Itr jan 30 2011


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ITR January 30th 2011

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Itr jan 30 2011

  1. 1. WHERE DO WE PUT IT ALL ???
  2. 2. If at first you don’t succeed ... ITR ●1/28/11 JIM LANE runs for Selectmen Friday afternoon Jim Lane took out nomination papers from the town offices to begin his second run for the board of Selectmen. Lane ran for Selectmen in the fall but lost to Pat Wojtas in the town’s special election to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Sean Scanlon. ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Why I am running for Board of Selectman I live on Old Westford Road with my wife, Deanna, and our 7-year-old twins, who attend the Byam School. I also have a 26-year old son. Deanna and I are proud to be from Chelmsford, and appreciate the abundance of opportunities that raising our family here has given us. I have been very involved in the community that has been so good to myself and my family. During this time I have continually broadened my experience in town government. As an Elected Plan- ning Board Member, Chairman of the Master Plan Committee, Com- munity Preservation Committee Member, and an elected Town Meeting Representative I have continued to research the issues, ask tough questions and cast my vote based on the best interest of Chelmsford. Most recently, I have participated in a 20 month comprehensive Mas- ter Plan review which looked at every aspect of the town. The Master Plan sets the strategic vision for the next 10-15 years identifying is- sues, opportunities and recommendations which will guide future boards, committees and policy makers for the town.In my professional career, my current position is that of Regional Vice President & General Manager for EMCOR Facilities Serv-ices, a Fortune 500 leader in commercial real estate solutions for Facilities Management and Property AssetManagement. Collectively I have over 25 years of experience in facility management, operations and maintenance,and other services, often at sites with highly technical requirements and mission-critical functions. My responsibilitiesinclude overseeing of a multimillion dollar budget and managing more than 300 employees. My experience offers alengthy background negotiating and managing union contracts through collective bargaining.Prior to EMCOR I was employed by Johnson Controls, Inc., This was an opportunity that broadened my experience and deep-ened my knowledge of how to manage buildings for maximum performance. During this time, I was responsible forthe award-winning John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse. One of my most significant honors came when my projectteam was presented with the Presidential Leadership in Energy Conservation Award for reducing the governments total energycosts over 14 percent, resulting in savings of $600,000.The past several years have brought tough financial challenges and continuing change for our community. Now morethan ever we need experienced leadership to ensure that Chelmsford remains one of the finest towns in the Commonwealth ofMassachusetts. With my business acumen, proven leadership ability and town government background I can help thecurrent board collectively and collaboratively make sensible, sound decisions in the best interest of Chelmsford.Those who know me understand I will commit myself to ensuring the towns continued financial strength. With carefulfinancial planning, we need to continue to maintain our stabilization fund in order to meet the uncertainty of our state and nationaleconomy. We must also be mindful of our bond rating, which greatly impacts our cost of borrowing money for the many importantprojects in town, including our current sewer and school project. Finally, it is incumbent on all electedofficials, to advocate for more aid from the state. Public safety and public education need to remain our top priorities aswe continue to navigate through this unprecedented time of budget challenges.Here is a sampling of the items I will pursue if elected as YOUR Selectman:1. Preserve & Protect open space and natural resources2. Utilize my financial and business experience to ensure our town remains financially solid moving into the future3. Ensure that Green initiatives and Energy initiatives are instituted into our town bylaws4. Reduce health care costs by pursuing more cost effective plans5. Pursue additional revenue generating sources for the town6. Reduction of vacancy rates on existing commercial property7. Institute a Citizens’ suggestion box on the towns website8. Reinstitute the town wide public input sessions on a quarterly basisI welcome the opportunity to bring my business experience, financial acumen and long range planning background tothe Board of Selectmen, and respectfully ask for your vote (on Election Day, April 5th).Jim LaneCandidate for Chelmsford Selectmanemail: jim@electjimlane.comphone: 978.256.5381
  3. 3. Ice Rink Opens for Winter Fun After setbacks and storms, the Community Ice Project opened to thrilled skaters Sunday morning. By Julia Gavin 1/24/2011 www.chelmsford.patch.comThe Community Ice Project made it through vandalism, melted ice, and storms to get here, butas of 10 a.m. on Sunday, its up and running. Julie McDougall of Chelmsford said her"We made it," said John Smith, lead maintenance coor- daughter Anna didnt believe that she useddinator, " were finally open." open to skate on ponds and is looking forward to using the outdoor rink frequently. Credit Julia GavinJay Taranto, who has been organizing the project whileits founder Phil Cohen is out of town on military duty,gave a short speech thanking the community, town, andvolunteers for all their hard work to get the rink on its feet.Jessica, Cohens wife, cut the ribbon to open the ice forfun."Phil wishes he could be here," Cohen said of her here,husband who will likely be in town for a Winterfest eventat the rink. "Were happy that these guys picked itup while he had to be away." away.As volunteers and community members watched the firstskater, Alexandra Taranto, 12, of Chelmsford, take theice, there were many smiling faces set against the sunnybut cold morning."Its exciting," Taranto said of the rink. "Itll be fun to have." exciting, have.Many of the volunteers who have worked on the rink were on hand to watch the first skaters."Its been a lot of hard work," Smith said. "I need some rest, but its great to see work,people out there." there.With so many hurdles beaten, the Community Ice Project volunteers and supporters are nowlooking forward to many ice skating sessions for the community."Its very exciting and has been a long time coming, " Taranto said while watching hisdaughter skate. "Now were just looking forward to people coming down and enjoy -ing the rink." rinkNext steps for the rink include the installation of night lights for evening activities and surveil-lance and a final hot water cover treatment after this weeks storm.For more information on the rink and to learn how to help through volunteering or making a do-nation, please visit their Web site or call John Smith at (978) 580-0170.
  4. 4. Finally...OPENING DAY
  5. 5. Photos by ScoopCLICK HERE  Tom Christianofor Video footage of Opening Day Phil Stanway
  6. 6. Electrically charged vote ITR ●1/20/11On January 20th a demostration was held at the town offices of the electronic voting system thatTown Meeting will vote on in April.The cost can range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on how high tech the system you buy is.If approved, Chelmsford could be the first in the area to use the system in recording Town Meet-ing votes and being able to make every Town Rep’s voting record available to the residents whovote for them.What are some of the Town Representatives thoughts on the subject?Joanne Anderson Precinct 6 TM REP :I think it is a good idea; however, I think a lot of people in town will find this to be money that should be spentelsewhere at this time. Especially with all the news of the teachers not having a contract for so long astheres no money. I think we would look like hypocrites spending money where it does not need to be spenttoday. I realize teachers raises and this are in 2 totally different price tags, but can someone tell me wherethe money is coming from to pay for this and how much extra money will need to go into it in the future forupgrades, etc? I do think it would be helpful too for people to see who shows up and who doesnt. I was sur-prised looking at the In-Town Report how many people miss 1/2 the Town Meetings.Debbie Derry Precinct 6 TM REP :I am in favor of a system that not only would record our vote but also show the attendance of town meetingreps.Matthew Cilento Precinct 6 TM REP :I like the idea. This might even identify those that register as attending but happen to leave early...Is this a one time expense or are there ongoing operating costs associated with it, or additional personnelrequired to manage it? While this is a Good Idea, we should be cautious of expenditures in light of these fis-cal times - and the public perception of such expenditures...Jodi O’neill Precinct 7 TM REP :My first thought problem I have no problem with the idea of my voting record being public. Secondthought...$10,000 should be spent on something more important. I dont really see how this would improveservices to our town. Ill think about this one for a bit but overall I believe we have more important things tofocus on.Peggy Dunn Precinct 1 TM REP :This is the only really responsible and accountable way to go.Art Carmen Precinct 9 TM REP :How about public donation for $5K and matching appropriation for the other 5K. Im more interested in theteachers getting a decent and affordable raise at this point after bogged down SC negotiations for close to2 years now.
  7. 7. Jim Lane Precinct 7 TM REP :I am VERY much in favor of bringing this technology toChelmsford. Accountability and transparency is always a positive and willallow the hard working taxpayers to see exactly how their elected reps arevoting and will provide a permanent record for the town clerk.Additional benefits the town would leverage long term cost savings with less staff needed for hand counts Instant results posted on the power point screens or monitors Historical benchmarking data for the town to utilize for how certain precincts vote on specific areas such as budgets, capital purchases, bylaw modifications, etc.. Better accuracy on controversial billboards Potential revenue generation. The town could look into renting this equipment to other towns who may not want to purchase.Realizing this technology is relatively a new concept in a local municipalgovernment I would recommend you initiate a testing of the system beforeany purchases are made. As I had mentioned previously, the town of Waylandhas tested this technology which I believe was done at no cost and was wellreceived by the public.Great idea and I am willing to help anyway you need to bring this into Chelmsford.Colleen Stansfield Precinct 6 TM REP :This might even identify those that register as attending but happen to leave early...Hank Houle Precinct 4 TM REP :Electronic voting, that is a great idea.Sheila Pichette Precinct 4 TM REP :Think it is a great idea but, is there any type of funding that we could receive from the statefor the $10,000 to install - Ha! On the recent Politically Incorrect show the topic of Electronic Voting at Town Meeting came up. Listen in on what was said CLICK HERE
  8. 8. Building Committee Presents Plans for $9M Fire Station The proposed new station would be built on either Wilson at Chelmsford Street or Crosby Lane at North Road. By Krista Perry 1/25/11 The Permanent Building Committee last night presented plans to selectmen for a new fire station to replace the one in the center of town, which has been deteriorating for several years. Committee Co-Chairman Pat Maloney pro- North Road Rendering posed either a $9.1 million station on Wilson Street and Chelmsford Street, or a $9.5 mil- lion station on North Road and Crosby Lane. St. Marys Church currently owns theNorth Road property. The church has of-fered to sell it to the town as they are rais-ing money to building a $3 million parishcenter. The difference in cost lies in theapproximately $400,000 the town bud-geted for buying the land. Saint Mary Parish Center Rendering"There are structural deficiencies,theres no room for training (in the current station)," said Maloney. "The technol - station),ogy is outdated, theres a lack of stroage. The living quarters are poor." poorThat station was built in 1952 to serve the towns population of 10,000 people, said Maloney.In 2009, the Permanent Building Committee proposed a $12 million fire station at Wilson Streetand Chelmsford Street, where the softball fields are now, but it failed at Town Meeting."We heard it was too much money and in wrong location," said Maloney. The commit- location,tee discussed renovating the cur-rent station but decided it left noroom for expansion."We tried to squeeze downprogram requirements," said requirements,Maloney. "We think we can do19,000 square feet." feet.Relocating the softball fields is in- Chelmsford Street and Wilson Street Rendering
  9. 9. cluded in the costfor a station at Wil-son Street andChelmsford Street,said Maloney.Maloney presentedgeneric floor plansfor each site, whichincluded four bays,operation supportspace, and fire-fighter space in-cluding a kitchen,showers andbunks.A second floorwould have admin-istrative space and a training center for firefighters.Demolition for the current station is also included in each figure. Maloney and Town ManagerPaul Cohen said ideally, the space in the center of town that will be demolished is perfect forthe Dutton House. Finance Director John Sousa said the town would do a debt exclusion for the station and do a20-year bond on the property. The new fire station is the topic of the latest"There is no perfect site," said Maloney. "I think that’s site, POLITICALLY INCOTTECTwhere the community needs to come out very quickly.We need indication sooner rather than later." later. CLICK Maloney said it will take about a year to build, and if all goes ac-cording to plan, construction would begin in October 2011 andthe station would open in October 2012. HERE"If anyone doesn’t believe we need a new fire station ...go down there and look at the engineering reports. There are people out therewho do seem to think this is something the Fire Department or administrationhas made up," he said. " ... We patched it up but it’s a short range fix." up fix.Four out of five selectmen have to vote in favor of putting a question on a ballot for a debt ex-clusion. The measure must also pass at Town Meeting.Cohen is hopeful spring Town Meeting will approve a new station and a question will be on theballot for April 5.Selectmen will have to make a decision by the end of February which proposal they will chooseto put to the town.Selectmen have a public input session next month and hope to hear opinions on the matter.Attorney Doug Hausler, representing a homeowner on Crosby Lane, said his clients primaryconcern is diminishing home value.
  10. 10. "Our concern was not to get into litigation with the town, and to avoid it, and totry to mitigate potential damage claims like the 24-hour noises going on acrossthe street," he said. street,Hausler suggested rezoning the Crosby Lane property to commercial, which would make hisclients property more valuable.Selectmen Chairman George Dixon said that was something the boardwould consider.Peggy Dunn, however, spoke against rezoning the area."I would hope you don’t consider Mr. Hausler’s proposal.(Ive) fought to save North Road from spot zoning changes," changesshe said. "How many more zoning changes are we going to doon North Road before we totally destroy it?" it Mary Slattery, a North Road resident, said she was also concernedabout her property value dropping."We’re all shocked by this proposal," she said. " ... Im very upset by this. (Please) proposal,cooperate with us. We all have our own interests at heart. I hope you’ll be fairabout this … I am very concerned about my investment. I cant afford it to godown in value." value.Tom Doyle, a Crosby Lane resident, agreed."We’ve all invested a considerable about of money and now as a direct abutter,Im confronted with fire engines rolling in and out. Its not something I bargainedfor when I bought this property," he said. property,The Wilson Street site, said Doyle, does not involve land acquisition and would be less expen-sive."It makes no sense to me. You’ve heard from the fire chief, he has no prefer -ence," he said. "You already own the land on Wilson Street. Its suitable for theencebuilding and with all due respect, that should be the site." site.
  11. 11. The House that I live inDavid Hedison :Executive Director Chelmsford Housing Authoritygives an update to the In-Town Report on the latest ongoing projectsat the CHAHere is a quick update on our developments in progress:CHOICE Center : This is a 37 unitelderly development for which we se-cured $9.6 million dollars. It is expectedto open April 15, 2011. The applicationdeadline is January 20th. So far, wehave over 100 eligible applicants for the37 units. It is clear from the responsethat there is a strong need for seniorhousing. The lottery will be conductedon February 4, 2011. We will have 37 ap-plicants that will be very happy and over70 that will be put onto the waiting list.Based upon the number of people thathave applied and the number of units,there will be over 70 applicants on thewaiting list and it will take over 7 yearsto offer all of them a unit there. CPCawarded this project $500,000.Highland Ave : This is a five unit family development consisting of two bedroom units. We have re-ceived over $1.5 million for this development from a number of sources. $75,000 was awarded from CPC.We expect this development to be completed by late 2011 and construction to start in March of this year.Manahan Street : This development is for veterans only. We have applied to the State in the Fall 2010funding round and have not yet heard if the project will be funded. Because of the high number of appli-cants and the high competition, it will most likely go into the Spring 2011 funding round. We are confidentthat it will be funded in 2011. We are also working on raising additional private funds through grants andfoundations. Our goal is to raise $140,000 from private resources. This building has been named afterRichard P. O’Neil a local veteran who served our country and served the residents of Chelmsford Housingfor almost 30 years. Our goal is to have this building completed by late 2012.Carlisle Road, Westford : This is a development for veterans only as well. We have applied to theState in the Fall 2010 funding round and have not year heard if the project will be funded. Because of thehigh number of applicants and the high competition., it will most likely go into the Spring 2010 fundinground. We are also working on raising private funds in the amount of $200,000 for this project. This site willserve families that are veterans. Our goal is to have this building completed by late 2012.These are the four developments in progress. We continue to work with the Town, the residents andthe community as a whole to develop projects that will meet the needs of the community.I hope you and the community find this information helpful. David Hedison, Executive Director Chelmsford Housing Authority
  12. 12. Good Morning Roy: 1/25/11Last night, I presented the plans for the CHA to work with the Town in the preservation of three buildings inChelmsford. The CHA Board voted to support the preservation of1.) The Dutton House: The CHA is interested in pursuing a long term lease of the site where the current firestation is located if the Dutton House is moved there. A lower level would be part of the foundation to acco-modate the CHA offices. The CHA would fund the interior renovations of the building with our own fundswhile the Town would continue to investigate the use of the bequest made to the Adams Library for the re-lo-cation of the building and historic funds could be used for the exterior preservation. If the CHA offices aremoved to this location/building, 6 to 8 new senior units could be created at McFarlin Manor. This is the ren-dering of the building placed in Chelmsford Center.2.) If the Chelmsford Board of Selectman approve the fire station at North Road and Crosby Lane on the St.Marys parcel, the CHA Board voted to support the re-use/re-development of the two homes that currently siton the site. This option would require that the Town of Chelmsford purchase 26 North Road through CPCFunds and the buildings would be moved to the site. The CHA could create 14 new units of senior housing.The buildings would be funded through a combination of CHA funds and CPC funds for Community Housingand Historic Preservation. Below is the rendering of what the project may look like if it moved forward.At this point, these are options that have been presented to the CHA Board, the Chelmsford Board of Se-lectman and the CPC Committee. I wanted to share this information with you.Take careDavid J. HedisonChelmsford Housing Authority
  13. 13. ASK THE MANAGERIn this issue a local resident takes the reigns and asks the managerquestions that involve the newest fires station plan which would relocatethe Dutton house and the Chelmsford Housing Authority officeResident:I have a few questions that I would like to have answered concerning theChelmsford Housing Authority that Im sure Paul could answer.How much rent does the Chelmsford Housing Authority pay for their currentlocation?Paul Cohen:{I interpret the words "current location" to mean the current location of theChelmsford Housing Authoritys administrative offices which are located at theformer McFarlin School building.} The Chelmsford Housing Authority (CHA) ownsthe former McFarlin School building. Therefore, the CHA does not pay any rent tothe Town for the use of this location.Resident:How much rent will they pay if they use the Dutton house? Will they be required to pay all the utility bills?Paul Cohen:I do not envision the CHA paying the Town any rent if it were to occupy the Dutton House. One of the goals of theCHAs possible use of the Dutton House is to preserve an historic building that the Town could not give away forfree. A long-term lease agreement between the Town and the CHA may require the CHA to be responsible for themaintenance and operating costs of the building.Resident:The Chelmsford Housing Authority is a state run program and how much are they going to pay for therelocation?Paul Cohen:The CHA may not pay any of the costs to relocate the Dutton House. The Library Trustees may pay for the costs torelocate the building from the site of the Adams Library. The Library Trustees may use trust funds, not tax dollars, topay for this cost.Resident:Im sure you are aware that the Chelmsford Housing Authority does not only represent the Town of Chelmsford but othertowns in the area. WHY do we have to donate a HOUSE for Mr. Hedison? These are my tax dollars and Iresent us giving him a new home. Why are they talking about how the town needs more elderly housing when they arenot providing more family housing? I guess you know where Im coming from. We currently have one of thehighest tax rates in the area and with that being said I would also like to know when is the South Fire Station going to bereopened? How can we ask the voters after spending $400,000 to shore up the floor to once again raise their taxes whenwe still have a station closed?Paul Cohen:As I wrote above, the Town has tried to give this house away. The Dutton House building has sat vacant for over adecade. The relocation of the Dutton House may enable the current CHA administrative office space at the formerMcFarlin School building to be converted into six units of low income elderly housing. The CHAs waiting list demon -strates a need for additional elderly housing. There is also a need for additional low income family housing. TheTowns growth in its average single-family property tax bill has actually fallen over the past decade as compared tothe rate of property tax growth of other Massachusetts communities. The re-opening of the South Fire Stationremains a goal of the Town. However, the closure of this fire station can be attributed to the continuing loss of stateaid, rather than the limited income that could be derived from the Dutton House. As for the cost to repair theflooring at the center fire station, it was $40,000 not $400,000. If the repairs to that center fire station were notmade, it is likely that the center fire station would have had to have been closed. As it is, the center fire stationis in desperate need of replacement or major reconstruction. The floor repair was performed in order to providethe time to achieve a permanent solution to address the long-term needs of a center fire station.Resident:Why does the Town of Chelmsford needs to pay a pension fund hike for the Chelmsford Housing Authority?Chelmsfords share is increasing from $36,382 to $45,372 an increase of 24.7% as reported in the Lowel Sun.I really didnt know that we were paying into a pension fund for the housing authority.Paul Cohen:The Chelmsford Housing Authority is a separate municipal established under state law. It is independent of theTown of Chelmsford, just like the Chelmsford Water District, North Chelmsford Water District, and the EastChelmsford Water District. The Town does not pay any monies towards the Chelmsford Housing Authorityspension assessment, just like we do not contribute to the water districts pension assessments.
  14. 14. Politically IncorrectwithTom Christiano Politically Incorrect 1/25/11 Guests include: Pat Maloney - Building Committee Maggie Marshall - Library trustee Pam Armstrong - TM Rep & Al Thomas - School Committee candidate. Topics: The new Fire Station proposals, electronic voting, the Old Town Hall renovations, the selectmen and sch. comm. races, etc. CLICK HERE for Show
  15. 15. Chelmsford residents electric bills to lighten up By Rita Savard, 01/14/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- Electric bills for Chelmsford residents just got brighter with state lawmakers agreeing to eliminate National Gridfees for underground utility work.Legislators approved the towns home-rule petition Jan. 5, which will result in a 2 percent reduction on electric bills starting some-time this spring, according to Town Manager Paul Cohen."Its great news for residents because the law will allow the Board of Selectmen to suspend the 2 percent Na -tional Grid surcharge for the next several years or longer," Cohen said. longerThe petition, approved by Town Meeting in October 2009, began out of frustration, Cohen said.About 10 years ago, the electric and telephone companies added a small fee to customers bills to help cover the costs of in-stalling underground utility wires in Chelmsford Center.Over the years, National Grid collected $5 million toward the project, but changes in telephone service kept Verizons share atabout one-tenth that amount.Because other telephone providers do not have to pay the surcharge, Verizons account for the underground utility project isabout $500,000.Town officials started to question whether National Grids $5 million collected from surcharge fees was more money than the com-pany needed to cover the projects costs."Its a lot of money and none of it can be used on telephone wires," Cohen said. wires,Before residents see any changes to their bills, the Board of Selectmen will first hold a public hearing to suspend the surcharge.A hearing will be scheduled once the board receives the final forms of the petition from the House and Senate, Cohen said."Its a small savings," Cohen said. "But its still a savings. Its always nice to see a bill go down instead of up." savings, up. _______________ Citizens appointed to Zoning Bylaw Review board Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Thu, Jan 13, 2011 The Planning Board appointed Jim Lane and Joanne Anderson as citizen represen- tatives to the new Zoning Bylaw Review Committee at its meeting Thursday night. Five individuals applied for the two positions on the board that will meet to review the town’s bylaws and offer suggestions for changes. Along with Lane and Anderson, the other applicants included Peggy Dunn, Nancy Jim Araway and Dave McLachlan. Joanne Lane Each candidate had an opportunity to explain why they each wanted to serve on this Anderson new committee.Lane said he wanted to continue the work he and the Master Plan Committee recently completed after a 20-month period."One area of concentration was the bylaws," said Lane. "There are areas where the bylaws are outdated or bylaws,dont meet the needs of the town." town.Currently a member of the Planning Board, Lane announced last fall he does not plan to seek re-election to that committee.As such, he would be a citizen representative to the Bylaw Review board and not another Planning Board member.Anderson, who lives in the Westlands, said she first become interested in zoning issues when officials began discussing pos-sible changes to the Chelmsford Street business corridor."Im asking to be part of that committee because you cant sit back and let things happen and then com -plain," said Anderson.plain,Lane and Anderson will serve on the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee along with three Planning Board members, a memberof the Zoning Board of Appeals and the community development director.The Planning Board also voted to appoint Sue Carter, Ed Roux and Colleen Stansfield to the Bylaw Review Committee.This committee will be responsible for prioritizing, researching, drafting and presenting potential zoning bylaw amendments inaccordance with the recently completed 2010 Master Plan.
  16. 16. Pamela Davies appointed to library board Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Tue, Jan 11, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comLiving across the street from the MacKay Library, Pamela Davies jokes she has to remember the North branch is not herprivate reading room.Davies, who has lived on Washington Street for about five years, will soon be spend-ing even more time at the library after the Library Board of Trustees and the Board ofSelectmen appointed her to the library committee."We approached Pam Davies because she (represents) a constituency that has notbeen represented on our board for quite a while," said Library Board of TrusteesChairman Maggie Marshall.Currently a stay-at-home mom with two young sons, Davies has a background infundraising and medical writing.She applied to fill the vacancy left by retiring trustees Diane Severin as a "way to getout of the house one night a month." Washington Street resident Pam Davies was appointed to thePeggy Dunn also applied but was encouraged to wait until the April election to run for Library Board of of the seats up for re-election, said Marshall.A combined vote by the selectmen and library boards approved Davies nomination astrustee by a 9-0-1 vote.Selectman Pat Wojtas abstained from casting a vote Monday night.Davies will serve until the next election in April.Davies, Dunn and Marshall have already pulled papers to run for the three full-terms that are up in April.Tom Christiano pulled papers to run for the last year of Severins original term.☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆SUPPORT OUR TOWN COFFEE brought to you by the PATCH( oh yeah and by that TV guy too ;)Another round of coffee and chat was served upand to the locals at the Java Room on Janary 13th Photos by Krista Perry and TC
  17. 17. Chelmsford resident calls 9 North Road too tall By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Jan 11, 2011Chelmsford —A request for an order to stop construction at 9 North Road in Chelmsford has been denied.Chelmsford resident and attorney Richard McClure asked the Town Building Commissioner Scott Hammond for the order ina letter dated Jan. 11, in which he quoted Lowell engineer David Beati as saying the business complex underway at 9 NorthRoad violates a town regulation about the height of buildings.The maximum allowed height for a three-story building in Chelmsford is 35 feet, said Beati, while the maximum for a four-story building is 45 feet. The 9 North Road building is more than 40 feet.Beati also pointed out the building was approved as a two-story structure, but actually has a partial third floor.“After reviewing the approved architectural plans, there exists an obvious discrepancy between the ap -proved building and that which is under construction,” Beati said. construction,In light of this information, McClure concluded in the letter, work on 9 North Road must stop.“I must respectfully demand that a ‘cease and desist’ order issue from your office suspending all con -struction at said site until the building is brought under compliance with the original plans and permits,” permits,McClure wrote.Hammond responded Jan. 11 with a succinct letter of his own.“After reviewing the approved building plans stamped by a registered architect, planning board approvalfile and conducting a site visit on January 11, 2011, I respectfully disagree that there is an obvious dis -crepancy between the approved building and that which is under construction,” Hammond wrote to McClure. construction“Therefore your request for a cease and desist order is denied.” denied.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Controversy continues over 9 North Road By Rita Savard, 01/12/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- Richard McClure wants the town managers resignation.Town Manager Paul Cohen wants an apology.After the testimony of an Eastern Bank senior vice president, one thing is clear --a tug-of-war continues over facts behind 9 North Road.McClure, who has sued the town over its approval of the controversial Eliopoulosbuilding project, said the Board of Selectmen should demand that Cohen resignin the wake of Fridays deposition hearing at Latham Law Offices in Reading.But Cohen sees a different version of the story."I think Im owed an apology," Cohen said. "What upsets me is that their original complaints were proven apology,wrong. But there were no apologies, just new accusations." accusations.Cohen was responding to charges raised against him last year regarding his role in the development of 9 North Road.A July mailing that landed in thousands of Chelmsford mailboxes railed the town manager for allegedly turning down landthat was owned by Eastern Bank and offered at no cost to the town.The letter, penned by Roland Van Liew of Better Not Bigger Alliance, stated that Cohen not only refused the banks offer, but
  18. 18. that he also failed to notify the Board of Selectmen and the Community Preservation Committee about his decision. TheBetter Not Bigger Alliance is an organization that advocates sustainable growth.Cohen said the allegations are false and at no time was he offered free land from the bank.On Friday, Thomas Dunn, Eastern Banks senior vice president of corporate operations, was questioned for several hoursabout his conversations with Cohen.Cohen told town officials during Mondays Board of Selectmen meeting that the deposition transcripts, printed in full on thetowns website, prove that no conversation about free land or dealings behind the backs of selectmen took place.Pointing to page 153 of the transcript, Cohen referred to McClure asking Dunn why he would contact the town of Chelms-ford if the bank was negotiating with the Eliopoulos family.Dunns response was, "to see if I could get a better price." price.When McClure asked what Dunn was offering, Dunn said, "I wasnt offering, I was asking if they had interest." interest.In light of the transcripts, McClure said if Cohen "is waiting for an apology from me, tell him not to hold hisbreath."breath.McClure said the parcel in question was clearly a top site marked under consideration for a new Center Fire Station."Paul Cohen was offered the entire parcel but he purposely didnt act on it because he knew the Eliopou -los family was interested," McClure said. "It just doesnt pass the sniff test." interested, testAt the time, Philip Eliopoulos, Michael Eliopoulos son, was a member of the Board of Selectmen.Cohen said he first heard about the banks interest in selling the 9 North Road property from Hank Houle, a Chelmsford fire-fighter who was also on the Fire Station/DPW Search Committee.Houle told Cohen that bank representatives were speaking with Mike Eliopoulos, Cohen said.Cohen said he then called Dunn to inquire whether the bank was negotiating a sale."We didnt talk about price, but I knew what the assessed value of the land was," Cohen said. "He said the was,parcel was for sale. I said Id get it back to the Board and I did." did.Cohen said during an executive session, which followed a Board of Selectmen work session, the issue was discussed withselectmen when Philip Eliopoulos was not there. However, there are no recorded meeting minutes of the conversation,Cohen said.Selectman Pat Wojtas said yesterday she vaguely recalled a brief discussion about the issue."Paul told us that Phils father was interested in purchasing the entire parcel, but there was no, Oh whatdo we now?, " Wojtas said. "During that time we were going through quite a few (state aid) cuts and therewere many layoffs. Publicly, we werent really that interested in it at the time. If the timing was differentmaybe the outcome would have been different." different.The parcel, purchased by Michael Eliopoulos from Eastern Bank, for $400,000 will eventually house medical, dental and lawoffices owned and operated by his children and other family members.The two-story, 15,494-square-foot office building being built on the parcel first spurred lawsuits from local dentist MichaelSargent, whose practice abuts the property.Sargent filed suit with three town boards over an alleged violation of a 1978 preservation restriction, which he said was cre-ated to retain the two-acre parcel as open space. Former Selectmen John Carson, Paul Hart and Joe Shanahan, whohelped author the preservation restriction more than 30 years ago, spoke before town officials last year to confirm the intentof the bylaw was to keep the land as open space.Following a packed public hearing last August, selectmen agreed that the project didnt violate the preservation restrictionand Sargent dropped his lawsuit. But McClure picked up where Sargent left off.Despite several lawsuits, the project was given a green light by a state land court judge last year.McClure, who filed his suit last summer, said he plans to call more town officials in for questioning.To view a .pdf document of the complete deposition, visit www.townof happening.cfm.
  19. 19. Chelmsford office park lawsuits generate more subpoenas By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Jan 18, 2011 —The depositions of six Chelmsford officials have been suspended pending a public hearing on whether or not they should be ques-tioned.The officials were subpoenaed in relation to a lawsuit filed several months ago by Chelmsford resident and attorney Richard McClureto stop construction on an office park at 9 North Road, being built by Epsilon, LLC.The town reacted quickly to the subpoenas, filing a 100-page motion to quash the depositions and another motion to dismiss them.The public hearings on these motions will be held Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. in Boston.According to Chelmsford resident and attorney Richard McClure the following officials have been issued a subpoena: Board of Select-men Chairman George Dixon, Selectman Eric Dahlberg, former Selectman Clare Jeannotte, Planning Board members Jim Lane andGeorge Zaharoolis and Permanent Building Committee Co-Chairman Pat Maloney.In an email sent Thursday, Jan. 13 to McClure and town officials, Attorney Megan Bayer of town counsel Kopelman and Paige saidshe will file motions tomorrow to stop the six depositions. She plans to request a hearing on the motions for Tuesday, Jan. 18 at thelatest.“What are they trying to hide? ” McClure asked, referring to the town.Bayer has also told McClure that by taking depositions in his office on Westford Street, he would be in violation of a town bylaw re-stricting work activity in the home.“They know full well I don’t operate a home office and that I specifically requested to have depositionsat either their attorney’s office or the town offices and any claims of zoning bylaw violations are simplypetty, retaliatory and malicious prosecution, ” McClure said.He added if the town had been so concerned about zoning bylaw violations when it came to 9 North Road, he never would have hadto pursue these depositions. No ruling on 9 North means no depositions Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Thu, Jan 27, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comAlthough Massachusetts Land Court Judge Gordon Piper did not issue a ruling on the latest 9North Road complaint, both sides agreed not to move forward until he decides one way or theother.Attorney Richard McClure said the judge held a 90-minute hearing Thursday afternoon in whichhe "beat up on both sides equally." equallyMcClure and Epsilon Group LLCs attorneys Mark Bobrowski and Adam Costa presented theirarguments."He took it under advisement," said McClure. "I expect a decision within a week." advisement, week.Piper also maintained a stay on McClures request to take depositions from town officialsincluding Selectman George Dixon, Planning Board members Jim Lane andGeorge Zaharoolis, Permanent Building Committee co-chairman Pat Maloney and formerSelectman Clare Jeannotte
  20. 20. Timeline of 9 North Road· Dec. 1978 – The Board of Selectmen sign a preservation restriction for the land at 9 North Road.· June 2009 – The Epsilon Group purchases the land at 9 North Road from Eastern Bank.· Oct. 2009 –Epsilon Group first comes before the Planning Board requesting a site plan approval and five special permits; former SelectmanPeter Lawlor sends a letter to the Planning Board asking them to refer to the Board of Selectmen on whether the project is in compliance with therestriction.· Nov. 2009 – Town Counsel Pat Cantor sends an e-mail to Town Manager Paul Cohen and Community Development Director Evan Belansky, in-forming them that in her opinion the preservation restriction does not ban all future development. Cantor said based on the terms of the restriction,the application and the design plans, the Planning Board can approve the special permit.· Dec. 2009 – The Historic District Commission files its Certificate of Appropriateness with the Town Clerk’s office for the construction of a two-story office building; Lawlor files an appeal of the Historic District Commission’s approval in the Lowell Superior Court on behalf of Michael Sar-gent, who owns property neighboring the project.· March 2010 – The Planning Board votes 5-2 to approve the site plan and four special permits for 9 North Road.· April 2010 – Lawlor files a lawsuit in the state Land Court against the Planning Board; the Planning Board approves three additional special per-mits for landscaping, parking at the Emerson House and construction in an aquifer protection district.· May 2010 – Lawlor files a lawsuit in the Land Court over the Planning Board’s approval of the additional permits.· June 2010 – Lawlor files an emergency injunction to stop site work for the project; Land Court Judge Gordon Piper denies Lawlor’s injunction;the Epsilon Group files an application for a building permit.· July 2010 – The Building Inspector’s office issues a building permit for the foundation.·Aug. 2010 – Lawlor, Cantor and the Epsilon Group’s attorney’s file a joint dismissal of the pending litigation in the state Land Court; Board of Se-lectmen hold a public hearing on the project and rule that it complies with the preservation restriction. Selectmen George Dixon and Matt Hansonvoted in favor, while Jon Kurland voted against it. Selectman Eric Dahlberg previously recused himself from all matters pertaining to the projectafter Eliopolous held a political fundraiser for his bid for state Senate.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  21. 21. Boards open hearing on new DPW facility Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Thu, Jan 27, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comWeston & Sampson engineer Jeff Alberti presented the proposal for an Alpha Road DPW facility to a jointsession of the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday night.Plans to turn the 92,000-square-foot Old Mother Hubbard building into a Municipal Department of PublicWorks facility at 9 Alpha Road require a ZBA variance, about a half dozen Planning Board special permitsand an order of condition from the Conservation Commission for work within 100 feet of a bordering vege-tated wetland."The goal is to develop the project and avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts to regulatoryareas," said Alberti.areas,The 17-acre site, which includes the Old Mother Hubbard building and two adjacent parcels, is located on thecorner of Alpha and Tracy roads.As proposed, the building renovation includes proposed office and employee facilities, a workshop that sup-ports operations, a vehicle maintenance area as well as room for vehicle storage."The goal is to get the vehicles indoors to protect vehicles and to protect the environment," environment,said Alberti.Plans also call for the construction of an 11,000-square-foot salt shed, which will allow delivery trucks to driveinto the building before dumping the salt.The shed requires the ZBA variance. As designed, the structure is 40 feet from the property line, which is re-quired under the bylaw.However, because the abutting property is residential, the setback requirement jumps up to 100 feet.To place the shed at 100 feet would put it into the wetlands buffer zone."At 40 feet the entire salt shed structure would be outside the wetlands buffer zones," zonessaid Alberti.The salt shed, and a second outbuilding to be used as a vehicle wash facility, prompts the need for a specialpermit related to accessory buildings with a foot print greater than 900 square feet and a building height in ex-cess of 20 feet.Other special permits would address issues related to storing of de-icing chemicals, having more than 15 per-cent impervious surfaces, reducing minimum parking spaces requirements and allowing vehicle repair facility.Alberti is also seeking waivers from the wetlands bylaws in the areas that were previously disturbed such asthe spot on Alpha Road which served as a truck parking area.During the question and answer period, some board members stressed the applicant would need to justify itsrequests for variances and special permits.Conservation Commissioner Beth Logan, however, urged the three boards to figure out how to make re-quests that are not at odds with each other."We need to come up with a way to not create an undue burden on the applicant," she said. applicant,The Planning Board voted to continue the hearing to its Feb. 9 meeting. Conservation Commissioners willcontinue its hearing on Feb. 15. The ZBA continued its hearing until Feb. 17.
  22. 22. Alcohol Tax Repeal Brings Hope for Liquor Stores Chelmsford liquor stores hope for more revenue with the repeal of the state alcohol tax. By Robert Moreau 1/18/11 www.chelmsford.patch.comAlmost immediately after the creation of Massachusetts’ former alcohol sales tax, John DaSilva of The Wine Rack noticed asharp drop in the amount of customers buying from his store as they chose to shop in New Hampshire.“I lost about 25 percent of my business just after they put the tax on,” he said. onToday, DaSilva and other liquor store owners in Chelmsford are excited about the repeal of the tax with the beginning of thenew year, but say it is still too early to tell what the impact will be.Massachusetts originally passed through a 6.25 percent tax on liquor in 2009, with the goal of using its revenue to fund anti-substance abuse programs. Due to the success of Question 1 on the state ballot last November, it was repealed as of Jan. 1.Liquor store owners were against the tax due to the border issue as well as an excise tax already existing. John Harringtonof Harrington Wine & Liquors, who helped lead the drive to put Question 1 on the ballot, said it was a double tax that unfairlyhurt liquor stores in the state.“We’re pleased that the voters realized this is a double taxation and voted it out,” said Harrington. out,Not all stores experienced a sales loss as significant as The Wine Rack. Harrington said his store lost about eight to ten per-cent of its revenue. Jim Donahue, manager at Drum Hill Liquors, said there was a noticeable decline in the amount of cus-tomers at his store but did not have an exact number.(It) just barely seemed to have a major impact (for us),” said Donahue. us),Harrington, who described his business as a destination store, said his higher-end customers were well aware of the changeheading into the New Year.“I’ve...had customers say Iwant a case of wine but I John Harrington, owner of Harrington Wine & Liquors,want to pick it up after help lead the effort to repeal the tax. Harrington saidJan. 1,” said Harrington. some of his customers have been very aware of the 1, changeover. Credit Robert MoreauDaSilva and Donahue, how-ever, said as it is a slow time ofthe year for alcohol purchases,it will take time for the impact ofthe sales tax’s repeal to be felt.“You might get a betterread five (to) six monthsinto it…give it some time,” time,said Donahue.DaSilva said he is optimistic,and hopes by summertime hisbusiness can see a return to itspre-tax levels.“I’ve seen seeing a lot offaces (now) I haven’t seenin some time…hopefullycustomers will come back,and that will be great,” he great,said.
  23. 23. Chelmsford teachers, School Committee reach tentative contract agreement By Evan Lips, 01/22/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- After more than 21 months of icy negotiations, the School Committee and the teachers union have finallyreached a tentative agreement on a new contract.But committee Chairwoman Kathy Duffett said yesterday there is "still a ways to go" before anything is finalized. go"Theres more work to do, but were really pleased to have this part of the process completed," she said. completed,Duffett said a negotiating subcommittee that includes Town Manager Paul Cohen met Thursday night with Chelmsford Feder-ation of Teachers President Kathryn Chamberlain and other union members. Duffett added that no details about the contractcan be revealed until it is ratified.Chamberlain said she is not sure how long it will take to put the contract in writing and have it ratified by the teachers."But I doubt it will take a tremendous amount of time," she said. time,Cohen said that "when all is said and done, it will be a fair agreement." agreement.Cohen has asked the School Committee to produce a flat budget for fiscal 2012. This years budget is $45 million, but hesaid yesterday that fixed expenses would not be required to stay level.Contracted teacher salaries are classified as fixed expenses."Next years budget will certainly go up," he said. "But at the end of the day, the goal is to keep level serv - up,ices. In prior negotiations the School Committee has been mindful of that."that.The informal agreement between the teachers union and the School Committee comes a little more than a month after offi-cials said negotiations were at a standstill.On Nov. 30, about 70 teachers and union supporters filled a School Committee meeting room, holding picket signs that read:"Chelmsford Teachers Get It Done! Fair Contract Now."Earlier that month, Duffett blamed the stalled negotiations on the CFTs unreasonable demand for a 15 percent pay increaseover three years in addition to step increases. In response, the union cut student and parent access to class assignments on-line.On the same day that a tentative agreement was reached, Chelmsford residents received a leaflet in the mail sent by theCFT.The leaflets, titled "Financial Report: Cant a Fair Contract Be Settled?" charged that the town is paying teachers far less thanwhat neighboring communities pay and questioned whether Chelmsford is "the town that cried wolf."Currently, the average teachers salary in Massachusetts is $67,577. In Chelmsford, the average teacher makes $64,915, ac-cording to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.Despite not being part of Thursday nights negotiations, School Committee member Angelo Taranto said he is happy to havereached a potential resolution."I want to see this end so we can move on and have everybody in a good frame of mind," he said.School Committee member Evelyn Thoren, who along with Duffett and Cohen is a voting member of the negotiation subcom-mittee, cautioned that tentative agreements are subject to change."Our hope is that the agreement is signed by the teachers union and that all parties involved are satis -fied," she said.The School Committee will meet again on Feb. 1.
  24. 24. Chelmsford preschool opening to the public By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Jan 14, 2011 Lions Pride Preschool at the Community Education Center will open to the public in the fall.It was originally established for the children of Chelmsford teachers, who had been asking the Community Education office for a childcare center.When Community Education moved from the old town hall to the Westlands School, there was finally enough space.Childcare Supervisor and Teacher Robyn Adams, who had taught at her own school in Westford for some time, was excited to start at the LionsPride Preschool.“We started high with our standards because these were teachers’ kids,” Adams said. “Parents always expect a lot for their kids,children, but teachers expect the most.” most.Adams was so ready to begin that when she learned she’d have to wait for the walls to be painted, she volunteered to do it herself. The walls arenow a color Adams calls a soothing teal. Others might call it a sky blue. Either way, she said the job took her weeks – Westlands’ walls are madefrom brick that absorbs paint.Adams’ energy and persistence served her well when the Lions’ Pride Preschool opened in September 2009. Although they borrowed some poli-cies from the district’s Extended Day Program, which lets students spend time in the Community Education Center before and after regular schoolhours, other policies had to be written as they went.Together with Director of Community Education Connie Silvia, Adams quickly learned what to do if children’s parents couldn’t pick them up, or if ayoungster’s behavior became a problem. They adapted to state policies, like one requiring them to offer tooth-brushing time.According to Adams, Chelmsford’s teachers appreciated the hard work that went into the program even more because they worked with kidsthemselves.“Parents will see us washing off the boots and the snow pants and there’s mud all over the floor,” Adams said. “They’ll tell floor,us, ‘I work with middle-schoolers and it’s hard enough. I could never do what you do.’” do.The result of all this effort was a program Chelmsford parents have been eager to scope out for their kids. More and more parents visit the pre-school and receive the tour.The children are dropped off between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and the grown-ups chat while the kids have choice time – they’re free to roam around theroom, entertaining themselves at different stations.At 9 a.m., the children split into the Cozy Cubs and Lions Pride and head off to separate rooms. The Cozy Cubs, a subset of the Lions Pride ledby Adams, consist of children aged 18 months to almost three years. Kids older than that are part of the Lions Pride group, which accepts up tokindergarten-aged children. Childcare Teacher Lori Langell is in charge of these kids.Both groups participate in structured, themed activities during the first part of the day. For example, at this time of year kids can choose to pastebuttons on a snowman, or balance North Pole animal toys on Styrofoam “floes” in a basin of water. The games are designed to teach them toread, write and count as they play.The activities are fun for the kids, and Adams and Langell seem to have just as much fun thinking them up. They’ve done everything from growingplants in pots and butterflies in cocoons to painting with watercolors, corn syrup and even grape jelly.“Sometimes the activities are… messy,” said Silvia, sounding like a bemused parent. messy,Adams beamed like one of her toddlers.“The stickier, the better,” she said. better,After structured activities comes half an hour outside, followed by snack time and naptime. Not all preschools send the kids outside or allot timefor naps, Adams said, but she believes it’s necessary to exercise and rest them before sending them home.The early afternoon is reserved for independent play and children again have the chance to pick their activity. The most popular station seems tobe the writing table, Adams said, where children color drawings, play with envelopes and cut out shapes. But the kids are free to do what theywant until their parents come for them.It’s this balance between structured and free play, Adams said, that makes Lions Pride Preschool different from other childcare centers and giveskids what they need.“There are the parents who like to keep their kids at home,” Adams said. “Then there are the parents who want their kids to do home,everything. They feel this pressure, like if their kids aren’t doing music now they’ll never get into the band when they’reolder, or if they aren’t playing baseball they won’t make the high school team.” teamBut if you give children some structure as well as some freedom, Adams said, they’ll soon feel comfortable expressing themselves.And express themselves they do – Adams is fascinated by her students’ personalities. One assertive little girl likes to try new toys ahead of every-one else, meaning Adams has to step in and gently ask her to wait. Two other children seem attached at the hip, to the point where they must benudged to play with anyone else. One girl is obsessed with her toy lamb; one boy is obsessed with vacuum cleaners.A final little boy makes Adams smile when she talks about him. Preoccupied with keeping himself clean, the boy didn’t like to touch anythingsticky. When the class worked with glue, the boy would have Adams paste his pieces of construction paper together, laying his small palm on topof her hand as she pressed down.Eventually, Adams said, she coaxed him into handling the paper and glue by himself. At first he carried a paper towel around and constantly wipedhis hands. But like some children leave their security blankets behind, one day the boy finally stopped needing his brown paper square.Days like this are even more rewarding, Adams said, because it gives her perspective on her own role as a parent. She has two children of herown.“I love my job,” Adams said. “I get to play during the day, and then I get to go home and see my own kids.” job, kidsCopyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  25. 25. Tow firm rips board for ending contract By Rita Savard, 01/11/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- Blasting town officials for not having all the facts before severing a contract with Ferreiras Towing, a lawyer askedselectmen to reconsider Town Manager Paul Cohens decision.Handing a thick report over to the board last night, Ferreiras attorney, Doug Hausler, said Police ChiefJames Murphy had "a lot of misinformation" in his memo that called for pulling Ferreiras as the towns pri-mary tow operator.From failed vehicle inspection reports to two citations for allegedly conducting fraudulent commercial vehi-cle inspections, the reasons behind the canceled contract were grossly misinterpreted and have tarnishedFerreiras excellent business reputation, Hausler said."There has never been a fraudulent commercial inspection performed byFerreiras Towing," Hausler said. "That is a fact." Towing fact. DougPointing to the exhibits in his information packet, Hausler worked to blow holes in the reasons cited for con- Hauslertract termination.The first was a Dec. 14 state hearing based on the alleged improper inspections. After the hearing, Ferreiras was given a warningonly. Thats because the issue, said Hausler, came down to a Ferreiras employee plugging in results all at once from several inspec-tions after they had occurred.It was not the actual time taken to conduct each inspection, Hausler said.The safety issues cited were minor, Hausler argued, including one where a boom was higher by a few inches than permitted.After the citation was issued, the driver lowered the boom and the vehicle immediately passed, Hausler said.But then the town lowered the boom, canceling the contract with Ferreiras on Jan. 4.Hausler, who said Cohen never made a real effort to get his clients side of the story, also questioned the town managers right to can-cel the contract. Hausler believed that is under the Board of Selectmens authority.Cohen called Hauslers argument a "mischaracterization" of facts. mischaracterizationAfter Ferreiras second round of violations found by State Police, Cohen said he offered to meet informally with Hausler, representa-tives from Ferreiras and a selectman. But Hausler didnt respond, Cohen said, adding that he gave Ferreiras an opportunity to with-draw from the contract, but that offer was declined.Cohen said he is disappointed by any accusations that he or anyone else was looking for a reason to terminate the contract."I find it mystifying," Cohen said. "If I was looking for ways to terminate the contract, I would have done it two mystifying,months ago." ago.Ferreiras was ordered a 60-day suspension from town towing operations after an accident Oct. 24 in which a Ferreira truck crashedinto a wall at the Best Western Hotel and ruptured a gas line.The State Police truck team investigated Ferreiras fleet after that crash and found all of the vehicles had equipment and registrationviolations. At that time, Cohen said he didnt believe the incident warranted termination of the companys three-year contract. Then, on Dec. 29, a follow-up inspection revealed more violations, many of which were not corrected from the previous inspection, Murphy said. Some of the violations included problems with the brakes and drive shaft, fuel/oil tank leaks and a defective tire. Last night, Murphy said Hausler left out some facts in his interpretation of the inspection reports. Selectman Jon Kurland, who had reservations about awarding the contract in May, said he was uncom- fortable with the companys $90.25 bid. Kurland felt the unprecedented amount -- 25 cents more that what the state requires companys to charge per tow -- seemed as though it would come at the expense of something else, like overcharging in other areas or maintenance of vehicles and equipment. "It seems it was the latter," Kurland said. latter, Jon Kurland was also in favor of terminating the contract after the crash, saying that was hardly a minor Kurland safety issue."But for the grace of providence, we did not have a holocaust," Kurland said. "Im not concerned about the alleged holocaust,violations of inspections. My concern is the public safety of the members of our community." communityHausler told selectmen the town would lose about $75,000 in revenue from tows for terminating a contract in a way that was "unpro-fessional and improper."Cohen said it wasnt about the dollars, but more about keeping the public safe.Christophers towing has been appointed to carry out the remainder of the contract for $50.01 per tow.The Board of Selectmen said it will read over the new information and take up the issue at its next meeting on Jan. 24.
  26. 26. Judge upholds tow firms firing Says Chelmsford had just cause By Lisa Redmond, 01/25/2011 www.lowellsun.comWOBURN -- A Superior Court judge yesterday rejected a request by Ferreiras Towing Inc. for a preliminary injunction that would have forcedChelmsford officials to reinstate the companys lucrative tow contract with the town.In her decision, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Nancy Holtz compared the recent public-safety concerns surrounding the state Parole Boardwith an accident last October in which a Ferreiras truck with faulty brakes crashed into a wall at the Best Western Hotel on Chelmsford Street andruptured a gas line.Ferreira received a 60-day suspension from towing after that accident on Oct. 24, 2010 accident."It may seem harsh to your client, Holtz told Ferreiras attorney, Douglas Hausler, adding that it would not seem harsh if someone is hit by client,a Ferreiras tow truck as it "hurtles down the street and it is discovered that the town let the company work despite knowing there had been aproblem."The recent tragedies with the Parole Board underline the importance of public safety," Holtz said. safety,Holtz was referring to the release of Dominic Cinelli, a career criminal, who was released on parole and allegedly killed Woburn police OfficerJohn Maguire during a botched robbery last month.Attorney Richard Holland, representing Chelmsford, argued that the town can terminate the contract with or without cause.Given the Oct. 24 accident, Holland said, "We were lucky. ... Do we have to take that chance again?" again?Holland added, "It would be irresponsible for the town to continue to use this company. ... The town did the right thing to ter -minate the contract. contract.Ferreiras filed a lawsuit after a decision earlier this month by Town Manager Paul Cohen to terminate the remaining 2 1/2 years of the companysthree-year towing contract with the town after a second round of failed safety checks by State Police and allegations of fraudulent motor-vehicleinspections.Hausler responded that the allegations of fraudulent inspections are "absolute nonsense. He said the Registry of Motor Vehicles cited Fer- nonsensereiras for doing eight inspections in 33 minutes when the technician simply input all the inspections at one time instead of after each inspection.As for the failed safety checks, Hausler maintains they were for minor issues.Hausler described the towns termination of the contract as a "knee-jerk reaction. reaction.Ferreiras was the towns towing company for 35 years until it lost the contract three years ago to Christophers Towing, only to regain the contractlast May.Christophers Towing, an alternate bidder on the contract, has replaced Ferreiras, Cohen said.Hausler argued that his client would suffer "irreparable harm without an injunction, losing out on revenues of $90.25 per tow, as well as storagefees and body work done on damaged cars at the companys repair shop.But Holtz said a judge or jury could calculate the damages if, or when, the case goes to trial.At their meeting last night, selectmen voted unanimously to support Cohens decision, and while board members said they did not feel theyneeded to vote, they did so to clarify their position and show their solidarity with Cohen."I dont think we need to vote on it," Selectman Jon Kurland said. "However, I am certainly open to a public vote to clarify the it,Board of Selectmens position." position.Selectman Patricia Wojtas took it a step further, saying, "I would like to vote on it." itCorrespondent Ed Hannan contributed to this article. Town terminates contract with towing provider Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Jan 25, 2011 —The Chelmsford Board of Selectmen supported Town Manager Paul Cohen’s decision to terminate the town’s contract with Ferreira Towing attheir meeting Monday, Jan. 24. The remainder of the contract will go to Chelmsford’s backup provider, Christopher’s Towing.Cohen and Police Chief Jim Murphy recommended ending Ferreira’s service with the town Jan. 10 after several Ferreira trucks failed a state in-spection. The contract had been suspended since early November, when a first state inspection revealed fleet-wide mechanical problems andregistration violations.That inspection took place after following an incident the week before in which a Ferreira truck collided with Chelmsford’s Best Western Hotel andits parking brake, headlights and license-plate lights were found to be defective.At the selectman’s Jan. 10 meeting, Ferreira counsel Doug Hausler said the state inspections were unfair – they deemed minor violations safetyhazards and included trucks that towed commercial vehicles, which were irrelevant to Ferreira’s contract with the town. Hausler questionedCohen’s authority to unilaterally terminate the towing contract and urged the selectmen to do their duty to the town and take this decision intotheir own hands.But after taking two weeks to review Hausler’s arguments, the selectmen made it clear on Jan. 24 they stand behind the Town Manager. Select-men Jon Kurland and Pat Wojtas said Cohen was clearly within his rights to end the contract with Ferreira.“We affirm our support of the Town Manager’s decision and award the alternate provider, Christopher’s, with the remainderof the duration of the contract,” said Selectman Eric Dahlberg. contractCopyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  27. 27. Chelmsford evolving to meet standards for disabled residents By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service Jan 22, 2011 Hickey is a clearly qualified champion for the disabled. In1983, he suffered an industrial accident, smashing his right heeland leaving him with a steel plate in his leg. He walks laboriously,aided by a cane.The accident had one positive outcome: Inspired by his physicaltherapists, Hickey left Massachusetts General Hospital deter-mined to follow their example.He ended up working part-time on Beacon Hill in the Office onDisability as a handicapped-access specialist. He reviewed build-ings around the state and helped train Community Access Moni-tors, the eyes and ears of the disability department. Instead,Hickey chose to bring his passion and experience home toChelmsford, where he became chairman of the Disability Commis- Ralph Hickeysion and the town’s Americans With Disabilities Act coordinator.He was a pioneer, working on the frontier of rights for the disabledas he argued for handicapped parking spaces, clear pathways from parking lots to front doors and fromdoors to bathrooms and signs at every step of the way.Hickey still remembers the first time he brought up ADA requirements with Chelmsford businesses. As soonas he walked in, written speech in hand, business owners pelted him with questions and arguments.“They thought we were going to come in and tear down the walls,” Hickey said. wallsTearing up his speech, Hickey spoke from the heart. He told the business owners he would personally visiteach establishment and work with them to come up with the best way to meet requirements.“The first of them came back saying, ‘This isn’t so bad,’” Hickey remembered. “After that, peo - badple were more accepting.” acceptingPeople were also more accepting after sitting in wheelchairs themselves and attempting to go up or downramps that were not ADA-compliant.“They jumped right back up,” Hickey laughed. “They were afraid for their lives.” up, livesAs the law marks two decades since its passage, people have become more willing to comply with ADA re-quirements. Chelmsford’s town officials have been helpful, Hickey said, particularly Building Inspector ScottHammond, who takes every complaint seriously. This is the ideal situation, said Hickey. In some towns, it isnecessary to go straight to Beacon Hill.“We don’t go running to Boston,” Hickey said. “Not in Chelmsford.” Boston Chelmsford. ADA Solutions Local pride may help resolve some complaints, but it sometimes proves sticking point for ADA compliance, according to Sales Ex- ecutive Joe Dunnigan of Chelmsford-based ADA Solutions. He said many residents are protective of a town’s historical image and shun his company’s modern-looking ramps and brightly colored road warning surfaces. Boston, for example, is just as reluctant to change its historical aesthetic with the yellow warning surfaces. Some New England Chelmsford Public Library and the ways they communities, covered in snow and ice for a good part of the year, have made it easier for those with disabilities, have also not welcomed change. such as the ramp leading to the front entrance. Independent Staff Photo by Ann Ringwood “Some cities were reluctant and got sued constantly,” constantly, Dunnigan said. “These are not always welcome products.” products
  28. 28. But they are necessary ones, according to Dunnigan. If a ramp does not meet ADA standards, people inback-heavy electric wheelchairs may tip forward. Surfaces like brick orcobblestone are more aesthetically pleasing, but much more difficult forwheelchairs to navigate.“Most of the people who complain [about ADA compliance]see fine and walk fine,” Dunnigan said. fine,To answer those concerns, ADA Solutions has tailored its approach todifferent states. In New York, the garish “federal yellow” of warning roadsurfaces has been changed to gray which still meets the 70 percent Large print books are in their own section ofcontrast regulation without standing out. In other states, street warning the library. Independent Staff Photo by Ann Ringwoodsurfaces are a brick-like red.These changes have helped make ADA compliance more widespread, Dunnigan said.“More people are doing the right thing,” Dunnigan said. “Ten or 11 years ago, when you first startedto see handicapped signs, there would be one or two of them in parking lots here andthere. Now they’re everywhere you go. They’re common.” commonThe same thing has happened with ADA Solution’s products, he added.“If you’d talked to me in 2002, you’d have thought I was crazy,” he said. “Most people hadn’t crazy,seen these things. Now, you’re going to see more and more of them. It means we did ourjob.”jobWork continues Hickey estimates 90 percent of Chelmsford is ADA-compliant. He has his eye on Jessie’s Place, whose staff and ambience he loves, but whose in- accessible design frustrates. He has suggested the town raise the side- walk 12 inches and install ramps. Meanwhile, the Chelmsford Disability Commission is looking into getting whistles installed at traffic lights so people with poor vision know not to cross. Such technology will mean even more possibilities for the handi- capped, Hickey said. A division of the state Disabilities Office is studyingIn the large print section of the library is a the latest research, looking for solutions, he with large type software and akeyboard with large type. IIndependent According to Dunnigan, ADA Solutions is doing the same,Staff Photo by Ann Ringwood “We always look to products on the horizon,” he said. horizon,It’s an important business. Hickey pointed out the ADA has boosted independent living and quality of life forsenior citizens and others with handicaps or disabilities. Before, he said, those with limited mobility wereoften housebound and hesitated to speak up for their rights.Dunnigan agreed.“Often these people don’t speak for themselves,” Dunnigan said. “The visually impaired, the themselvesblind – many don’t like bringing attention to themselves.” themselvesBut now that ramps and signs have transformed town centers and public buildings from obstacle coursesinto accessible venues, those with wheelchairs, canes, walking sticks and seeing-eye dogs can enjoydowntown window-shopping and nights out like anybody else.This includes Hickey himself, who sometimes goes out to eat with his wife, Barbara. And when Hickeystarts pointing out any accessibility issues that happen to catch his eye, management rarely fails to offer asympathetic ear.“My wife tells me to eat first, then complain,” Hickey laughed. complainThanks to the ADA, he’s able to do both.“It’s given people freedom,” Hickey said. “You can never take that away.” freedom, awayCopyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  29. 29. Around the RotaryPresident Catherine Fobes presented DeniseMarcaurelle with a Paul Harris Award at theChelmsford Rotary Clubs meeting on Monday.The award is made to Rotarians for excep-tional support of International Rotarys Foun-dation. The foundation supports Rotaryprojects throughout the world. The major proj-ect in recent years has been the eradication ofpolio. Extensive emergency relief was alsoprovided after the earthquake in Haiti. Manyprojects involved digging wells and pure waterstorage facilities, establishing health clinicsand building generators for electrical power.Pictured - Leonard Dollan (L) and Tim Vaal (R)The American Red Cross Massachusets Region Blood Services awarded the Rotary Club ofChelmsford their "Volunteer Organization of the Year - 2010" at the clubs meeting on Monday atthe Radisson Hotel. The award was presented by District Manager Tim Vaal. Also in attendancewas Joseph Scurio, Account Manager. Leonard Doolan and Charles Keen provide club leader-ship at local bloodmobiles with support from club members.
  30. 30. Chelmsford WINTERFEST 2011 February 2011 Schedule of Events Friday, February 4, 20115:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Friday Night Lights: Night Snow Shoeing at Russell Mill ForestJoin The Chelmsford Open Space Stewards and New England Mountain Bike Association for a special edi-tion of "Friday Night Lights." We meet at the main parking lot of Russell Mill Soccer Fields at 5:30 p.m. andexplore the 6-plus miles of snowshoe trails on the 120 acres of town conservation land along Russell MillPond. Groups are broken up by ability - from slow enjoyable walks to ones that will give even the best ath-letes a challenge. Hot chocolate and light snacks will be waiting in the parking lot when groups return. Youneed to bring your own snowshoes and a night headlamp. Like all Chelmsford Open Space events, its is freeand family-friendly.7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - WinterFest Social at the Chelmsford Library: "Let the Games Begin"This annual WinterFest Social is also the kick-off for One Book Chelmsford community reading campaign.This year area restaurants and bakeries will provide delicious sweet and savory finger foods. HarringtonsWines & Liquors will offer dessert wines for tastings. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase andcoffee, tea and soft drinks will be served. $10 per person donation. Please purchase your tickets in advanceat the Library. Click here to see the list of particpating restaurants and stores: Saturday, February 5, 20118:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Central Co-Op Nursery School Pancake Breakfast and Silent AuctionThis annual event will be held at the Central Congregational Church at 1 Worthen Street. Come one and allfor great pancakes, eggs, bacon and lots more!9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Outdoor Activities at Roberts FieldIce Skating, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing and hot refreshments sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 77.