Oak Knoll Ave
Helen A Manahan 26 Muriel Rd
Daniel J Sullivan, III 4 Shedd Ln
Beverly A Barrett 3 Delpha Ln
Susan Carter Sullivan 16 Country Club Dr
David P DiGiovanni 128 Proctor Rd
Philip M Eliopoulos 161 Proctor Rd.
Carol A Kelly-Suleski 8 Buttercup Ln
Charles Wojtas 24 Elm St
Joanne M Anderson 6 Evergreen St
Janet G Dubner 46 Dalton Rd
Jeffrey A Hardy 5 Maple Ave
Nancy W Kaelin 22 Fairbanks Rd
Susan Kupor McHugh 63 Dalton Rd.
Pamela H McKenna 60 Hornbeam Hill Rd
Barbara A Belanger 25 Chamberlain Rd
Leonard W Doolan, III 52 Amble Rd
John S Goffin 19 Cathy Rd
James M Lane, Jr 290 Old Westford Rd
Jodi L O'Neill 22 Hitchinpost Rd
Kevin E Porter 48 Abbott Ln
Sean R Connor 10 Arbutus Ave
Richard J Day 6 Merilda Ave N
Karen M DeDonato 4 Archambault Way
Ralph J Hulslander, Jr 74 Smith St
Christina H Walsh 17 Old Farm Way
S George Zaharoolis 191 Princeton St
Francis J Barre 3 Sandra Dr
Scott D Berglund 6 Fisher Rd
C Thomas Christiano 6 Drew Cir
Ednah C Copenhaver 2 Waco Cir
Laura M McLaughlin 6 Cambridge St
James W Young 39 Cambridge St
Town positions up for re-election this year :
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
Patricia Wojtas 24 Elm St Chelmsford - RUNNING
Clare L Jeannotte 3 Hawthorne Ln - Not Running
Evelyn S. Thoren 18 Pinewood R. - RUNNING
Kevin E. Porter 48 Abbott Lane - NOT RUNNING
Susan Carter Sullivan 16 Country Club - RUNNING
Edmond N Roux 4 Wiggin St - RUNNING
David M Braslau 99 High St - Has not announced
Lisa E Daigle 21 Amble Rd - RUNNING
Barry B Balan 7 Skyview Dr - RUNNING
Jeffrey A Miller 10 Loiselle Lane - RUNNING
BOARD OF HEALTH
Earnest Wu 255 North Rd Unit 28 - Has not announced
Gerald L Hardy 181 Littleton Rd #4-443 - RUNNING
William E Spence 91 Billerica Rd - RUNNING
Denise Marcaurelle 7 Whippletree Rd - Has not announced
As of 01/08/10
Three vie for Chelmsford selectmen; more candidates expected
By Rita Savard, email@example.com
CHELMSFORD -- Nomination papers for town offices won't be available for another two weeks, but the 2010 election is already
buzzing with candidates.
Two open seats on the Board of Selectmen are being eyed by three contenders: incumbent Selectman Pat Wojtas, Town Meeting
Representative Matt Hanson and Finance Committee member Jon Kurland.
After Chairwoman Clare Jeannotte announced last week that she will not seek re-election, some say the pool of candidates for se-
lectmen will grow even wider once papers become available Jan. 4 at the Town Clerk's Office.
Jeannotte, who was elected to the board along with Wojtas in 2007, has been serving as interim business director for the Groton-
Dunstable Regional School District. Her decision not to run, she said, was based around needing more time for pursuing career
"We all get the same 24 hours in a day," Jeannotte said. "This decision will free up several of them for me, and I look forward to
finding new things to fill all that space. Life is big and large, and we should all try to experience as much of it as possible."
Candidates gearing up for this year's race plan to spend their time on the campaign trail.
Kurland, who has served on the Finance Committee for seven years, said he can bring a new skill set to the board.
Since the departure of Philip Eliopoulos in April, it's the first time in years that a lawyer has not sat on the board. Kurland opened
his law office in 1979. The office has been located on Billerica Road in Chelmsford for 17 years.
Kurland supported the two debt exclusions totaling $25 million for a new Fire Department and Department of Public Works, which
failed in a townwide vote in the fall. "We need to approach problems differently than we have been," he said.
Three weeks ago, the Board of Selectmen said it did not support putting a scaled-down, $9 million version of the debt exclusions,
proposed by Town Manager Paul Cohen, back on the ballot in April.
Kurland, 58, said he would support bringing the issue back to voters.
"This board doesn't seem to trust the public to act responsibly or to do what's right for the town," Kurland said. "I think the town, for
the most part, understands the issue. If (selectmen) don't put this stripped-sown version on the ballot, they're doing a disservice to
the town. You have to give voters the opportunity to be heard."
During her first three years on the board, Wojtas said she's been a logical voice on many issues facing Chelmsford, and can help
come up with creative solutions for the tough fiscal problems that lie ahead. She campaigned for state representative in the 2nd
Middlesex District seat last year, but lost the Democratic primary to Jim Arciero of Westford. Arciero won the seat in the general
Wojtas, 57, said she's proud to have had a role in passing measures that help raise more revenue in tough times, including sup-
porting local-option taxes and billboards. She does not support bringing another debt exclusion to the ballot in the spring.
"I think the voters have spoken very loud and clear," Wojtas said. "I would be opposed to bringing back another proposal so soon,
especially since the information we received was lacking details. I would want more information to do what's best for the town. I'm
not into the position of trying numbers and trying numbers until we hit the one voters like. That's not the way to approach a capital
project like this."
Matt Hanson, 21, who lost a six-way race for two open selectmen seats in the spring, said a lot of people in town encouraged him
to try again.
"The town's problems are still there and I'm interested in helping out," Hanson said. "There's a lot of good I can do."
Hanson, a Town Meeting representative who earned a bachelor's degree in political science at UMass Lowell in May, is a few
classes away from receiving a master's degree in regional, economic and social development.
Hanson said he would also support bringing another debt exclusion to the voters.
"It's not going to cost the town anything to put it on the ballot," Hanson said. "I think it would be great to see how the residents feel
about a smaller proposal."
Beginning Jan. 4, nomination appears will be available at the Town Clerk's Office, 50 Billerica Road, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mon-
day through Friday. Candidates for townwide office need 50 signatures from registered Chelmsford voters to qualify for the ballot.
Candidates are advised to obtain 75 signatures.
Candidates running for Town Meeting representative need 25 signatures and are encouraged to get 35. Papers are due back by 5
p.m. on Tuesday, March 2. For more information, call the clerk's office at 978-250-5205 or visit www.townofchelmsford.us.
WE ’ RE OFF TO T HE RAC E S
N o w a f e w w o rd s f ro m o u r i n c u m b e n t s e l e c t m a n
When I ran for a seat on the Board of Selectmen in 2007, I had
high hopes to achieve many objectives. Among them were control-
ling taxes for all taxpayers, and maintaining our excellent school
system. As has been abundantly clear in the past several years, of-
tentimes reality imposes restrictions on our plans. The economic
climate in the state, as well as the nation, has severely limited our
capacity to allocate funds to discretionary budgetary items, or to
provide tax relief.
Despite these economic uncertainties, I am proud of many achieve-
ments realized during the last three years, including the revitaliza-
tion of several commercial properties; attracting new businesses to
the community; construction of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail; and
the launching of new programs, such as the Greener Chelmsford
Initiative (which assists businesses in implementing environmentally
friendly activities, and recognizes those who have reached various
levels of environmental achievement), and the Military Community
Covenant (which will provide opportunities for businesses and resi-
dents to support military families and veterans through volunteer
With the support of fellow Board members, I have become active in the Northern Middlesex Council of Govern-
ments, the Lowell Regional Transit Authority, and other area boards, which facilitates on-going communication
with officials in neighboring communities. Regional support has been instrumental in delivering benefits to
Chelmsford, including stimulus funding for transportation improvements.
The most rewarding aspects of being on the Board include meeting with many residents of Chelmsford, and
being able to address concerns that have been raised, whether it relates to trash, the necessity for a Stop sign in
their neighborhood, or helping to navigate some seemingly arcane process. I have learned more about municipal
government and services than I ever would have imagined. I have been privileged to serve with colleagues who
have become friends, all of whom work to determine how best to use available resources for optimal results.
Any frustrations I have encountered are primarily the result of the economic conditions that exist, as previously
mentioned. We, as a community, can also be hindered at times by the incremental pace of government.
Should the voters of Chelmsford show the confidence in me to allow me to serve another term on the Board, I
will continue to collaborate with the rest of the Board and the Town Manager to make the best choices to keep
Chelmsford in the forefront of communities in the region, and in the Commonwealth. I would reiterate the goals
set out three years ago, and hope to make additional progress towards achieving them. In that respect, my pri-
mary goals would involve financial and budgetary management, such that there is not such a heavy reliance on
real estate taxes. I would search for opportunities to reduce expenses and/or generate revenue, using creative,
non-traditional methods. Among the initiatives that should be considered include regionalization of services, and
continued lobbying of the legislature and governor for the flexibility to implement changes that will help us help
Knowing that our economic outlook is not likely to improve in the near future, I will also focus efforts on main-
taining the quality of life that we have come to expect. Chelmsford is often described as a large town with a
small town feel. We must continue to showcase that trait through programs (at the Library, Senior Center, Center
for the Arts, etc.), and participation at community events (Winterfest, Fourth of July activities, etc.), as well as
tapping into the extensive volunteer spirit of residents to serve on the numerous committees and boards that are
vital to continued success.
Matt Hanson Candidate for Selectmen
In-Town Report :
Why have you decided to run for selectman again this year?
I am running to bring accountable and accessible leadership to the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen. I be-
lieve that the Board of Selectmen must be accountable to the residents, and that our town government is
responsible for protecting the quality of life and the quality of neighborhoods here in Chelmsford. I believe
a Selectman’s role is to be proactive and responsive, not passive.
Constituent services will be one of my top priorities on the Board of Selectmen. I will listen to every con-
cern and get back to every resident. I know that the best solutions come from working with residents and
getting them involved in the process early. We may not agree on every issue, but agree or disagree; you
will know where I stand.
I am a Town Meeting Representative in Precinct 5 because I am dedicated and passionate about improv-
ing my home town. I have lots of energy and will continuously work hard towards this goal as a member of
the Board of Selectmen. I grew up here, I went to school here, and I work here. I am finishing my Masters
degree at UMass Lowell in Regional Economic and Social Development. I am running again this year be-
cause my background, passion, diligence, and vision for Chelmsford will be a great asset to the Board of
Selectman. I know that running again will allow me to build on the support and contacts that I made in last
year’s race. I plan on reaching out to many more residents this year with the simple goal of sharing ideas
so that we may improve our town in the best way possible.
I would like to learn about your priorities, concerns, and ideas for Chelmsford so please feel free to con-
tact me at 978-319-5383 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please feel free to visit my website
Candidate for Selectmen
In-Town Report :
Why have you decided to run for selectman this year?
I am running because I believe that having served
on the Finance Committee for over 8 years, I have
an understanding of the finances of the town that
no one running for Selectman possesses. I believe
that there are challenges that we must confront and
that we must act decisively if the town is going to
respond to those challenges. Chelmsford cannot
advance as a community if we are satisfied by
standing still. Nor can we kick a can down the road
and expect someone in the future to solve that
problems we face today.
Janet Askenburg - Candidate for School Committee
My name is Janet Askenburg and I am a candidate for Chelmsford School Commit-
tee. My husband Bill and I have been Chelmsford residents for eight years and have
two sons in the public school system (Byam Elementary and Parker Middle). When we
re-located from Atlanta, Georgia to Chelmsford, we chose this town based on the ad-
vice of many people who recommended Chelmsford because of its excellent school
system. My husband and I are very involved in our sons’ educations and have been
pleased with the education that they are receiving.
We have experienced and benefited from the school district’s commitment to
educational excellence first hand.
I decided to run for School Committee because I believe my business experience and
leadership skills can help make a positive difference in our school district. I have
worked in the financial and corporate tax consulting industries for over twenty years
and in various leadership roles. I have experience in streamlining processes for
improved efficiencies and effectiveness (Six Sigma Black Belt and Lean Certified),
budgets, project management, analytical thinking, and client relationship
Such skills will serve the stakeholders of the Chelmsford School District well in these
My goal as a School Committee member will be to constantly strive to ensure that edu-
cational excellence is achieved and sustained through efficient, fiscally responsible and
highly effective means.
I believe the role of the School Committee is to provide supportive leadership to the Superintendent and Administration. If
the Superintendent and Administration are not successful in meeting their goals, then I believe the School Committee has
failed its charge.
Strategic Plan and Performance Measures
A five year strategic plan, with clear and measurable goals, must be developed. Any well run company has a five year plan
and the citizens of Chelmsford deserve no less. The School Committee, Superintendent, Administration, Principals, and
teachers must be held accountable for achievement and growth at all levels from elementary through high school and for
all students. Actively monitoring and broadly publicizing our progress should be an essential component of the plan.
Chapter 70 Aid
The residents of Chelmsford can count on me to partner with the other members of the School Committee and members of
the community to be a strong voice for a change in Chelmsford’s inequitable share of Chapter 70 aid.
Communication and Community Partnership
As leaders in the town, I believe the School Committee is responsible for engaging the community. As such, the School
Committee must proactively seek regular input from parents, teachers, students, administrators, and the community. By
becoming more open and transparent, families and other stakeholders can become engaged in the school district’s goals
and understand how their ideas and suggestions can be heard and implemented.
I will reach out to the public/private sector to form partnerships to participate in enrichment programs, sponsorships, and
other school initiatives where we can tap into the talent and community spirit that resides within Chelmsford.
One of my initiatives is to champion quarterly “open sessions” with the community to ensure that the voices of Chelmsford
families and citizens are heard by the School Committee. Each session will have a particular focus, such as “elementary
school and early childhood” and “enrichment” sessions. Additionally, the creation of an online suggestion box is an idea
worth exploring to help solicit ideas from the community.
As a School Committee member I will focus on improving communication between the School Committee and the commu-
nity through website enhancements, formalized communications, and scheduled updates. This will facilitate communica-
tion on the progress towards our goals as outlined in our strategic plan, as well as communicate the good news that so
frequently happens in our schools. Regular communication on our budget, including the aggressive pursuit of grants at the
Administrative level and at each school level, is important to prove that the School Committee is being a good steward of
the taxpayers’ money and exhaustively exploring all methods to close any financial gaps.
If elected, I will be your partner in our children’s education and will actively seek your input and listen to your ideas and
concerns. I look forward to working for you and welcome your input either by email at email@example.com or by
telephone at 978.764.8037.
Please visit my campaign website at www.janetaskenburg.com . Thank you.
BRAND NEW: Chelmsford's out to sell itself
By Rita Savard, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHELMSFORD -- What's in a name?
Officials working on a branding plan for Chelmsford are banking on theirs to draw more revenue and people into town. As the re-
cession wallops cities and towns across the country, members of Chelmsford's Economic Development Committee are looking to-
ward an image makeover to help attract business investment, tourists and new residents.
The town has a great product, it just needs a better capacity to market that product, said committee Chairman Mike Kowalyk.
"From a brand standpoint, we're the only town in the whole state that had four companies on the Globe's list of the 100 best places
to work, and we were named the 27th best place to live by Money magazine in 2007," he said. "But does everybody know that
about Chelmsford? When I think of branding, I think of Tide detergent. On the store shelf, we want the town to be the orange bottle
that catches people's eye."
Partnering with state Reps. Tom Golden, D-Lowell, and Jim Arciero, D-Westford, the Economic Development Committee is carving
out a campaign for Chelmsford that will pitch the town as a destination place to live, work and play. Last week, the committee ap-
pointed Golden and Arciero, both of whom represent parts of Chelmsford, as ad-hoc members. The representatives pledged that
they will use every resource at their fingertips to push the marketing plan forward.
"We both represent border communities, so we get it -- we've both voted against raising taxes that would hurt the local busi-
Arciero said. "We'll do whatever we can to help you."
"We have a whole host of folks ready and willing to come and help," Golden added.
The committee is outlining a strategy that involves research, polling local businesses and putting together focus groups to help find
a brand identity. The committee also plans on creating a Web site that lists properties for sale and commercial spaces for rent. In
the meantime, a tab will be added soon to the town's Web site with the latest information.
The branding campaign will have costs attached, which could raise some eyebrows in the midst of the state's soaring unemploy-
ment and foreclosure rates. Hosting groups, such as corporations, small-business owners and real-estate agents, to tour the town
and view empty commercial spaces will involve the cost of lunch, the committee said.
Starting up a Web site can also get expensive, costing up to $250 an hour, said committee member Laura Schweizer.
But if spending some money can help the town fill its vacant commercial buildings and offices, it would be worth it, said Town Man-
ager Paul Cohen.
"Even if you land one business, there's a huge return," said Cohen. "It ends up paying for itself because it's short money for a
Hard times across the country have prompted several cities, towns and states to come up with a logo or catchphrase to attract at-
tention. Nashville-based Northstar Destination Strategies has done work for about 100 cities and towns including, Hibbing, Minn.,
the birthplace of Bob Dylan. When Hibbing wanted to define itself as more than just an iron-mining city, it coined the slogan "More
The wrong slogan, warned Golden, could backfire and even spark controversy.
In Wisconsin, many citizens slammed the newer state motto, "Live Like You Mean It," which was previously used to promote liquor,
energy bars and diet books. Wisconsin officials defended the logo it paid an ad agency $50,000 to create, saying it was money
Then there are the brands that stick.
"There's a Lot to Like About Lowell" is still the most talked-about community trademark in the state, Golden said.
In May, Lowell updated that motto to include the positioning statement, "Alive, Unique and Inspiring." Radio ads marketing the re-
vised brand ran on WBOS 92.9 FM and slide shows appeared on Boston.com. The city paid Single Source Marketing about
$160,000 for its services.
"It was designed to talk more about the qualities that make Lowell likable," said City Manager Bernie Lynch. "We've been getting
good feedback from our businesses and what they're telling us is the image of our Lowell appeals to their workers and their cus-
tomers. They get the feeling that Lowell is a unique place to be."
Community Development Director Evan Belanksy said Chelmsford's biggest challenge will be finding its advertising niche.
"We're not competing with 128, Andover, Tewksbury or Billerica, for that matter," Belansky said. "Chelmsford is unique. We just
have to determine where it fits into the regional market."
Engineers warn Chelmsford of fire station's faulty floor
By Rita Savard, email@example.com
CHELMSFORD -- A crumbling concrete floor at Center Fire Station has engineers warning
firefighters to park trucks with caution.
After an inspection Dec. 10 of the building on North Road, Methuen-based Daigle Engineers
Inc. reports that several large sections of delaminated concrete, corroded steel beams and
shrunken timber shores pose a safety hazard at the town's fire-station headquarters.
To ensure that the floor is structurally acceptable for continued short-term use, the engineers
said several key issues need to be addressed, including limiting the number of times that fire-
fighters back vehicles into the building.
"This is critical for Engine 1 at the southern most bay of the station as the slab is not struc-
turally adequate to support the wheel loads," engineers state in their recommendations.
Fire Chief Jack Parow said firefighters have been following the engineers' advice carefully.
The safety inspection also revealed that several wooden shoring towers helping to hoist the
floor up have shrunk, "creating a slight gap between the tops of the towers and the underside
of the floor slab."
"If a large enough piece breaks off, the netting that's there to catch the debris won't help,"
Parow said. "Every time a truck rolls in, the floor bounces. Over the years, it's gotten weaker
and weaker. When a big slab of concrete comes down, it will take the net down with it."
The engineer's report follows the latest proposal put forward by Town Manager Paul Cohen to Chelmsford firefighter John Kivlan
build a new fire department looks up at a net holding chunks of
and Department of Public Works. basement ceiling that have come
loose. Above is the floor where the
Two months after voters shot down debt exclusions totaling $25 million for two new municipal fire engines are kept.
buildings, Cohen brought the Board of Selectmen a scaled-down version for about $9 million. SUN/David H. Brow
"Just because the first vote failed doesn't mean the problem has gone away," Cohen said.
The majority of the board did not support sending another debt exclusion to voters, with Selectman Pat Wojtas saying the results of the
October election were a sign of the economic times and that the people "spoke loud and clear."
But Cohen said the alternative -- spending about $600,000 to fix the fire-station floor -- is
an expensive solution for what would amount to a short-term fix.
"There's an urgency for planning on the fire facility," Cohen said. "The building has other
deficiencies besides the floor. It's been under review since 2003, and now we're talking
about doing an inspection every six months to ensure the safety of the people working
there. Something needs to be done."
On the same day engineers toured the facility, town officials locked horns after Cohen
said the Center Fire Station might close before the town sinks more than a half-million
dollars into the floor.
Engineers say the floor at the Chelmsford Selectman Sean Scanlon said shutting down the station would pose a greater safety risk
Center fire station is deteriorating and in to residents by increasing response times to emergency calls. Fixing the floor, he added,
need of repair. Town officials must now fig- comes down to public safety.
ure out how to pay for the work. Earlier this
year, town taxpayers voted against raising "Public safety is a priority in my mind, regardless of whether or not we think it's a financial
property taxes to pay for a new fire station. investment," Scanlon said.
SUN PHOTOS/David H. Brow
Cohen said he is trying to avoid a much bigger pay-out down the road, adding that bringing the outdated building up to par with health
and safety codes would cost more money than the town can pay from its capital budget alone.
To make the building structurally acceptable for the next three to five years, engineers recom-
mended several Band-Aid solutions,
including removing and replacing delaminated and lose concrete, mending the debris netting, re-
pairing shoring towers to eliminate gaps, repairing and replacing damaged braces, patching
cracks, and having more frequent inspections.
Cohen said he'll revisit the issue with selectmen in January, when Permanent Building Commit-
tee Chairman Dave Duane will give a preliminary report on the state of the town's municipal
Submitted by: Tom Christiano Town Meeting Representative, Precinct 9
OPEN LETTER TO THE BOS
Begin forwarded message:
From: Tom Christiano <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: December 29, 2009 11:45:08 AM EST
To: "Scanlon, Sean" <SScanlon@TownofChelmsford.US>, Eric Dahlberg
<email@example.com>, Pat Wojtas <PWojtas@aol.com>, Clare Jeannotte <clarejean-
firstname.lastname@example.org>, George Dixon <email@example.com>, Paul Cohen
Subject: Spring Town Ballot - Facilities
I just read an article in the Lowell Sun about the deteriorating condition of the center Fire Sta-
tion Floor. I also listened to your discussion of the Fire Station & DPW at your BOS meeting
earlier this month. I also discussed this topic with Paul Cohen when he was on my show a
couple of weeks ago.
In view of this recent information about the town's center Fire Station and the DPW facility, I
would ask that you vote to put the recently discussed $9.5 million Debt Exclusions on the
town's spring ballot. That would be $5.0 million to purchase & refurbish the Alpha Road build-
ing for the DPW facility, and $4.5 million for the new center Fire Station, as supported by the
town's permanent building committee and our Facilities Director Gary Persichetti.
Both of these proposals, totaling $9.5 Million, would equal approximately 38.0% of the previ-
ous $25.0 Million facility ballot question. It is clearly much less than what we asked to town to
vote on earlier this year, 62.0% less, therefore, we have NOT heard from the town voters on
this issue as yet.
As you know, there would be NO additional cost to the town if we add these two Debt Exclu-
sion questions onto the spring ballot, as we will have our annual town election at that time any-
way, therefore, it only makes sense to ask the voters what they think about these two facilities,
rather than to continue throwing good money down the drain for a temporary and inadequate
solution to the town's facility problems. I think our Town Manager summarized it accurately at
your Selectmen meeting this month.
Therefore, please vote to put this Debt Exclusion on the Spring Town Ballot as soon as
TM Representative, Precinct 9
6 Drew Circle
North Road project challenged in court
By Rita Savard, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHELMSFORD -- The Historic District Commission's approval of a two-story office building on North Road is being challenged in Superior
Michael Sargent, who owns a dental practice at 21 Chelmsford St., has filed an appeal to strike down the permit granted by the HDC, alleging
that the board failed to comply with state law, as well as its own bylaws when voting in favor of the project proposed by Epsilon LLC.
According to court documents, Sargent argues that the HDC adopted its own review standards and fell short on enforcing design criteria that
require new construction to follow traditional New England town patterns. Also, the plaintiff alleges the Epsilon building largely eliminated the
open-space concept mandated by a preservation restriction.
"I can't imagine for the life of me why they approved the project," said Peter Lawlor, an attorney representing Sargent. "From our perspective,
there's widespread noncompliance. It takes what is now a pasture and turns it into an office park."
Earlier this month, both the Conservation Commission and the HDC approved plans for the 15,494-square-foot Colonial-style building sub-
mitted by Epsilon LLC, which is managed by Michael Eliopoulos. If the project is approved, the structure will house medical, dental and law
offices, all run by different members of the Eliopoulos family.
Dennis Ready, chairman of the HDC, called the appeal a "tactic to delay the building's construction."
"There was a lot of discussion on this project over the course of four to five months," Ready said. "Architects and other experts were brought
in, the Massachusetts Historic Commission looked at it and town counsel reviewed it. We strongly believe the building plans meet all the crite-
ria of the bylaws in concept and design."
The Epsilon building has also come under fire by the Slow Growth Initiative, a Chelmsford-based organization that takes a hard-line stance
on what it deems as "unnecessary growth."
In October, Craig Chemaly, executive director of SGI, referred to the Epsilon building as a "high-rise" and was concerned the project would vi-
olate a 1979 preservation restriction on the land.
Philip Eliopoulos, a former selectman and attorney, said there were several more buildings on the North Road parcel, including a barn and
silo, during the year the preservation restriction was adopted, according to town records.
"Even if our project is built, there will still be 25 percent less building there than what existed at the time of the restriction," Eliopoulos said.
Besides working closely with the Chelmsford HDC for aesthetic input, the structure proposed for 11 North Road was designed by Daniel Bar-
ton, an architect who specializes in historic building projects and also chairs the Groton Historic District Commission.
"The project itself went through an extensive review prior to us even submitting the application," Eliopoulos said. "It was surprising to me to
see Mike Sargent sue the Historic District Commission, which he has worked with throughout the years on his own projects in the district."
But Lawlor, also a former selectman, said the HDC should have also obtained the approval of the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen before is-
suing a decision.
Following decisions from the Conservation Commission and the HDC, Community Development Director Evan Belansky has said that if the
Planning Board approves the project, the Board of Selectmen would be the final arbiter if problems arise with the proposal, or if someone
challenges the decision of the other regulatory boards.
The Epsilon Building is currently under review by the Planning Board. Lawlor said he sent a joint letter to the Planning Board and the Board
of Selectmen in October explaining his client's concerns, but has still received no reply from selectmen.
"Our interpretation is that the Board of Selectmen doesn't sit in some sort of super appellate body, but that the (preservation restriction) re-
quires the applicant to pass their proposal by the Board of Selectmen," Lawlor said.
Cohen: Town will take passive role in HDC suit
Cohen By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer
GateHouse News Service
Jan 07, 2010
Despite it’s name listed as a defendant, the town will be taking a passive role in litigation involving Historic District Commission’s approval of
a North Road office building in Lowell Superior Court, said Town Manager Paul Cohen.
Cohen said town counsel will closely monitor the lawsuit in court but the town will not dole out a large amount of money or resources to de-
fend the HDC in its decision, because he said the matter now falls largely on the applicant, Epsilon Group.
“It’s beyond the hands of the board at this point,” said Cohen.
Citing grievances with the HDC’s September approval of the 15,494 square-foot, two-story office building at 11 North Road, abutting property
owner Michael Sargent filed a lawsuit against the HDC and the Epsilon Group in Middlesex Superior Court on Dec. 28. The complaint
charges the HDC with exceeding its authority and making a decision unsupported by evidence.
HDC Chairman Dennis Ready previously said he does not think the lawsuit will go very far in court and he sees it as a delaying tactic by
Anti-40B group fined $1,000 for Chelmsford mailings
By Rita Savard, email@example.com
CHELMSFORD -- A letter sent to thousands of homes during last year's town election season has cost an anti-40B group a $1,000 fine.
After an audit of campaign expenditures, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance said the Coalition to Repeal 40B -- a ballot-
question committee formed with the intent of abolishing the state's affordable-housing law -- violated state campaign-finance law when it
spent money to endorse and oppose selectmen candidates.
As a registered ballot-question committee, it is against the law for the coalition to make expenditures "for the purpose of influencing the
nomination or election of a candidate," stated Michael Sullivan, director of the OCPF, in a letter to coalition Chairman John Belskis.
The coalition spent $2,000 to circulate a letter addressing the committee's opposition to 40B. The letter also encouraged residents to vote
for candidates George Dixon and Jim Murray, while it opposed Donald Van Dyne. The message was sent to 11,000 households.
Ballot-question committees, unlike committees organized on behalf of candidates, may receive unlimited contributions from individuals,
and also may receive contributions from business corporations. The state law is designed to prevent ballot-question committees from being
used to circumvent restrictions on the funding of candidate campaigns.
The mass mailing slammed Van Dyne, a developer, for having built two 40B affordable-housing developments. It also
accused him of being a participant in a land-flip scheme that was investigated by the state Inspector General's office. "Land flip" is a term
used when property is purchased and quickly resold for a profit.
A spokesperson for the Inspector General's Office previously told The Sun that Van Dyne's name appears in the investigative report but that
he was not involved in the land flip.
Van Dyne blames the coalition's mailing for ultimately derailing his campaign. Dixon won one of the two open seats last April, along with
political newcomer Sean Scanlon.
"This is very disconcerting and should serve as a wake-up call to all residents in the commonwealth on how a special-interest group like the
Slow Growth Initiative and the Coalition to Repeal 40B will try to manipulate voters in all municipalities and towns," Van Dyne said.
Last year, Belskis told The Sun that he relies on members in other cities and towns to "do their work properly" and report back on candi-
dates. In Chelmsford's case, members of the Slow Growth Initiative reported to Belskis, but Belskis said he could not remember who gave
him the information in which the mass mailing was based on.
Belskis did not return a phone call for comment yesterday.
Craig Chemaly, director of Slow Growth, previously told The Sun that his group gave Belskis a copy of the inspector general's report.
Chemaly said he did not write the letter slamming Van Dyne, but added that he had no problem with the letter's wording.
Jason Tait, a spokesman for the OCPF, said his office was not allowed to confirm or deny whether other complaints or audits against the
coalition are pending. But the coalition sent out mailings endorsing and opposing candidates in several other communities last year, Belskis
said, specifically pointing to Duxbury, where a four-term selectman who advocated 40B in his positions was defeated easily.
"We do this in a number of towns to get members interested in serving on their boards of selectmen so that there are people elected who
understand the issues of 40B, and represent in a way that doesn't negatively impact cities and towns," Belskis has said.
The coalition was ordered to pay $1,000 to the state's general fund to settle the Chelmsford case.
With the 2010 election season beginning, Town Manager Paul Cohen, a target in previous anti-40B mass mailings, said the incident should
serve as a reminder for all candidates and organizations to familiarize themselves with campaign-finance laws.
"Hopefully it's not only an effective enforcement tool, but an educational tool for other organizations that may not be fully aware of their
responsibilities under the law," he said.
Chelmsford taking over street light maintenance
By Chloe Gotsis/ staff writer
GateHouse News Service
Dec 29, 2009
In preparing for another lean budget year, town officials are looking at savings in all areas, including
street light maintenance.
This year, the town is opting to maintain all of its 2,200 streetlights in house. Town Manager Paul Cohen
told the Board of Selectmen at its Dec. 21 meeting the facilities union has offered to maintain the street-
lights at no additional cost.
The town currently shells out $3,100 per month to Republic Electric for the maintenance of its streetlights,
Cohen said. The town’s five-year contract with Republic ends at the end of December.
“My guess is by the end of the day probably around $20,000,” said Cohen. “It is significant. We are trying
to look at everything we do to see if there are ways to save.”
Cohen said the officials have spent the last couple of months exploring alternatives to paying an outside
vendor for streetlight maintenance and discovered that bringing the task in house will prove to be less
“We’re going to give this venture a chance,” he said, adding that the switch requires no additional equip-
Cohen said that residents should call the town if they notice a streetlight is out, because the town pays for
the lights even if they are not on.
Town officials discuss resolutions for 2010
By Chloe Gotsis/ staff writer
GateHouse News Service
Dec 31, 2009
Looking back on 2009, many will remember it as a year of hard financial times and struggling to do more
with less on the national, state and local level.
At the culmination of every year, many set goals for the upcoming year whether it’s drop a couple pant
sizes, spend more time with family, or just be nicer. But on a town-wide level Chelmsford officials are hop-
ing 2010 brings economic growth, improvement and a time when services are not cut, but enhanced.
“We hope the economy improves in the year ahead and that we have come out of the recession, enabling
us to maintain and restore town services,” said Town Manager Paul Cohen.
Over the past several months Cohen and town officials have struggled with the reality of the inadequate
and declining facilities at the Department of Public Works and the Center Fire Station. In October, town of-
ficials brought the case to the voters and asked for a $12 million debt exclusion override for a new fire sta-
tion and a $13 million DPW facility.
But voters handily defeated both projects signaling to officials this is not the time to raise property taxes.
However, officials are still left with finding a solution.
“I hope that we can address the long-term needs of the DPW and fire station,” said Cohen.
Selectmen Chairwoman Clare Jeannotte said residents deserve at least a 10-year outlook before the town
can bring any other questions to the ballot.
“I hope for development by the town manager, in conjunction with the Permanent Building Committee, of a
long-term capital plan to ensure maintenance for all town-owned buildings and capital assets,” she said in
Cohen said that he hopes next year will bring new faces out to volunteer in town.
In the upcoming year, Cohen said he is looking to communicate more directly with residents and provide
them with a clearer understanding of decisions made by town officials.
With concerns of global warming and climate change becoming more apparent, Cohen said he hopes the
town will be recognized as a green community by the state. Currently, Chelmsford has four out of the five
requirements for green community designation.
As health care and insurance costs continue to rise, Jeannotte said she is hoping the state can give the
power to design health care plans to local officials, the way it’s done on the state level. At the least, Jean-
notte said she hopes the unions and town officials can reach an agreement that will save jobs by reducing
health insurance costs before the July 2010 renewals.
Jeannotte said she wishes for more help from the state in 2010 both with pension reform and unfunded
“I dream of the state funding the innumerable unfunded mandates that are crippling our ability to provide
services to residents beginning with the special education circuit breaker and regional school transporta-
tion,” she said in an e-mail, adding that she dreams of the state getting the job done with pension reform.
With little doubt remaining that there are challenging budget times ahead, Jeannotte said she is hoping
the town can fill School Business Manager Bob Cruickshank’s position. Cruickshank is set to leave the po-
sition in February and the department has yet to find a suitable applicant.
Next year also marks a census year. The census determines the town’s legislative representation. Jean-
notte said she is hoping the census will bring the town one voice that represents solely Chelmsford, in-
stead of the current four state representatives who each have districts in other neighboring municipalities.
This year proved to be challenging for many aspects of town services including the police department. Po-
lice Chief James Murphy said he is hoping for better economic times for the town and the department.
“I look forward to better economic times, where police department programs and activities can enhance
the overall quality of life in Chelmsford,” he said in an e-mail.
WinterFest planning in full swing
By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer
GateHouse News Service
Jan 05, 2010
The dropping temperatures and falling snowflakes outside signal its almost time for Chelmsford’s annual WinterFest. Tricia
Dzuris, one of the event’s organizers, said there may be events added and some are weather dependent. The weekend’s
tentative schedule is provided below by Dzuris :
Friday, Feb. 5
Some of the town’s finest local eateries and liquor stores will provide savory desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth accompa-
nied by an array of dessert wines provided by Harrington Wine and Liquors at the annual WinterFest social at the library.
Beer and wine will also be available for purchase. The event is the official kickoff of the town’s “One Book” community read-
Saturday, Feb. 6
8 to 10:30 a.m. Central Co-Op Nursery School Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction at Central Congregational Church, 1
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Outdoor activities at Roberts Field: Boy Scout Troop 77 is sponsoring an afternoon of winter sports includ-
ing ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and warm refreshments to take away the cold weather chill.
9.a.m. to 2 p.m. Winter Rest at First Parish Church: Soup, sandwiches and dessert will be provided as families enjoy the
tunes of the UU School of Rock and The Chameleons. Children will also be able to enjoy face painting and arts and crafts.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo Exhibit at Center Town Hall: This year’s entries to the Cultural Council’s annual WinterFest photo
contest will be on display.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Malt Shop, Girl Scout Troop 215: The Central Baptist Church will return to the 1950s when Girl Scout
Troop 215 dons poodle skirts, cat-eye glasses and hula hoops as they serve up a menu featuring grilled cheese, hot dogs,
ice cream sundaes, frappes and root beer floats. Customers call also play retro board games and trivia.
2 to 4 p.m. Art Reception Chelmsford Library: Artsists from the Breakfast Club will display their art.
Noon to 5 p.m. Chowder Fest at the Senior Center: The Senior Center will serve up warm chowders to the tune of the
Come Back Kids.
7 to 11 p.m. “For the Health of It” An evening of music, dance and Zumba: Joe’s Attic and the Come Back Kids will enter-
tain attendees with their classic tunes and a dance instructor from Planet Dance will show why Zumba is the latest exer-
cise trend. Tickets are $10 per person. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 978-250-5201 or Diana Ryder at
Sunday, Feb. 7
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Outdoor Activities at Roberts Field: Residents are invited again to ice skate, cross country sky and
snowshoe as the Boy Scout Troop 77 serves refreshments.
Noon to 1:15 p.m. Snowshoeing at the Lime Quarry: The Open Space Stewardship is sponsoring snowshoeing on the
Lime Quarry trail.
1:30 to 2:50 p.m. Free Ice skating at the Chelmsford Forum
3:30 p.m. Nature Walk: The Chelmsford Land Conservation Trust is sponsoring a Winter Nature Walk at the Archer Mead-
owbrook Reservation at the dead end on Fenwick Drive. Walkers will be rewarded with a bonfire and s’mores at the end of
the walk on Skunk Island.
7th Annual ''Night of 1000 Kicks'' 12/30/09
To benefit the preservation of North Town Hall
Happy New Year to our Alpha Family!
I am thrilled to report that this year's Night of 1,000 Kicks was the best we have ever had!
29 students and family members participated, making this the largest group yet to complete the one thousand different kicks.
In addition, we raised $961 for the North Chelmsford Town Hall Restoration Project -- outstanding!
Thank you to our participants:
Sempai Dai Annette & Tim Riffe
Waka Sempai Josh Groulx
Shidoin Lee Ablove
Shidoin Neesa, David, Jake & Dianne Harris-Severance
Shidoin Carolyn Meins
Shidoin Karen Morrison
Connor & Eric Wiklund
Lauren & Tyler Stagnone
Gianpaolo & Noel Dulac
Sonia, Devesh, Anjali & Charudatta Khamitkar
Alex & David Parent
Happy New Year!
Sensei & Kanrisha Rollinson
THE BIG CHELMSFORD CUPCAKE FEST
AT THE CHELMSFORD CENTER FOR THE ARTS
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2010
Contest entry and submission rules
1. 3 categories for entry – Professional, Amateur, Student
2. No entry fees. Winner will be crowned Cupcake Queen/King
3. Each contestant may make up to 3 separate entries.
4. Icing style and flavor is not limited.
5. Cupcakes will be judged on creative decoration/presentation.
6. The size of the cupcake(s) is not limited, but entry must fit on a 5 x 8 size styrofoam tray to be provided at the Fest.
7. All signage or other promotional collateral is allowed; although it should be of limited size and tastefully respectful. The CCA reserves the
right to refuse signage.
8. Professional bakers may sell cupcakes by separate application to the CCA. (Please contact us by sending an e-mail to
email@example.com about selling cupcakes at The Big Chelmsford Cupcake Fest!)
9. Entry to be delivered between 10 and 10:30 am, 2/13/10
SUBMIT APPLICATION TO THE CCA either by mail or in person to: CCA (Town Offices), 50 Billerica Road, Chelmsford MA 01824 or by
sending information to our e-mail address above with ENTRY in the subject line.
Contestant’s Name _____________________________
Professional or Amateur or Student (circle one)
Precinct 7 Town Meeting Representatives
Tom & Linda Fall have asked me to pass along their
new email address
NEXT TIME ON
Nick DeSilvio - School Committee
Sheila Pichette - Master Plan
Roy Earley - TM REP Precinct 6
What's happening in the
Upcoming Town Election
JAN 19th U.S. Senate Election
IN TOWN REPORT ....how did it get
12 Stedman Street status
Chelmsford Cable chanel 8
Tues & Weds 8:30 PM;
Thurs 7:00 AM;
Sundays 11:00 AM
Submitted by: Evan Belansky -Community Development Director
PUBLIC MEETING On a Proposed
HOUSING REHABILITATION PROGRAM
Tuesday January 26th, 2010
Chelmsford Senior Center
75 Groton Road
Dear Home Owner:
You have received this mailing because your home is located in a neighborhood that has been
identified as an appropriate location for a housing rehabilitation program (see attached map).
Is your home in need of repairs or improvements? Does it have health and safety hazards, struc-
tural, electrical or plumbing code violations? Does it need more insulation or replacement win-
dows and doors? Does it need modifications to accommodate a disability?
If so, you may be income qualified to receive financial assistance, up to $30,000, for these types
of home modification repairs and improvements.
To learn more, please attend a public meeting on the Town’s proposed Housing Rehabilitation
Program. This meeting will present the proposed program guidelines such as eligible recipients
for financial assistance, eligible repairs and improvements, forms and conditions of financial as-
sistance and will provide an opportunity for questions and answers.
If you are interested, please complete the attached form and bring it with you to the January 26th
Otherwise, forms can either be returned to the Community Development Office by hand, mail or
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right,
for you'll be criticized anyway.
You'll be damned if you do
and damned if you don't.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
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