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In-Town Report   11-6-11
 

In-Town Report 11-6-11

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In-Town Report November 6th 2011

In-Town Report November 6th 2011

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    In-Town Report   11-6-11 In-Town Report 11-6-11 Document Transcript

    • Photo by Alison Ludwig OCTOBER  SURPRISE Photo by Alison Ludwig Photo by Stefani Bush Photo by Stefani BushPhoto by Stefani Bush Photo by Stefani Bush Photo by Stefani Bush Photo by Stefani Bush Photo by Alison Ludwig Photo by Stefani Bush
    • Outage-weary Chelmsford asks, Did they forget about us? By Evan Lips, elips@lowellsun.com 11/03/2011 09:48:26 AM EDT www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- One fallen tree. Five cars destroyed.You cannot make this stuff up.As if living without power for the last four days wasnt bad enough for George Street resident Ashley DeAngelis, shes also con-fined to her house.Her shiny Nissan Versa, parked alongside four of her familys cars, was not spared Saturday night when a 50-foot tree snappedaway from its trunk, crashing onto the driveway.She said an insurance claims adjuster has already declared her dads beloved Jaguar "totaled." totaled.Her grandfather, Larry DeAngelis, has spent the last four nights living inside his motor home. Thank God, the elder DeAngelissaid, he didnt sell it years ago.But DeAngelis and others are still irked that after four days, their homes remain dark."Were pissed, " he said matter-of-factly yesterday morning.Ashley DeAngelis said a National Grid worker actually apologized to her on Tuesday for what he said was a "poor response ef-fort.""I couldnt believe my ears when he actually said that," she noted. that,As of 9 a.m. yesterday, 9,538 out of a total of 15,372 Chelmsford customers were still without power. By 11 p.m., the number ofoutages were reduced to 4,713.During a 3 p.m. conference call with reporters, National Grid President Marcy Reed described current restoration efforts as beingin the "hand-to-hand combat phase," meaning most of the main lines had been restored. phase,In Middlesex County yesterday afternoon, 32,690 out of 222,799 customers were still in the dark.Reed said at the time "significant progress" has been achieved statewide, noting that crews had restored power to 70 per- progresscent of customers.But Chelmsford had been a different story. Approximately 13,400 customers were powerless as of Sunday afternoon. That meansas of yesterday morning, only about 35 percent of all affected Chelmsford customers had had their power restored since then.First Street resident Anand Bhatt said the sluggish response by National Grid is an example of "corporate irresponsibility.""Restoration efforts during an emergency like this should go beyond any kind of cost-benefit analysis," analysis,Bhatt added.What bothered Riverneck Road resident Donna Katsohis was the fact that it was not until yesterday that she saw her first Na-tional Grid utility truck."Even my mail carrier told me on Tuesday he hadnt seen a single truck yet," she said. "Did they forget about yet,us?"us?Reed said nobody has been forgotten and added that the goal remains to "be close to full restoration by (tonight)."But Kevin Connors, who lives on Acton Road and drives a snowplow, said he didnt like seeing power return to all of the townstechnology parks before residents were restored. He knows because hes already plowed several nearby parking lots."Its unacceptable," he said. "Residents should come first." unacceptable, first.Still, there were others like Reid Road resident Christina Squeri who seemed resigned to having to wait."Its hard to fault National Grid when you lay out entire neighborhoods in the middle of what wasonce a forest," she said. forest,Yesterday morning two generators could be heard buzzing outside her house. Squeri said her husband works from home as asoftware engineer and relies on power to do his job.When asked why it was taking longer to restore power in Chelmsford as opposed to other Merrimack Valley towns, Reed saidone reason was the towns location "in that I-495 snow belt." belt."Our estimate is that most of Chelmsford will have their power back by (last night or early today)," Reed said. today),
    • Should Utility Companies Rebate Customers for Power Outages? A Massachusetts legislator wants customers to get paid when they dont have power. By Scott Pickering November 2, 2011 www.woonsocket.patch.comA Massachusetts legislator is urging passage of a new law that would force utility companies to rebate customers whenthere are extended outages.State Rep. Daniel Winslow (R-Norfolk, MA) has asked the Massachusetts House Rules Committee to take action on apower outage rebate bill. According to a release from Winslows office reported on Wrentham Patch, the bill would re-quire rebates to customers who go without power for more than eight hours. The rebate would be for two days of theiraverage bill for each day the customer is without power.The move is prompted by the Halloween weekend storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customersthroughout Massachusetts, just two months after Tropical Storm Irene knocked out power to hundreds of thousands ofcustomers.Winslow is hoping to spur preventative maintenance like tree removal and trimming. He claims the efforts by utility com-panies have been inadequate. http://scottbrown.senate.gov Nov 03 2011 Brown EndorsesWinslow Power Outage Rebate BillWashington, DC – U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has endorsed a bill introduced by Massachusetts State Represen-tative Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk) that would require utility companies to provide a refund for customers who have been without power for over eight hours. "Like most of my neighbors, I find it unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of people in Massachusetts remained without power so long after Saturday’s storm. The inadequate response from the utilities raises serious questions about their storm preparations and whether they had enough assets in place to deal with the problem as it was occurring. What’s at the heart of this issue is safety. We had power out in homes with young children, and seniors living alone, with temperatures dropping to freezing at night,” said Senator Brown. “We need to put in place finan- cial penalties for the utilities so they will allocate sufficient resources to preventing a recurrence of the problem." “We need to make sure the residents of Massachusetts are being taken care of and the utility companies are held accountable to fix the problem in a timely manner,” said Rep. Dan Winslow. Background:Rep. Winslow’s legislation, currently before the Massachusetts House of Representatives, would require electric utilitiesprovide a rebate for customers who have been without power for more than eight hours. The rebate would be worth twodays of their average electricity bill for each day they are without power.
    • Attorney General: Important time to look at utilities By Johanna Kaiser/State House News Service GateHouse News Service Nov 02, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordWith about 220,000 electric customers still without power four days after a nor’easter knocked out serv-ice to more than 600,000 people across the state, Attorney General Martha Coakley says her office is re-viewing how utility companies manage their resources even when a storm is not coming, and whatpersisting problems need to be corrected.“I think it’s an important time for us with the DPU [Department of Public Utilities] to say‘Where are you marshaling your resources?’ Not just the short-term preparation for thisstorm,” Coakley said at a breakfast event hosted by the public relations firm Denterlein.storm,Coakley said her office will review the response of utilities to the weekend storm to determine the rea-sons behind the length of power outages, if the utility companies adequately prepared for the storm, andif any fines are necessary.One of the most common complaints Coakley says she hears is the lack of communication and availableinformation from utilities, especially for public safety and local officials.Her office, which oversees public utilities, has already fined utilities for their response to the December2010 snowstorm. The office is still reviewing the response to Tropical Storm Irene, which knocked outpower across the state for nearly a week in August.When asked about the perception that the companies are trying to cut costs when it comes to stormpreparation and response, Coakley said her office is comparing utility company expenses from previousyears to determine if spending is being used to improve service.Coakley has also called for a five-year freeze on rates if Northeast Utilities and NStar complete a pro-posed $4.7 billion merger, which must be approved by the Department of Public Utilities, to ensure in-creased profits are not being used only to pay shareholders.“They have a pretty rich rate of return frankly for their investors,” she said. investors,She dismissed claims that the merging companies were being “held hostage” by the state, saying she isnot opposed to the idea of a merger but wants to ensure savings are passed on to customers.“That savings that come from the merger should be also realized by consumers and notpassed along to them,” she said. them,When it comes to containing health care costs Coakley said shifting from a fee-for-service model to aglobal payment system will not cut costs if what she called a “dysfunctional, non-transparent market” isnot made more affordable. She said consumers also need to get more involved in the discussion of over-hauling payment systems.“I think as in many areas, whether you want to talk about the healthcare marketplace or the utility market-place, consumers are saying enough is enough. We demand transparency. We want to know what we’repaying for,” she said. On the topic of politics, Coakley, who ran unsuccessfully against Republican ScottBrown for U.S. Senate in 2010, said she has no plans for running for a new office.While stopping short of endorsing any Democratic candidate for the seat in the 2012 election, Coakleycalled herself a “big fan” consumer advocate and frontrunner Elizabeth Warren, who she called a per-sonal friend.As for lending advice for defeating Brown, Coakley said, “the issues will come to the forefront in a waythat maybe in a shorter race they get capsulized and tend to be shorthanded.”Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Five days later, limb still blocks Chelmsford road By Sarah Favot, sfavot@lowellsun.com 11/04/2011 06:36:25 AM EDT www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- A large tree branch, detached from its trunk, was suspended over a row of wires, while childrenwere playing in a front yard nearby and cars barreled through the police barriers that were put in place to close downthe road.This scene played out on Crooked Spring Road yes-terday afternoon behind the Parker Middle School, ascene that one resident said has been commonthroughout Chelmsford, one of the hardest-hit commu-nities in the area from the noreaster that hit Saturdaynight."Theres one of these in every road," said Rob road,Russo, looking at the tree that is nearly blocking hisdriveway. "But Im kind of surprised it hasntbeen picked up yet." yetHe said the branch came down Saturday around 8p.m. It didnt knock out power to his home because thepower had already gone out, he said.He said police and firefighters responded quickly to block off the road with barriers and put up yellow caution tape,which had been ripped through by yesterday afternoon from cars that continued to pass through.Russo said he has been nervous that a strong wind or heavy rain could knock the branch off the wires or that a carpassing through might strike the branches and knock it off the wire.He said a tree-company truck pulled up in front of the tree Wednesday night and then drove away, without removingany of the branches.Yesterday afternoon, Town Manager Paul Cohen said the branch would be removed sometime last night.He said he was in touch with National Grid about the tree, so it could untangle the wires from the tree before thebranches were removed."It reflected the extensive damage we have had in the community from downed trees," Cohen said. trees,He said most of the other fallen tree branches in town would also be removed last night.He said there may be some isolated trees still down by today, but they would be cleared. Photo by Lowell Sun Editorial News Photographer
    • Power Restored to Virtually Everyone Today Town Manager Paul Cohen said only isolated pockets will left for National Grid to work on today. By Krista Perry 11/4/11 www.chelmsford.patch.comTown Manager Paul Cohen said power has been restored to about 90 percent of the towns residents, and NationalGrid will work on the isolated pockets of town without power today.More than 30 line crews and 15 tree crews worked in town yesterday to restore power to the 25 percent of householdswithout it - about 3,600 customers.After four days without school, kids are back in classrooms today and many residents are back home from hotels ortheir friends houses where they were keeping warm or taking showers.Cohen said aside from communicating more frequently, there wasnt much more National Grid could have done to re-store power faster, since it was such a widespread event."There are people here from Michigan and North Carolina," he said. "National Grid wouldnt have hired even more peo-ple here because of one storm. People arent going to want to see their electric bills go up to pay for it."Cohen said he knows how frustrating it is for residents to see their neighbors who perhaps have power, but they do not."McCarthy Middle School and the Police Station, even though theyre next door, are on different feeders," said Cohen.The Police Station went off their generator and on to regular power today.According to National Grid, As of 3:30 p.m. yesterday, National Grid had restored power to 350,000 customers, with ap-proximately 69,000 customers still without service.“I’ve seen firsthand the damage and devastation the storm caused and have spoken to many customers and local offi-cials in our communities and I know how hard this is for them,” said Marcy Reed, president, National Grid, Massachu-setts in a press release. "Were concerned about the well-being of our customers and neighbors, and were pressingahead as fast as we can with repairs and restorations. We’re now in the most painstaking phase of the restorationwhere we have to go street by street and house by house to make repairs, often to restore small numbers of cus-tomers."The town is now working on clearing downed trees and limbs from the streets. Cohen said the Department of PublicWorks will start on main roads and work their way to the side streets and more isolated parts of town afterward. Cohensaid collections will also take place on the weekend, hoping to get it all clear before more snow arrives.Cohen said open burning season does not begin until Jan. 15.Cathy Ribeck of Rufinas said her restaurant finally got power back in time to open for lunch and dinner yesterday."I had to do some quick shopping to replace food until we could receive regular orders from our vendors, but most ofthem understood and were here for us with what we needed to get up and running for (last night)," she said. " ... It istough to be such a new business and then lose three days of business. We are normally closed on Mondays so weonly lost three days. Power went out here about 9:30 on Saturday night."Lynn Marcella, owner of Chelmsford Copy, said quite a few people stopped in to use the copy center, which never lostpower."We have had a pretty busy week with people coming in to makecopies, use our fax service and have documents printed out be-cause their home or office systems are out," she said. "We offerpeople a desk and warm spot near our sunny window where theycan catch up on paper work, plug in their phones and get warm."Marcella said one man in particular was very grateful the storewas open."I had a young man come in that had no power and had a big joboffer. He needed to have documents relative to the job offerprinted out and fax them. He was so thrilled once it all got donethat he gave me a big hug," she said.
    • ASK THE MANAGERITR :Will there be a Town wide pick up of limbs and brush(similar to what happened after the ice storm)?Or will there be an extra town wide brush drop off at Community Treescheduled in the next few weeks?PAUL COHEN:The Town has scheduled residential brush drop off days on Saturday, November 12and Saturday, November 19 from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Community Tree which islocated at 163 Billerica Road. The Town DPW is collecting downed trees and limbsfrom trees located in the Towns right of ways. This activity will extend into theweekends in an effort to clear the roadways prior to the uncertain arrival of wintersnowfall.ITR :Will there be any relief from the 2 barrel limit during the next trash pickup?Many people will probably have more than 2 barrels due to all the food that had tobe thrown out. Can the restriction be eased for the next scheduled pickup?PAUL COHEN:The 2-barrel limit will not be waived. I suggest that one dispose of any spoiled foodthis week and, if necessary, hold off on the solid waste disposal of other materialfor another week. Some residents have elected to compost their food waste.
    • END OF CHELMSFORD BLACK-OUT SECTION
    • Town Meeting Approves Study for Oak Hill An article to move Oak Hill into conservation was voted down. By Krista Perry October 21, 2011 www.chelmsford.patch.comAfter a lengthy debate, Town Meeting Thursday night voted down an article that would have moved Oak Hill into conservation land andinstead approved an article to do a study on the land. Oak Hill is a 66-acre parcel in North Chelmsford. Town officials said they need to know more about the land - whether or not its buildable and if suitable pedes- trian and vehicle access could be put in - before a decision is made to move it into conservation. Oak Hill had been eyed by the Affordable Housing Plan as a potential spot for affordable housing. At Town Meeting, Conservation Commission Chairman David McLachlan said Oak Hill was the top priority for the board to secure as conservation land. McLachland said 23 percent of the town is open space. His board manages about 849 acres of open space in town. "Oak hill was our highest priority for conservation, and it’s the only land owned by the town. Once land is developed its no longer available for conservation," he said. "Oak Hill, in the affordable hous - conservation, ing plan, was eyed for housing. This can be addressed after we have secured the land. This should be conservation land."land.In order to change the designation from conservation land to something out, the towns counsel said the the town would have to vote in favorof it with a 2/3 majority and petition the state legislature.Town Meeting Rep Sam Poulten offered an amendment to the article to exclude the portion of Oak Hill already under contract for a potentialbillboard. Town Meeting reps OKd the measure as a way to protect the town from litigation, just in case Town Meeting approved making OakHill conservation land.George Merrill asked voters to approve the move to conservation."I don’t have a crystal ball but I can guarantee if you do a study, there will be affordable housing on this property, noquestion in my mind about that," he said. " ... It’s a good possibility the (Lowell Sportsmens Club) would be closeddown. Its very close proximity and if you put people and houses on there, the first time they hear guns go off they’llbe crying all over town that they don’t want the noise. If its in conservation, itll cost the taxpayers nothing forever." forever.Many Town Meeting reps said they didnt understand the rush to put the land into conservation without studying it first. Others said a studyshould be done for safety reasons, considering the Lowell Sportsmens Club is so close.Claire Jeanotte said the town could always make it conservation land after the study."I think we can always revisit it, we have a proven track record of open space in this town and I have a great deal of re -spect for the Chelmsford Open Space Stewards and the Conservation Commission and everyone who has worked topreserve open space," she said. space, CLICK  HERE for your Town Rep’s vote on article 22 & 23 Town Gives Kronos Tax Breaks Town Meeting voted last night to give a tax increment finance agreement to the company. By Krista Perry October 21, 2011 www.chelmsford.patch.comTown Meeting last night approved a tax increment finance agreement for Kronos as an incentive to expand its world headquarters in town, amove that will retain 562 jobs and may create a significant number of additional ones.Kronos has a current location at 297 Billerica Road with an option to lease across the street at 300 Billerica Road.The agreement between the town, state and business will provide tax exemptions for the company on the additional or “incremental” valueadded to a property. Town Manager Paul Cohen said Kronos is looking to invest $6 million into the new location. The location is valued atabout $9.3 million and fiscal 2011 property taxes on it are $157,078.Kronos officials have also made it clear to the town a traffic signal would be needed to be able to cross Billerica Road, Cohen said. The townhas applied for a state grant to pay for that traffic light, which Cohen said the state is expected to approve. The cost for the light would beabout $240,000.
    • In the agreement, which would last for six years, Kronos would receive a 90 percent break in the increment value of the property.In 2014, the percent decreases to 75, and in 2015 to 60 percent. The percent continues to decreases by increments of 15 for thelength of the agreement.The town will also make about $40,000 on the building permit fees alone,Cohen said.Under the agreement, total tax breaks to Kronos amount to $238,829 andthe town will generate $235,000 in revenue, not including those permitfees.“We have to look at the economic realities in front of us in thereal world, and in the real word this is what is taking place,” place,said Cohen. “If we don’t grant them this, another community willand we if we don’t grant it in Massachusetts, another statewill.”will.Town Meeting Rep Mike Combs spoke against the article.“I think Kronos brings jobs to the area we want to have, but I think we’ve not done our homework enough to get agood deal on this,” he said. “ … (If the agreement started) at 75 percent, it would net same savings to them and revenue this,to us and take the risk out of it for Chelmsford. I’m going to vote no, I’d like to see a better deal.” deal.Town Meeting Rep Danielle Evans said she was in favor of the article. As the chairwoman of the South Row PTO committee working on anew playground, Evans said Kronos members have gone out of their way to help the cause.“They’ve pledged hours to organizations in town, they’re a great asset to this community. The last thing we need is tolose (them). This is not somebody we want to lose,” she said. lose, Town Meeting trendsetters first to use electronic voting By Evan Lips, elips@lowellsun.com 0/21/2011 www.lowellsun.com CHELMSFORD -- There was no time-consuming counting of hands or confusion over whether there were more "yeas" or "nays." With the click of a button, representatives at last nights Town Meeting efficiently voted in silence as the outcome of each warrant article was decided within a matter of seconds. But for Precinct 3 representative Pat Magnell, the best part of the newest technology to hit Chelmsford Town Meeting was instantly knowing how her fellow representatives voted. Once it was time to vote, each representatives name showed upalongside an empty box, beaming from a projector sitting at the front of the Senior Center hall. With everyclick, the boxes were instantly colored green for supporters or red for objectors."Its public information, and it is posted on the towns website," Magnell said. "The purpose of website,this whole thing is to show other residents how we voted." voted.Precinct 6 representative Marianne Paresky said she likes how the process is faster, especially when a two-thirds majority is needed.The $10,000 system, called OptionPower, is made by the Orlando, Fla.-based Option Technologies Inc.Chelmsford is the first community in the state to officially use an electronic voting method. Now, the residentswho elected the towns 162 Town Meeting representatives have a record of how their elected officials vote on important town issues. It also gives residents a way to find out when representatives arrive to vote and when they leave. Last night, representatives clutched the blue remotes and pointed them at the screen, as if changing the channel on a television. The results are not immediately posted to the towns website, but residents at home watching Town Meeting on Chelmsford TeleMedia can immediately see which way their representative voted. "The residents now have a way to find out if they want us to represent them," them, Magnell said.Photos by Lowell Sun Editorial News Photographer
    • Third Times the Charm??? CLICK  HERE   for presentationFACEBOOK CHATTER:Debbie Dery : The residents of McFarlin will just love it! Theyll get to listen to sirens all day and night.They wont have any choice but to use them with thetraffic backed up with no place to go. It will be a treat.Peter Eliopoulos:Our office is right next to the current fire station. No noise, no problems, no big deal andthat takes into account the utility construction going on.Cori Rose : It looks to me that the plan has been given a lot of consideration, it shows creativity in reduc -ing new construction costs, redevelopment of already disturbed impervious surfaces, a way to reduceheating and cooling costs by letting natural embankment do the work for us. My only criticism is that itneeds more greenscaping and should use natural drainage features rather than rely on traditional catchbasins. I am almost sold...Debbie Dery: Im glad that you dont hear the sirens Peter. There is no way on Chelmsford Street that thesirens will not be used because of the congestion of bumper to bumper traffic at many times of the daywith no place to go on Chelmsford Street . They will not be able to exit that easily. We have the intersec -tion at Fletcher Street and Wilson Street on a two lane road. Drumhill leads the most acidents in town withChelmsford Street coming in second place. Maybe because your building is new and insulated well thenoise doesnt present any problems. Maybe an addition of elderly hous ing would be perfect behind townhall rather than a proposal of scattering them throughout the town.Jeff Hardy: Deb, I have to believe there will me no additional calls or noise by moving one street over. traf -fic is the same. Not to mention there would have to be additional traffic lights to accomodate. These guysdont run sirens "day and night".Plus I think the seniors would benefit from sharing a building with safety personelDebbie Dery: One of the meetings concerning the previous proposal were residents near Wilson Streetthat not only complained about the traffic but also the noise that they would be exposed to if the fire sta -
    • tion was on Wilson Street. Your right about the lights Jeff. Where will the cars go when everything isstopped with no place to go?Susan Julian Gates: I really like this plan. It uses town owned property, makes use of town offices, is in thecenter, and would give our firefighters a safe workplace.Philip Stanway: Wow Susan I agree with you 100%.... is that one of the signs of "end of Days"Gary Parshley: First post and most likely not the last. Just a few items of interest. One the plan works, two itutilizes a dumpy area behind town hall that is really terrible to look at and three it leaves a"green space"the softball field unpaved. Look I dont like paying the high taxes in this town while watching the corpora -tions get tax breaks. So when they propose a necessary evil that improves two town owned buildings I saylets see it through. Oh yea a great way to pay for it put a toll at 495&110 so the NH folks coming through toavoid traffic can finance the infastructure. ;-)David McLachlan: Seems like a good alternative. Id like know what happens to current fire station. Do wegive it away for free?Susan Julian Gates: I can think of lots of uses for it (or the land)!David McLachlan: Why not sell it to offset the cost to build the new fire station?Thomas Fall: I would be cautious to selling off the land until we have a good idea what will be built on itand what it will look like. I want to preserve the integrity of the center around the common.Richard McClure: I thought they were going to relocate the Dutton House to that site?Peggy Dunn: I dont believe there is any intention by the town to sell the land where the present firehousestands. I dont think any town sells town-owned land nowadays. Sale would need to got to TM and I for onewould lead a charge against selling it.Jeff Apostolakes: Dutton House would look great thereDavid McLachlan: Okay. I buy that. And I understandCHA might sign a long term lease. But lets not forgetthe cost to raze the old building, prepare the site, movethe Dutton House, repair that site, and refresh the Dut -ton House for occupancy. Make sure we know who paysfor that. The taxpayers or the tenant?Roy Earley: ☆ - From ITR 1-30-2011DAVID HEDISON: The CHA is interested in pursuing along term lease of the site where the current fire stationis located if the Dutton House is moved there.A lower level would be part of the foundation to accomodate the CHA offices.The CHA would fund the interior renovations of the building with our own funds while the Town would con -tinue to investigate the use of the bequest made to the Adams Library for the re-location of the buildingand historic funds could be used for the exterior preservation.If the CHA offices are moved to this location/building, 6 to 8 new senior units could be created at McFarlinManor. This is the rendering of the building placed in Chelmsford Center.-----------------------(BTW the Chelmsford Housing Authority for those who dont realize, has nothing really to do withChelmsford other than their location,they are not run by the town but through the State and Fed. There are 253 local housingauthorities in Massachusetts and each one covers the areas around their locations. David J. Hedison, executive director ofthe Chelmsford Housing Authority, earns about $145,000.)Bill Askenburg: with space for the Food Pantry?
    • Sheila Pichette appointedto Chelmsford Finance CommitteeI am pleased to announce that Sheila Pichette of 26 Shedd Lane hasbeen appointed to serve on the Chelmsford Finance Committee effec-tive November 1, 2011. Sheila has an extensive history of public serv-ice in town, having served as School Committee member andchairperson as well as many other appointed committees such asMaster Plan Committee and the Arts and Technology Education Fund.She has a working knowledge of public finances and budgets and hasa keen perception of setting clear priorities and working with citizensin Chelmsford to move forward into a sustaining and positive future.Sheila is also a Town Meeting Representative, having served for (14) fourteen years.Please welcome me in wishing her well; she will be a positive addition to theFinance Committee.Richard E DeFreitas,Town Moderator, Chelmsford MAwww.rdefreitas@townofchelmsford.usMcClure Resigns from Planning BoardAfter being elected last spring, McClure has resigned.By Krista Perrywww.chelmsford.patch.comOctober 27, 2011According to town officials, Richard McClure resigned from thePlanning Board on Thursday, Oct. 27.McClure, a local lawyer, was elected to the board in April. He was in-volved in the recall effort against selectmen over the summer, servingas a speaker at a public information session for the pro-recall groupCheating Chelmsford.-------------------------Town of Chelmsford, MAThe is a vacancy on the Planning Board. The Planning Board and Board of Selectmen willappoint someone to serve until the April Town Election. If you are interested in serving,please complete a committee application form on the Towns website.CLICK  HERE
    • For Whom The Bell Tolls
    • Rep. Arciero receives Spirit of Compassion award GateHouse News Service Oct 27, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford STATE REPRESENTATIVE ARCIERO RECEIVES 2011 SPIRIT OF COMPASSION AWARDState Representative James Arciero of Westford was recently awarded the 2011 Spirit of Com-passion Award by Community Voices, a public safety and victim advocacy organization.Laurie Myers, President and founder of the organization and a Chelmsford resident, has beenworking with Representative Arciero to pass legislation regarding sex offenders. The legislationwould expand citizen access to level 2 sex offender information by making such data availableonline. The bill recently had a public hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.“I am honored and humbled by this award. The work is not done yet on thisissue, but with the support of Community Voices and their members, I know wewill win this battle” said Arciero in accepting the award. battle“Representative Arciero’s leadership on this issue is to be commended. Commu -nity Voices felt that his efforts to pass this bill will protect our children and makeour neighborhoods safer,” said Myers. “We were happy to present him with our safer,2011 Spirit of Compassion Award to recognize his advocacy,” she added. advocacy, “This is my top public safety priority this legislative session. This simple actwill move us forward in protecting families and children in our neighborhoods,” neighborhoods,said Arciero. “Level 2 offenders are dangerous people and we need to have all thetools available to protect our communities.” added Arciero. communities.Myers said the bill will ensure that the most current information regarding sex offenders is avail-able to the general public via the internet. “The safety of my community doesnt end atthe town line. As parents we travel to different communities with our childrenand should have access to the information without having to visit the police de -partment to fill out a form every time we want it. Sex offenders use the internetto prey on children, it only makes sense that parents be allowed to use it to keepour communities safe." said Myers. safe.Community Voice is a citizen’s advocacy group founded in 2004 which is dedicated to supportingand representing victims and survivors of crime; and specializes in sexual assault and internetsafety. The group is supporting the passage of the measure and testified at the public hearing.The legislation will bring Massachusetts in compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act and en-able the Commonwealth to access Byrne Grant funding. Failing to do so could jeopardize nearly$600,000 in critical funding. The bill simply allows for the posting of level 2 offender informationon the internet.In order to build the necessary support for passage of the measure on Beacon Hill, Representa-tive Arciero has actively courted the support of local and county officials. He was successful inreceiving their support, which includes Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, Worcester County
    • Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, the Massachusetts State Police Association and the local policechiefs from Chelmsford, Littleton and Westford. In addition, the bill has been co-sponsored by36 legislators from both parties.In early 2009, Representative Arciero was contacted by dozens of concerned Westford resi-dents about an alleged rape in the town. It was determined that a certain individual, originallyfrom Westford, had moved to Florida where he was convicted of a sexual offense crime. The of-fender later moved back to Westford. While his information was available online from the stateof Florida, similar information was not available in Massachusetts. In order to deal with theissue and the citizen’s concerns, a public forum was organized in which these topics could beaddressed. One result of the forum was the decision to file legislation to move forward bychanging the law to all for the placing of Massachusetts Level 2 offender’s information online.The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board is charged with determining the danger levelassociated with a sex offender’s crime and proclivity to re-offend. They rank offenders on threedifferent levels: Level One offenders are deemed to have a low risk of reoffending. Level Oneoffender information is not available to the general public, only to the police, several state agen-cies and the FBI. Level Two offenders have a moderate risk of re-offense. Their crimes areconsidered a danger to the public, but due to their moderate risk of re-offense, their informationis available to the public only at the local police department. Level Three is for those criminalswhose crimes pose the greatest risk to the public safety and are highly likely to re-offend. Theirinformation is available on-line to all interested individuals. Those individuals designated asLevel 2 offenders have in the past been convicted of such crimes as the rape of a child withforce, indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen years and other crimesagainst children.It is believed that enactment of the law would result in the saving of the taxpayer’s money byeliminating many of the proceedings regarding changing classification.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Laurie Myers, Executive Director and Founder of Community Voices; State Rep. James Arciero; Pamela LeBarre, Director of Education at Community Voices
    • Open space volunteers discuss new role in Chelmsford By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Nov 02, 2011 http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordThe Chelmsford Open Space Stewardship (COSS) may soon answer to the Town Managerinstead of the Conservation Commission.Established six years ago as a volunteer arm of the ConservationCommission, the COSS has outgrown the role, according to Con-Com Chairman Dave McLachlan. In addition to maintaining nineparcels of conservation land, nowadays the Stewards care foropen space land under the jurisdiction of the Chelmsford LandConservation Trust (CLCT) and the Board of Selectmen.At a Commission meeting Tuesday, McLachlan said a subcom-mittee of two ConCom and two COSS members should revisethe Stewardship’s mission statement and bylaws to reflect its ex- Dave McLachlanpanded activities.“We have both reached the time where COSS needs to be more independent ofthe Conservation Commission,” McLachlan said. “My guess is the split is more Commission,than fifty-fifty, with more open space.” space.McLachlan also suggested making the Stewardship more independent of its founder PhilStanway, who remains the fulcrum of the 20-person group.“There’s no question the Stanways are the power and force behind the group,” group,McLachlan said. “But heaven forbid something happens to them, or they leavetown, or get tired. It would be nice to have an organization in place aroundthem that could react. Our past experience is that the wheels tend to fall off ofthings.”things.Stanway, who attended the meeting with several Stewards, proposed only two changes: Up-date the list of conservation properties under Stewardship care, and shift COSS from Con-Com’s authority to the Town Manager’s, which would streamline disbursing town funds forCOSS projects. Town Conservation Agent Thad Soule would continue to coordinate thatprocess.These changes would give the Stewardship more room for non-conservation projects, includ-ing COSS’s own events, which invite interest and investment in Chelmsford’s open spaces,Stanway said. COSS partners with Jones Farm, the Chelmsford Farmers Market and localBoy Scouts, and receives donations from groups like the Chelmsford Women of Today andthe Chelmsford Mothers’ Club.“The more people we get involved, the more people get excited about usingthe open space. We don’t care who owns it,” Stanway said. “Our philosophy isn’t it,to look at whose name is on it. If it’s public space, we’re here to support it.” it.COSS’s budget dwindled from $2,000 to $200, according to Stanway, before coming back upto $500 this year.Sore spots between Stewards and ConCom members surfaced during the meeting.Commission member Beth Logan said COSS should give more notice of volunteer opportuni-
    • ties. Stanway’s wife Joanne answered notice has been suffi- Phil Stanway cient to draw large crowds to COSS events; Steward Debbie Broderick said the system is informal. “We advertise for volunteers and we don’t always get them, but the work gets done,” Broderick said. done, McLachlan put off hearing COSS views on conservation rules and enforcement to a future meeting, and hinted Stanway’s COSS authority may have improperly swayed an October Town Meeting vote on land off Oak Hill Road. Stanway advo- cated a study of the land, which reps approved, instead of strict conservation, as citizen petitioners and ConCom pre- ferred.“It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking as a private citizen. Because of your repu -tation and influence with COSS, some people think you speak for COSS, eventhough you say you’re not,” McLachlan said. not,Stanway circled around grievances of his own, remarking COSS’s 15-minute monthly audi-ences with the Commission are too short to cover much ground, and asserting the Stewards’unrivaled familiarity with conservation land after years of daily maintenance.Reciting the list of conservation properties COSS tends to, McLachlan and Logan namedeight before pausing. It was Stanway who stepped in with the ninth: Cranberry Bog.Still, the Commission and Stewardship were united in their desire to see conservation andopen space land flourish, especially in the wake of Saturday’s snowstorm.“I want to continue to work with COSS going forward,” said ConCom member Chris forward,Garahan. “We have great properties that will benefit from COSS, but I under -stand the town has other needs and it isn’t fair for us to benefit exclusively.” exclusively.The Stewardship has proven a reliable asset in a town that truly needs it, according toMcLachlan.“I hope COSS hangs around for a long, long time,” McLachlan said. time,Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Open Space Steward: Storm wreaks havoc on Chelmsfords open spaces By Joanne Stanway / correspondent GateHouse News Service Nov 03, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/Sunday morning, my husband Phil and I found a seat at a crowded Jessie’s Place in Chelmsford Center forbreakfast, having lost power with 80 percent of the people in town Saturday night. It was nice to have a hotmeal before going out to assess some of the damage in the town’s open space sites. As a barometer, wedrove to Red Wing Farm and followed Jerry the Open Space Dog to the wooded, bush-lined trail behind theopen meadow.It was a sad site to see so many beautiful birch trees bent over, bushes flattened and tree limbs broken. Thewater level was very high, making the area unseasonably flooded due to the rain and now melting snow. Philsays it will be awhile before the Chelmsford Open Space Stewards can assemble enough people to clean upRed Wing Farm – not to mention all the other sites – from the October storm devastation.We drove past Sunny Meadow Farm and it looked OK, and went to Heart Pond which didn’t appear to havemuch damage, but we’re certain that there will be a lot of downed trees to move and cut to clear trails all overtown. With that in mind, please let Phil know if you’d like to help and/or if you have a gas-powered chain sawto use and he’ll let you know when the Stewards and volunteers will deploy for post-storm clean-up. He canbe reached at 978-273-1474 or phil@thechelmsfordian.com. You can also receive ongoing updates at face-book.com/chelmsfordOSS.In this week’s Chelmsford Independent, Monica Jimenez wrote about Tuesday night’s Conservation Commis-sion meeting during which the future of the Chelmsford Open Space Program was discussed. As of this writ-ing, the meeting hadn’t taken place, but I can tell you that the discussion was sparked by the recent Oak Hillproperty vote at Town Meeting during which it was decided that more study was required before making 66acres (or portion thereof) conservation land. Phil was in favor of the study as were the majority of Town Meet-ing reps.The Chelmsford Open Spaceand Recreation Plan Committee had also previously decided that there weremany things about the Oak Hill property to consider before decided what to do with the land. Because COSShas been affiliated with the Conservation Commission since its inception, the opinion of individuals involved inCOSS could be viewed as counter to those of ConComm who lobbied for the land to become conservationproperty.My opinion? Considering land boundaries, access, liability issues, billboards (contract), and safety issues inadvance of making a decision is smart. I also think COSS has grown beyond ConComm, as is evidenced bythe work we do on town-owned properties, Land Conservation Trust land, school properties and so forth. Nota bad thing – just different.Remember that on Saturday, Nov. 5, the Stewards will host Air Pumpkin again where we use a trebuchet totoss those rotting pumpkins across a field. Please bring your own pumpkin to the field at the corner of PineHill Road and Galloway between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to watch it be hurled high and far across the field beforeexploding on the ground. Since trick-or-treating is now Sunday due to the storm, Air Pumpkin makes it acomplete Halloween weekend!And don’t forget to join us for the Day BeforeThanksgiving Walk on Wednesday, Nov. 23.Meet at the Janet Road entrance to Thanks-giving Forest at 2 p.m. for a hike, some his-tory, a bonfire, hot chocolate and cookies.Joanne Stanway can be reached at 978-273-1473 or jstanway@comcast.net. Infor-mation about the Chelmsford Open SpaceStewardship can be found atwww.thechelmsfordian.com, but become afacebook fan to receive daily updates.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights re-served
    • Residents weigh in on proposed dog park By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Oct 26, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsfordChelmsford —The Chelmsford Dog Association believes a piece of land by Roberts’ Field will make a good dog park, although abuttersare not so sure.At a public input session Tuesday night, CDA president Vivian Merrill said she believes the town needs a fenced dogpark.“There are a lot of dogs in town with no place to go off-leash, to run around and just be a dog,” Merrill dog,said. Erik Merrill, Vivian’s husband, said his work with the town’s dogs has led him to the same conclusion.“As animal control officer, I see the need for a dog park,” Erik said. “I deal with responsible pet owners, park,but unfortunately I also deal with irresponsible pet owners who ignore the leash law and leave wasteon people’s property. We need a place where dogs can run loose that’s not conservation land.” land.The park will provide a place for responsible owners to take their pets and may relieve problems caused by the irrespon-sible ones, Erik suggested.Vivian showed a handful of residents footage of a walk through the wooded, overgrown area behind Roberts Field at thecorner of Old Westford Road and Westford Street. Invasive plant life would be removed, she explained, but trees wouldnot be cleared. The site would be fenced in two phases togive the CDA time to get funds together.The CDA looked at more than a dozen pieces of land be-fore Chelmsford Conservation Agent Thad Soule suggestedthis one, according to Merrill. A dog park must not be toonear schools and houses, but must not be too isolated,either.CDA advocate Beth Logan, who has experience trainingdogs and working in a dog park, said the changes in theland will keep dogs interested while preventing them fromseeing the whole park at once, a view that might be dis-tracting.Residents of Thomas Drive and Old Westford Road wholive near the site raised concerns about dogs fighting, mak-ing noise and leaving waste that might contaminate nearbywetlands.But Logan said dogs actually tend to fight more when on leashes because they feel restrained. When off their leashes,she said, they like to play.This should ease worries about barking, as well, Logan said. The loud “guard barking” that causes complaints is usuallymade by dogs confined to their homes, defending their property when they sense strangers. In contrast, Logan said, un-leashed dogs may get excited enough to yip now and then, but in general they are quiet.CDA member Will Wagner allayed concerns about the noise owners would make calling to their dogs by pointing outthere will be an “airlock” between two gates where owners can leash and unleash their pets.As for the concern about waste, Logan said, trash barrels and bags will be provided on-site, and she has found dogparks are largely self-policing, with owners reminding each other to pick up after their pets.Thomas Drive and Old Westford Road residents expressed concerns about people as well as pets. Kids play in thatarea, they said. They wondered how crowded the place might get, especially with dog owners possibly coming fromother towns.But half an hour before the session was scheduled to end, they seemed to have no further questions. They asked theCDA to be vigilant about maintaining the property, to post rules on the site and to keep people from parking where theyshouldn’t. They also asked the CDA to build the fence some distance back from a footpath on the property to preservethe feeling of the woods.At least two residents at the meeting were happy a dog park would be coming to town. A woman who recently moved toChelmsford from Connecticut predicted it would build a sense of community. Another young woman said she is excitedshe will have a place to take her pet.“I can’t wait to have a dog park in Chelmsford,” said Tricia Lesniewski. “I’m psyched.” Chelmsford, psyched.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Selectmen polish new media relations policy By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Posted Oct 28, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/newsChelmsford —Selectmen are reviewing a draft of a new media relations policy, which will come up again attheir Nov. 7 meeting.Drafted by Selectman Jim Lane, the policy states the following: Only the Town Manager maymake an official statement on behalf of the town relating to a significant Jo n K ur la ndissue; employees may not release public records before receiving thego-ahead from their department head and the Town Manager; townofficials and employees should not present their own personal views asthe town’s or break confidential news about the town on personal blogs;town officials and employees should be aware of how they presentthemselves via social media, and use discretion.Selectman Pat Wojtas wanted to define “significant” and pointed out some parts of the policymight be difficult to implement, while Selectman Jon Kurland discussed the section aboutemployees’ personal views versus the town’s. The aim is not to censor employees, Kurlandsaid, but to aim to speak with one voice about important issues.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved☆ - The Board of Selectmen is seeking five residents to serve on a study committeeto explore the possible future use of the Town-owned 66-acre Oak Hill parcel.If you are interested in serving, please go to the Towns website and submit avolunteer application form by November 17.CLICK HERE Selectmen discuss Oak Hill st udy committee By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Oct 26, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/newsConservation Commission Chairman Dave McLachlan asked the board in open session to appoint 12 residents andTown Meeting representatives to a committee to study land on Oak Hill Road. One representative would come fromeach Chelmsford precinct and two would come from Precincts 2 and 3, where Oak Hill is located. Town officials wouldprovide the committee with the resources and information, McLachlan said, and would serve in a strictly advisory role.At Town Meeting last week, Selectman Jim Lane presented an example of an Oak Hill committee with seven or ninemembers, most of whom were on town boards such as the Conservation Commission and Planning Board. Selectmendid not decide Monday how many members should be on the committee or whether they should be mostly citizens ortown officials, but discussed officials’ guiding role in such a project and suggested a selectman should be a liaison orvoting member.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • ☆ - Ask the Moderator...Why is it that Town Meeting Representatives can not refer to each other by nameduring debate and deliberations?There are two reasons.The first is to prevent the debate from being personal which can lead to per -sonal attacks during a heated discussion. It is the same reason the US Senaterefers to speakers as "the Gentleman from Georgia or the Lady from Wiscon -sin", etc.. You should refer to previous speakers as "the previous speaker orthe Rep from precinct 5", etc.. Observe what transpired in the reports, in theLowell Sun, of an adjacent town, which starts with a "B" (not to mentionnames), at their fall town meeting. There was personal name calling and flar -ing tempers, and it almost became physical. We do not need that image inChelmsford, therefore; the "no use of names" policy will remain. Its really notthat hard to accept.The other reason is that by usingnames, it implies a familiarity that cancause one to believe the town is beingrun by an inner circle. Such is nottrue and we should do everything wecan to avoid that image. In fact, it isnot even appropriate to call the TownManager by his first name... it shouldbe Mr. Manager. This also applies tothe Moderator, Town Counsel, TownClerk, etc.I do not believe that this is a severehardship nor do I believe it inhibitsdebate. It is a simple courtesy thatboth houses of congress use and itshould flow down to Town Meeting aswell.Richard E. DeFreitas,Town Moderator
    • We invite you to take a brief survey regarding the Chelmsford Public Schools as part of the Strategic Planning Process. The creation and implementation of this strategic plan will provide both direction and identify priorities for district-wide and school-based initiatives for 2012-2017. We want feedback from parents and all community members. Please visit the school website for the survey - Janet Askenburg Chairman School Committee CLICK HEREThe Fine Arts Department has entered a contest sponsored by Glee. This contest could helpFine Arts with building a very needed shed for theater storage. Please help by voting on the Glee Give A Note Website. You can vote every day until Nov. 10th! CLICK HERE to view, vote and share.
    • WN  with Dennis Ready and Mary Gregoire10/19/11Stefani Bush talks with Dennis andMary about family life and living withMitochondrial Disease andPrimary Immunodeficiency DiseaseColleen Stansfield (Planning Board)talks about Town Meeting, electronicvoting and Oak HillCLICKHERE 10/26/11 Beth Bounds and Brendan Berger talk with Dennis about their new website CommonPlace Chelmsford CLICK HERE
    • EXTRA ExtrasAffordable Housing Plan CLICK HERE
    • S AINT MARY CRAFT FAIRSATURDAY NOVEMBER 26 9:00 am to 3:00 pmSome tables still available for crafters for more information contactDiane Earley at dianealex@comcast.net or Michelle Caron mishcaron@yahoo.comProceeds to benefit St. Mary Parish 80th Anniversary fund, and St. Mary Music Ministry.★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★ -AFTER THE STORM- RESIDENTIAL BRUSH DROP OFF @ -COMMUNITY TREE- 11/12 & 11/19 8 AM - 4 PM
    • WA L K   a n d TA L K   t u r k e yThe Day Before Thanksgiving Walk onWednesday, Nov. 23. Meet at the Janet 23Road entrance to Thanksgiving Forestat 2 p.m. for a hike, some history, a bon-fire, hot chocolate and cookie
    • Members of the Chelmsford community are launching a new community web platform for town residents, called The ChelmsfordCommonPlace. The goal is simple: to connect neighbors with neighbors and streamline all the great existing communications that arealready established and beloved.It is free, safe, and easy to use.You can create a profile at: www.Chelmsford.OurCommonPlace.com.The Chelmsford CommonPlace is an online bulletin board. Its designed tomake it easy to share events, announcements, offers, and requests with yourneighbors and to stay up-to-date with whats happening in Chelmsford.Notify your neighbors about a lost cat, ask to borrow a ladder; use it to keepup with local events happening in Chelmsford, or to publicize your own; re-ceive announcements from city services and other organizations in town, orstart your own group in the community.The goal is to get neighbors connecting directly with neighbors.
    • Chelmsford Town Meeting,Fall 2011 : Deleted Scene CLICK HERE
    • QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
    • In-Town Report News Links: LOWELL SUN CHELMSFORD INDEPENDENT CHELMSFORD PATCH ITR on FACEBOOK linkIf you have any comments or suggestions on the In-Town Report write Roy at intownreport@gmail.com ROY EARLEY Town Meeting Representative Precinct 6 In-Town Report Westlands Watchdogs Open Space Steward