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ITR july 18 2010


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  • 1. WHERE’S THE BEEF??? ... Not near the alcohol Meat House does not get beer, wine license Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Mon, Jun 21, 2010 The Board of Selectmen voted 3-to-2 not to issue The Meat House a beer and wine license at its Monday meet- ing. Selectmen Jon Kurland, Sean Scanlon and Eric Dahlberg voted to deny the license. Chairman George Dixon and Matt Hanson voted against the motion not to issue a license. Kurland made the motion to deny the license based in part on a letter from Police Chief Jim Murphy. "Presently, Chelmsford has seven all alcohol beer and wine licenses throughout the town," Dahlberg read from the letter. town, "For a town the size of Chelmsford, I feel this provides sufficient and convenient opportunity for those seeking to pur - chase beer and wine." wine. Read more CLICK HERE ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Editorial: BOS sends wrong message with denial Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Tue, Jun 22, 2010 On Monday night, the town failed the first test of the Economic Development Committee's slogan "Chelmsford Gets It Done." Instead of granting The Meat House a beer and wine license, the board ceded to demands from the Chelmsford Business Associa- tion and killed the plan. Chairman George Dixon and Selectman Matt Hanson deserve credit for voting in The Meat House's favor, but the other three board members did what the CBA told them to do. Jon Kurland must be singled out for his bizarre spiel during the proceedings. At times he looked like the DA doing a cross-examina- tion of a murder suspect. Likely, he was setting the town up for its defense when The Meat House owner appeals the denial to the ABCC. And despite Kur- land's channeling of Perry Mason, don't be surprised if The Meat House is soon, legally, stocking beer and wine. So what was this vote about? The three members who voted against granting a license will tell you it was a public safety issue. Police Chief Jim Murphy wrote a letter to the board urging the license's denial. In his letter, Murphy said the town currently has seven all alcohol beer and wine licenses in town and those businesses "provide sufficient and convenient opportunity for those seeking to purchase beer and wine." Murphy goes on to say because alcohol sales would not be The Meat House's primary business, that could lead to "alcohol rules and regulations on their premises becoming a secondary, less important issue." Because The Meat House focuses on selling meat it wouldn't adhere to state laws regarding the selling of alcohol? That's a little hard to believe. And luckily Hanson saw through that questionable concern. As he points out, the Board of Selectmen votes annually to renew alcohol licenses. If a business isn't doing the right thing, it doesn't get to keep its license. Kurland's other argument involved The Meat House owner Leonard Carpenter's experience as a restaurant manager. In a restaurant, said Kurland, a customer must purchase alcohol from a bartender or wait staff member. Customers in a retail outlet have direct ac- cess to the alcohol so there is more opportunity for it to wind up in the wrong hands. There is a lot wrong with this argument as well. The Meat House is an upscale gourmet food shop. A group of underage patrons perusing the shelves would catch the eyes of em- ployees and managers. Secondly, having worked in the restaurant business, we know how easy it is to sneak drinks to friends and family members sitting in our section, who are not 21. That too goes back to Hanson's statement. If a business breaks the law over alcohol sales, it will lose the right to sell alcohol. One other argument worth mentioning came from Scanlon and Dahlberg. The town shouldn't grant the license because it had never granted such a license before. So, because we've always done it that way that is how we should continue doing it? Sure, if you want Chelmsford to remain a second-tier community. Basically, the Board of Selectmen said we're interested in attracting commercial enterprises that won't upset anybody already here in town. That should keep the town flush with nail salons and pizza joints for decades. If, however, the town is really serious about attracting new businesses to town that provide good paying jobs, it might be time to lose the old boy's network playbook and come into the 21st century. Otherwise, the Economic Development Community should rethink its slogan. Maybe "Chelmsford: Where the status quo keeps things from getting done."
  • 2. The Meat House appeals license denial Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Mon, Jun 28, 2010 Claiming his client was treated unfairly at last week's hearing, the lawyer for The Meat House owner Len Carpenter has appealed the beer and wine license denial to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. The appeal, which was delivered to the ABCC Friday, states the Board of Selectmen's action is unsupported by the evi- dence in the record, that Carpenter satisfied all requirements of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 138 necessary to approve its application and that the board’s statement of reasons do not properly support denial of the application. Attorney Thomas S. Vangel, of Murtha Cullina LP, believes none of the reasons the board gave for denying the license is valid. Read More CLICK HERE ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chelmsford Board of Selectmen erred in denying wine license to Meat House The Lowell Sun 06/26/2010 On June 21, the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen denied the wine license application made by the Meat House. The argu- ments for denial made by the majority of the board -- Selectmen Jon Kurland, Sean Scanlon and Eric Dahlberg -- were weak and ill-advised to say the least. I thank the two selectmen, George Dixon and Matthew Hanson, who had some sense. It is apparent that the Chelmsford Business Association was the influence behind this vote. This is not the first time it has been against competition and lobbied for its own special interests. I am afraid it will not be the last. The result is that the citi- zens of Chelmsford are the losers because of this selfish behavior. This town has historically awarded liquor licenses to restaurants and package stores. The Meat House is neither and is a significantly less intense sales operation. Alcohol is consumed on the premises in restaurants with the potential for abuse. But wine and beer would not be consumed on their premises. In package stores, people make larger purchases of alcohol than they would at the Meat House. The sale of wine will not be their primary business but a convenient adjunct to the nature of the business. Businesses are al- ways trying to add incremental value to serve their customers. All you need do is look at how appropriately it is handled at Alpine who moved from Chelmsford to Lowell. Has Alpine had any problems? Not that I have heard of. Chelmsford residents who trade at the Meat House would have had the convenience of one-stop shopping if they wanted wine to complement their purchases. I don't believe the Meat House would offer competition to the many package stores in Chelmsford. But if it did then the resi- dents of Chelmsford would be the better for it with greater choices and possibly lower prices. It amazes me that the Board of Selectmen would be against competition. I agree that there are certain situations where the town might need to have a say in how a business is run. However, this is not one of them. The Meat House is not British Petroleum. The town must be very careful how it tells a business how it should operate. They usually know better than the politicians. Wine is part of the Meat House's national business model. If you dicker with it the business may not be as successful as it could be. The Meat House is just the new type of establishment we can benefit from in Chelmsford. Some have argued that there is a precedent in not granting a wine and beer license to an establishment other than a restau- rant or package store. However, precedent is never the reason to deny. Facts, circumstances and times change and what was appropriate in the past many no longer be appropriate. The Board of Selectmen have the opportu- nity and obligation to review each application on its merits and to review the operation in the future. If we want to encourage economic development in Chelmsford and provide new retail services to the town the Board of Selectmen certainly sent the wrong message to our business community by denying this request. DAVID J. McLACHLAN Chelmsford ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------- Opinion: Many reasons to disagree with Meat House denial By Clare Jeannotte GateHouse News Service Jul 01, 2010 Chelmsford — There are many reasons to disagree with the 3-2 vote of the Board of Selectmen to deny the beer and wine license to the Meat House. First and foremost, it has cost the 34,000 residents and 12,000 voters an opportunity for the convenience of quality and one-stop shopping, without leaving town. Long gone are the days one could walk from the Elegant Farmer to Alpine Butcher, then cross the street to purchase beer or wine to go with dinner. Now we have to shop only big box stores or travel to surrounding towns for higher quality, natural or unprocessed foods. I hear so many candidates and sitting members say that they work for the citizens, but three of five did not with this vote.
  • 3. The state allocates a number of allowable wine and malt beverage licenses based on population: Chelmsford could grant seven and currently has none. Selectman Kurland has determined that sufficient alternatives exist within a mile either way, sending us once more through traffic for no good reason but burning fuel and wasting time. If the state considers our popu- lation right for seven, how is none the right number? It has been this way for 30 years I am told. That is never a good rea- son to continue something, in and of itself. To lean on the recommendation of the Police Chief not to grant the license, was to decide that a proprietor was more likely guilty until proven innocent, not a sentiment I support. Twenty five years experience serving restaurant patrons is no reason to expect insufficient employee training and conduct relative to sale of alcohol. Sanctions are available if violations develop. The manner in which this applicant was interrogated at the meeting was a further embarrassment to the town, hardly appearing to seek a solution if there were a legitimate con- cern. I would expect that if invited back, most concerns could likely be addressed in a more hospitable manner. In the three years I served on the Board, an Economic Development Committee was formed to attract business to the town, we worked to retain a fair tax climate for business, and the Master Plan Committee began the extensive, once-a-decade process of collaboratively laying the groundwork of planning all aspects of our town. This decision by the Board is a slap in the face to the efforts of all these volunteers who have dedicated many hours over the years to encourage some diversity of business. This decision makes it clear that if you want to bring business to Chelmsford, you may want to look elsewhere first. This businessman chose to locate here because he felt the demographic of this town was right to support his business model, and upscale gourmet meat shop. The Meat Shop has locations in Arlington, Beverly, Franklin, North Andover and Walpole. Not bad company to keep. I think he was, and still is, right. I hope all the citizens will stop in and check out this shop - I think you would find it a nice change, and right here, in our own town. And just maybe the success of this shop will breed more success, and attract other unique shops to our town, so we don’t need to do our shopping out of town when we seek something a little different than we have now. Why wait for an appeal? If only our Board of Selectmen could find a way to reconsider this applicant, and really serve the citizens. If you agree, write your Selectmen and let them know. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Political Column by Rita Savard Lowell Sun 7/4/10 Some wine to go with that prime cut of beef? Not in Chelmsford.Well at least not at the Meat House. The town’s new upscale butcher shop was denied a beer-and-wine license from the Board of Selectmen and has since filed an appeal with the state Alchoholic Beverages Control Commission. The move has some folks,including Consevation Commission member David McLachlan, thinking that members of the Chelmsford Business Association influenced the Board by playing a game of backroom politics. “This is not the first time (the CBA) has been against competition and lobbied for it’s own special interests”, McLachlan wrote in a letter to the Sun. “I’m afraid it won’t be the last.” interests last. John Harrington, owner of Harrington Wine and Liquors, has been a longtime member of the CBA. Some say it’s no coinci- dence that Chelmsford, which is allowed to issue seven full liquor licenses and seven partial licenses to sell malt and wine, hasn’t issued a single partial license. All seven full licenses are currently in use by package stores. But Harrington said the accusations are simply not true. He said they stem from just a few individuals who have an ax to grind. “We’re very happy to see the Meat House there and hope they will thrive,” Harrington said. “My competition thrive, is the state of New Hampshire and the commonwealth of Massachusetts with their sales tax on this product.Those are the guys I battle.” battle. ********************** To the Editor: The following information pertains to the topic of the Meat House requesting a beer & wine license for their new Chelmsford Store. Since the Meat House is appealing the denial of a beer & wine license by the Board of Selectmen, and since you have summarized this license issue in this week's IN-TOWN REPORT, I thought it would be appropriate to address this topic here. The first part of this Letter to the Editor is a copy of the email I had sent out to the Selectmen before they voted on this beer & wine license re- quest. The Selectmen voted 3 to 2 to deny the license on June 21, 2010....Mr. Dahlberg, Mr. Kurland, and Mr. Scanlon voted to deny...Mr. Dixon & Mr. Hanson did not vote to deny the license. My email to the Selectmen begins here:
  • 4. As a resident of town and a town meeting representative I would like to give you my recommendation relative to the above topic. As we all know, we have a very active Economic Development Commission here in Chelmsford, as we are looking for ways to help Chelmsford become a more "business friendly" community. One concrete step that we can take to help us achieve that objective is to grant this new busi- ness a beer & wine license, as it will be a brand new Meat House location here in Chelmsford, and the company standard is to sell beer and wine (subject to the appropriate and required training of course). [Please see the quotes about this topic, as copied from the company literature, below.] Many small businesses have a tough time succeeding, and that includes franchise operations, such as the Meat House. If they are able to carry beer and wine, they might be able to survive and even thrive here in Chelmsford....and that's a very good thing, as we all know. They also will be able to serve our community better by having another location in town selling beer and wine, and this location might be more convenient that the current locations. I see no good reason to prohibit fair and open competition among businesses here in town......fair competition always increases quality and it helps keep prices low...therefore, we should be encouraging competition in the beer and wine business. as well as with all of the other busi- nesses here in town. The best way to accomplish that fair competition and "business friendly" objective is to grant the Meat House a beer and wine license, subject to all the appropriate training of course. End of my initial email to the Selectmen. After the Selectmen denied the license, the Meat House appealed this decision to the State's ABCC. I hope they are successful with their ap- peal...I also hope that the Selectmen reconsider their denial after they have watched the Meat House run their operation here in Chelmsford for a short period of time. The Meat House Company has some very stringent requirements before an owner even opens up one of their stores. A standard part of their operation is to sell beer & wine in their stores in the locations which are not "dry." Please take a look at the information below, which was copied from the Meat House's website. It shows the type of beer & wine service they provide to their customers (which would be a benefit to the residents of Chelmsford who drink beer & wine)...and it lists the qualifications one must have before a person can be an owner in the Meat House operation. Clearly, the owner will not risk all that he has put up to open this store in Chelmsford... to sell to someone he shouldn't sell to, or to disobey the law in any other way. MEAT HOUSE COMPANY BEER & WINE BROCHURE INFORMATION: "Whether you’re entertaining a houseful, or planning an intimate dinner for two, our team has hand selected a variety wines to perfectly pair with your Meat House feast. We take great care to ensure that you can always find a wine that will perfectly complement your meal. "Unsure which wine to pair with your meal? Just ask a Meat House butcher or staff member. Each Meat House staff member is trained by The Meat House’s Certified Wine Educator in the fine art of wine pairing. "The Meat House also offers a wide variety of beer. From pale ale to porter and stout we feature locally brewed, domestic, and imported options that are sure to please any palate!" Quote from: THE MEAT HOUSE.COM website "QUALIFICATION CRITERIA (to open a Meat House Store): Recognition as a top restaurant operator or multi-unit franchise developer Minimum financial net worth of $1.5 million and liquidity of $500,000 Infrastructure and resources to handle a typical development agreement commitment of 4-8 units Knowledge of real estate and trade areas in development territory Operating partner must live in the territory under development Ability to obtain a liquor license Must have enthusiasm, drive, and passion for the service industry Total commitment to developing and protecting The Meat House brand" Quote from: THE MEAT HOUSE.COM website My only objective in writing this letter, and speaking with the Selectmen about this issue, is to try and support our local small businesses, so that they may be able to survive during a very tough economy and so that the Chelmsford residents may receive their goods and services as effi- ciently and conveniently as possible. I can't help but notice that we still have three empty storefronts in the brand new plaza where the new Cafe Madrid is located. We also have had many empty spaces in the strip mall on Chelmsford Street, across from Alpine Lane, for over a year now. Shouldn't Chelmsford be a more "business friendly" town so that we can fill those spaces with a variety of businesses, which would: (1) provide needed goods and services to our residents; (2) allow for more employees to find jobs right here in Chelmsford; and (3) send more tax revenues to our town... revenues that we so desperately need during this "Great Recession." I think the answer to this question is YES, we should be a more "business friendly" community, for all the reasons cited above, and we should grant the Meat House a license to sell beer and wine in their store on Chelmsford Street. Respectfully submitted, Tom Christiano Town Meeting Representative
  • 5. Chelmsford's beef with beer and wine licenses atypical The Lowell Sun 07/11/2010 By Rita Savard / CHELMSFORD -- After years in the restaurant business, all Len Carpenter wanted to do was open his own neighborhood butcher shop. Chelmsford, he said, seemed like an easy choice to turn that dream into reality. "The location of the town and the people who live here are great," Carpenter said. great, But inside The Meat House, located at 120 Chelmsford St., Carpenter has one room closed off to the public. It sits empty as he awaits an Aug. 4 hearing with the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) to appeal a Board of Selectmen vote that denied Carpenter a license to sell beer and wine at his new business. The 3-2 vote, with Eric Dahlberg, Sean Scanlon and Jon Kurland opposing the license, and George Dixon and Matt Hanson approving it, has stirred a debate in town about the issuance of liquor licenses. State law limits the number of licenses based on a community's population as recorded by the U.S. Census. Licenses for liquor stores are limited to one for every 5,000 residents. Licenses allowing the sale of beer and wine only, such as a grocery store, are also limited to one for every 5,000 residents. In Chelmsford, that translates to seven full liquor store licenses and seven for beer and wine. But Chelmsford seems to be the last community in Greater Lowell that has not issued any of its licenses to sell beer and wine only, and some are asking why. Former Selectman Clare Jeannotte and Conservation Commission member David McLachlan have both criticized the vote on the grounds that it will only deter new business from taking a chance on Chelmsford. "This decision makes it clear that if you want to bring business to Chelmsford, you may want to look elsewhere first," first, Jeannotte wrote in a letter to The Sun. Carpenter said Chelmsford officials have been good to him throughout the permitting process, with the exception of one road block. Considering that the concept of his upscale butcher shop is well known, Carpenter said the obstacle surprised him. Meat House franchises in Salem, N.H., Bedford, N.H. and in North Andover all sell wine and beer to complement their selections of meats, breads and cheeses. Whether it's a six-pack of specialty brew for a backyard barbecue, or a homemade wine and cheese basket for a special occasion, a malt-and-wine license is synonymous with the Meat House name. "The idea is a one-stop shop service for your dining needs," Carpenter said. "All needs,of the other Meat Houses sell beer and wine. If I had known this was going to create such a problem, I might have looked elsewhere ." Chelmsford's neighboring towns, including Billerica, Lowell and Westford, have all granted beer and wine licenses. Dracut, Groton and Tewks- bury have also granted beer and wine licenses to some local businesses. "Beer and wine is more of a convenience-store thing," said Patty Dube, secretary for the Westford Board of Selectmen. "We don't thing, see a lot of requests for that kind of license." license. Westford's population has allotted the town five full package store licenses from the state, and five licenses for beer and wine sales only. Three beer and wine licenses have been granted to local businesses by the Westford Board of Selectmen. Selectmen in Chelmsford who voted against the partial liquor license for the Meat House had cited public-safety issues, and also looked at the town's track record for granting such licenses. Dahlberg said one of his main concerns was what to do about past applicants who tried to obtain a license but were denied. According to Town Manager Paul Cohen, it appears there have been just two requests for such a license in a decade. One application, which came from a convenience store on the corner of Fletcher and Chelmsford streets, was unanimously denied by selectmen. The other, for a mini- mart in Vinal Square, was thrown out by a 3-2 vote. "This is the first time we know of an appeal for a denial," Cohen said. "We're in uncharted waters." denial, waters. After visiting Meat House shops in North Andover and Salem, N.H., Selectmen Chairman George Dixon said he felt it was a "special type of place that deserved a chance." chance. "No one in town came to me to try and influence my vote," Dixon said. "I just felt comfortable with it. We are looking for new vote, businesses in town and I really thought there was room for a place like this." this The ABCC, which oversees and enforces state liquor laws, can "uphold or overturn the local board's decision based on what the law says," said Ralph Sacramone, the agency's executive director. says, Next month, a panel of three from the ABCC will listen to arguments on both sides and then issue a decision. Either party has the right to appeal the state board's decision to a higher court. "I'm not looking to be a precedent setter," Carpenter said. "I'm just looking to offer a nice, high-end business to the town." setter, town.
  • 6. Hi Roy - I know that there has been considerable interest in my vote denying a beer and wine license to the Meat House. I had given this issue considerable thought before acting in this matter. Before my vote I spoke to many past Selectmen to get their perspectives as well as a former member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) whom I know and whose opinion I value. With the sole exception of Clare Jeannotte EVERY past Selectman (from Dennis Ready and Tom Moran to Peter Lawlor, Sam Chase, Bill Dalton and Pat Wotjas) counseled against the granting of the license. I was in NO WAY influenced by anyone from CBA and I have no idea where that rumor came from. The reason for the prior Selectmen's position as well as the former ABCC Jon Kurland member was the fact that it has been the policy in town NOT to grant these licenses (called mixed use licenses) for many reasons: 1) it would encourage other businesses such as convenience stores to seek these licenses - Lowell just granted such a license to a Gulf Station on the Chelmsford town line at Drum Hill; 2) Chelmsford has not issued these licenses for decades since it was the vision of the town leaders that the sale of alcohol not consumed on premises be greatly restricted; 3) historically, mixed use licensees are not as concerned about violations of selling to minors since a loss of license has a minor effect on their business as opposed to a liquor store which would suffer significant loss of income if its license was suspended; and 4) once we start granting mixed use licenses it will be more difficult to defend appeals of future denials of applications from gas stations or convenience stores. After discussing this issue with past leaders I researched the case law and found that the ABCC can overturn towns that deny licenses (depending on who the hearing officer is). The likelihood of the town being upheld in these appeals is im- proved by the fact that we have an informal policy not to grant mixed use licenses. This is why we have 7 such licenses available (and have had them available for decades). Since we do not want gas stations and convenience stores to apply for these licenses we had to make a statement and ren- der a difficult decision to deny a license to a more attractive applicant. There is no distinction that can effectively be made between a "specialty" store (which is what some people call the Meat House) and a convenience store. In fact the Meat House does sell many items that would be sold at convenience stores such as meat, vegetables, rice, sauces, etc. We start to travel down a slippery slope if we grant the license to the Meat House but not to a Little Peach which sells many similar items. If I owned a Little Peach and applied for a mixed use license after it was granted to the Meat House, I would be upset that the BOS deemed my store inferior and was denied a license. If I then appealed the denial to the ABCC, I would argue the the granting of the mixed use license to the Meat House is no different than my store. There is a much greater likelihood that a Little Peach would successfully overturn such a vote if we did not have this policy. We certainly do not want to attribute any class distinction between the customers of each store since that becomes a bigger problem and we will be accused of being elitists. I do fully appreciate the opposing position and I acknowledge that this was a difficult deci- sion. On the other hand, a mixed use license is a mixed use license. We don't grant them since it becomes a serious prob- lem justifying the granting to a Meat House but a denial to another operation. I hope that citizens can appreciate that it is not so easy to justify the type of distinction to the ABCC that we would have to make to keep alcohol out of gas stations and conveneicne stores. Moreover, the police chief, in the strongest possible terms, requested that we deny this application. I should point out that I want this business to succeed. I do not believe that this license is necessary for the Meat House to thrive. Mr. Carpenter indicated that alcohol sales would only amount to 6% of revenue. It is also clear that this license is not necessary for this business otherwise he would have made the approval of a license as a condition of his leasing the premises. He did not. If he had made a prior inquiry on this issue he would know that Selectmen have not granted this type of license to ANY business for many, many years. Alpine Butcher Store thrived in town without a liquor license to the point that it expanded from it's Summer Street location to a larger store in Lowell. If you talk to Phil Doyle, I am certain he will tell you that if he had found an appropriate location in town, he would have stayed in Chelmsford even without a beer and wine license. Anyone who argues that this vote is anti-business is being disingenuous. We need to fill unoccupied office space along the 129 corridor as well as other locations. Those businesses (like Comcast, Kronos, Zoll, etc.) do not care at all whether the town grants a beer and wine license to a butcher shop or any other store. In fact, a member of the Economic Development Commission specifically told me he was against the granting of the license to the Meat House. I understand that some may disagree with my vote. Admittedly it was a difficult one. Contrary to published comments that seem to indicate otherwise, I can assure you that NO ONE influenced my vote. My decision was solely based upon my vi- sion of what I want our town to be like. I do not want alcohol to be sold in ANY stores other than full service stores. People who want to discuss my vote in greater detail please feel free to call me at 978-250-0631 or on my cell at 508-864- 7499. I take pains to look at all sides of the issue and seek out and listen to all parties before deciding a matter. I am not beholden to any special interest group. Some may choose to disagree with me but if they have watched me during my brief tenure on the Board, they should know that I am an independent voice and my only concern is the welfare of the town. Jon H. Kurland Selectman
  • 7. Roy, I voted to deny the license because I believe that approving it would have opened the Board to accusations of being inconsistent/arbitrary in exercising its licensing authority, since the Board has been consistently denying similar applications for decades. My understanding is that this has potential legal consequences for the Board (which, of course, means potential costs to the taxpayers). As I stated immediately following the vote, I would like to spearhead an effort to review the precedent of denying such "mixed use licenses." Through a Board sub-committee, we would solicit input from the taxpayers and promptly present a recommendation to keep/modify/ditch the precedent accordingly. Should we as a town decide to ditch the precedent, we will have done so transparently,deliberately, and inclusively, minimizing the potential for accusations of inconsistent/arbitrary decision-making down the road. This path isn't necessarily the best from a PR perspective, but I believe it's what's best for the town and the taxpayers in the long-term. Eric As a side note: I am thrilled that The Meat House has opened here in Dahlberg town. My wife Suzanne and/or I have since shopped there numerous times. Please know that my vote to deny was not meant to be a slight to this business specifically or to new business in general, nor was it the result of any "inside deal" with any other interest here in town (as some have alleged!). A final note: two good side effects of all the attention that our vote to deny has earned: The Meat House has gotten a TON of free press (always good for a new business), and I've received input from a ton of residents who previously have never contacted me. Thank you, Eric ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ Often, there are merits to opposing arguments in a given situation and I can't think of a recent controversial topic where I was not approached by members of divergent parties who hoped to persuade my vote. The Meat House issue was/is no different. I always weigh both sides of the debate and try to vote through the objective lens of what I think is in the best strategic policy in- terest of the town. While issues are often complex, votes are very "black or white"/yes or no with no shades of gray, and the subtleties of the conversation are sometimes lost in the sound bites and media quotes, which is truly unfortunate. Sean Scanlon I understand the arguments that have been brought forth in favor of granting a license and as I mentioned above, believe there is merit to some of them. That being said, I cannot vote half way. Above all, I maintain it is strategically a bad idea for the board or town to get into the game of choosing which mixed-use business model we like over another, or grant a license because one owner makes a better presentation. I consider myself a man of principle and such practice makes everything too fluid, too based on personality and politics, and should be avoided as bad for our fair business climate. I like the Meat House and am certain it will do well in Chelmsford, but the fact that I like the Meat House should not detract from a fair and consistent course for the long term. I would ask those who have questioned the integrity of my vote to consider that in my short time on the Board, I have been accused of being an insider to both sides of opposing factions in town when past votes did not please one or the other. Al- though I grew up in Chelmsford, I came to be a Selectman as a political newcomer, not through any long-standing connec- tions in town. Perhaps it is my fault when rationale for my action is unclear (or if my mic doesn't work in a meeting), but while conspiracy theories about back room deals are convenient, and they certainly generate buzz, they do not serve the issue or the townspeople well, and they are not true regarding my position on the Meat House, or any other vote I have taken or will take in the future. I have and will always deliberate on the merits of the subject at hand and act according to my core values of Integrity, Service, and Excellence in application of what I believe is in the town's strategic policy interest. SEAN SCANLON Selectman, Chelmsford Massachusetts 978.888.1905
  • 8. Chelmsford Selectman Scanlon to resign By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service Jul 14, 2010 Chelmsford — After serving 14 months, Selectman Sean Scanlon is resigning to devote more time to a new full-time job in the Homeland Security field. Scanlon said he will publically announce his decision in a statement thanking the other selectmen and the people of Chelmsford at the next board meeting July 26. “I’ve been offered a position that will require a fair amount of training and a bit of time on the road,” said Scanlon in a phone interview Wednesday road, night. “And I can’t balance being a selectmen and this at the same time.” time. Scanlon, who currently works full time as a civilian for the Department of Defense on Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, said when he ran for selectman last spring he never intended to resign early. “The position I’ve been offered is a once in a lifetime opportunity and being a selectman is a volunteer position, I have to do what’s best for me and my family,” he said. family, Chelmsford-born Scanlon moved back to town in 2006 with his wife Nancy to start raising a family. Scanlon and selectmen Chairman George Dixon topped the ticket in a six-man race in April 2009. “I’m gong to miss him because he’s a great kid,” said Dixon about his 29-year-old colleague. “He’s a kid, wonderful young man and I wish him the best.” best. Scanlon said he is announcing he resignation this month to give the board the necessary amount of time to pro- ceed with holding an election for a fifth selectman. Scanlon said it’s up to the board but he suspects there will be an election along with the state elections in November. An Air Force officer, Scanlon served for six months in Afghanistan. He also served overseas in Lebanon. Earlier this year, Scanlon and former Selectman Pat Wojtas, also an Air Force veteran, worked to form the town’s first Military Community Covenant Task Force to connect local military families and Chelmsford businesses. “The two of us together, we created a program that’s an example for the rest of the state,” he said. state, “It’s gotten a fair amount of attention on the state level and on the local level and it’s been great to help people.” people. Scanlon said he and a number of other volunteers in the task force helped a local mother of three, whose husband was recently deployed, mow her lawn several times a week and set up her air conditioner when the hot summer heat wave set in. Helping people was really what being a selectmen meant to Scanlon, he said. “A lot of the stuff I tried to do didn’t always have big headlines with it,” he said. “I didn’t really it, have a motivation for being a selectmen other than to help people.” people. Scanlon described his first six months on the board as a time where he figured out what the position was really all about but he says he then found a niche of what his goals were. He describes his 14-month stint on the board as the best he could’ve done. “I just feel like I did the best I could do and that’s all I feel like I could ask of anyone that runs for public office,” he said. “At the end of the day, I respect those people who put their money where office their mouth is. It’s been a great experience and I’ve met a lot of great people.” people. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 9. Bill Dalton says he will seek selectman's seat Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Wed, Jul 14, 2010 Within hours of Selectman Sean Scanlon's retirement announcement, Former Board of Selectmen member Bill Dalton confirmed he plans to run to complete the unfinished term. "I've got the time and I definitely have the experience," said Dalton. experience, "I want to help the town out again like I did before." before. Dalton, 63, served 15 years on the town’s top board before stepping down after his fifth term in the spring of 2009. For him, Chelmsford's biggest challenge remains the budget. "It is ever-tightening of the strings," said Dalton. strings, "There doesn't seem to be an end in sight." sight. Dalton believes Town Manager Paul Cohen has done a "good job" of staying on top of the current financial job downturn. And the former selectman wants to make sure that continues. "You've got to make the town function as efficiently as possible," said Dalton. possible, Dalton understands want needs to be done when the economy is not cooperating. During his tenure, the town went through a couple of boom-and-bust cycles. "That is one of the reasons we started the stabilization fund," said Dalton. "We made it so the only fund, way to take out money was to get a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting." Meeting. Even before Scanlon announced his plans, Dalton contem- plated making a return run to the board. Today's news con- firmed now was the time. "I've been thinking about it," it said Dalton. "And with this opening, I thought, 'Why not?' I've got the time and the desire to help the town." town. ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ IS HE OR ISN'T HE ??? ITR●7/16/10 That remains the question. Although initial news reports on the Chelmsfordmass- blog have Bill Dalton throwing his hat into the Selectmen candidate ring to fill the vacant seat in the fall, later news reports from other sources have Dalton just weighing the possibilities of running? Could this be because now there is now competition for the seat? Granted it is easier running a campaign when your running unopposed. Bill I'm sure in his 15 years of service and BOS elections Dalton Bill has enjoyed the "thrill of victory ", perhaps it's the second half of that phrase he would rather not face? Time will tell. Stay tuned...
  • 10. No shortage of candidates for a selectman seat in Chelmsford By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service Jul 16, 2010 Chelmsford — A day after Sean Scanlon announced he is resigning as selectman, candi- dates are already lining up to serve out the remainder of his 18-month term. Among them are Planning Board member Jim Lane, who told the Independent Thursday afternoon that he will be pulling papers to run for Scanlon’s seat. Lane, who will be finishing out the fourth year of his stint on the Planning Board this April, said he has a strong history of both as an elected official in town and as a businessman. “I think I can bring a lot to the Selectmen,” said Lane, who is a third Selectmen, generation Chelmsfordian. “I’m passionate about this town. I’ve raised my family here and now I want to give back.” back. Lane is one of at least three residents who are expressing interest in the seat, Jim expressing the passion for politics in this town. Lane Lane said he already planned on running for Selectman Eric Dahlberg’s seat in the spring, but is excited about the earlier opportunity presented to him with Scanlon’s resignation. Lane said he has long aspired to serve as member of the town’s highest elected board, but he saw the Plan- ning Board as a stepping stone to the Board of Selectmen. After familiarizing himself with the town’s zoning and land use bylaws and as chair of the town’s 2010 Master Plan Committee he is now ready to take on the next venture and run for the Board. “I’ve gained a lot of experience in this town and I’m ready to put that to work,” he said. “The work, board needs someone that has leadership abilities and I am coming from an elected posi - tion.” tion. Lane said he doesn’t think the current board is actively working other boards that are laboring to bring busi- nesses to town such as the town’s Economic Development Commission. Lane does not support the board’s decision to deny the town’s newest butcher shop, the Meat House the right to sell boutique wines alongside its meat. “I would’ve been in favor of giving them a beer and wine license,” he said. “That individual license, had a wealth of knowledge on restaurant management and I don’t think a beer and wine li - cense would’ve been any more of a safety risk.” risk. As the Regional Vice President of the Stoneham-based EMCOR Group and Building Technology Engineers, Lane said he has the strong business background that is needed on the board. “At the end of the day I bring a pretty good business experience,” he said. experience, Lane has three children: Corey, 25 and six-year-old twins Colin and Madison. He lives on Old Westford Road with his wife Deanna. Pledging to be committed for the long haul, Lane said he doesn’t find the short 18-month term as a deter- rent. “I think it’s positive for me. Personally it allows me to get involved right now and make a difference right now,” he said. “When some doors shut for some another opens for others. I now, have nothing but admiration for Sean and he based this on his family and I don’t blame him at all.” all.
  • 11. Former selectman Bill Dalton is also considering throwing his hat in the ring for Scan- Bill Dalton lon’s seat. Dalton, who didn’t run for re-election in April 2009, said he hasn’t fully made up his mind yet but is seriously considering a run for Scanlon’s seat. “I’ve actually been thinking about for a while,” said Dalton, who retired from while, the Chelmsford fire department eight years ago. “The reason I stepped down was because I needed a break. I’d been on there 15 years and I needed a breather.” breather. Dalton, who moved to town in 1971, said he misses being a selectman and thinks his 15 years of experiences could be an asset to the young board. “I felt that with Sean going the most senior guy there is Eric with just over 2 years and you’ve got George just over one year and Jon and Matt just over three months and I think they do need some experience,” he said. experience, Unlike Lane, Dalton said he supports the board’s move to deny the Meat House a wine and malt beverage li- cense. “I try to look at the issue as a whole,” he said. “People have asked me and I’ve said, ‘Well if whole, John Harrington came in and tried to get a common victualer’s license and sell meat, how would the Meat House feel?’” feel? Dalton said he has shown his commitment to the town and can likely count on one hand the number of Town Meetings he’s missed since 1981. Pat Wojtas Another former selectmen Pat Wojtas, who lost her bid for re-election in April, told the Independent today that she is considering a run for Scanlon’s seat, as well. “I’ve kind of been thinking about giving it another shot next year,” year, she said. “This is even sooner than that and I’m considering it.” it. Wojtas, who lost out to Jon Kurland and Matt Hanson in April, said she misses being on the board but has remained involved in the town. “I’m still a representative to NMCOG and I’m still the representative to the LRTA,” she said. “I’ve been staying involved and I’m still up on all the issues, so if I do LRTA, get back in I would still have all the experience and wouldn’t have a gap really.” really. Wojtas, who worked together with Scanlon to found the town’s Military Community Covenant Task Force that joins military families together with local businesses, said the effort has reached beyond expectations. “I brought it to Sean and he was very enthusiastic about it,” she said. “He really led the way it, on a lot of the initiatives. I think a good part of the success is really due to him.” him. Town Manager Paul Cohen said the most effective and democratic option for the town would be for the Board to schedule an election in November in conjunction with other statewide and federal elections. “The cost of doing it in conjunction with the state elections are less,” he said. “You generally get your highest turnouts at statewide elections. It’s what generally makes sense for cost and for democracy.” Residents at the polls on Nov. 2 would have two ballots to fill out, said Cohen. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 12. JIM LANE ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR OPEN SELECTMEN’S POSITION I have been interested in town politics since I was a small child delivering newspapers in the South Chelmsford neigh- borhood of Robin Hill. The dinner table discussions always consisted of what was happening in the world, around town and occasionally resulted in spirited debate. I currently live on Old Westford Road, my wife Deanna and I have 6-year- old twins, Collin and Madison who attend the Byam School. I also have a 25-year old son Corey. Nearly four years ago I decided to get off the sidelines and give back to the community that has been so good to myself and my family. During this time I have continually broadened my experi- ence in town government. As an Elected Planning Board Member, Chairman of the Master Plan Committee, Community Preservation Committee Member and a 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 19 month comprehensive Master Plan review which looked at every aspect of the town. The Master Plan will set a strategic vision for the next 10-15 years to identify issues, opportunities and recommendations guiding future boards, committees and policy makers for the town. Currently I am the Regional Vice President for EMCOR Facilities Services, a Fortune 500 leader in commercial real estate solutions for Facilities Management and Property Asset Management. My resume offers over 25 years experience in facility management, operations and mainte- nance, and other services, often at sites with highly technical requirements and mission-critical functions. I have responsibility of a multi million dollar budget, more than 300 employees and offer a lengthy background negotiating and managing union contracts thru collective bargaining. The past several years have brought tough financial challenges and continuing change. Now more than ever we need experienced leadership to insure that Chelmsford remains one of the finest towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With my business acumen, proven leader- ship ability and town government background I can help the current board make sensible and sound decisions in the best interest of Chelmsford. If elected, I will commit myself to ensuring the town’s continued financial strength. With careful financial planning, we need to continue to maintain our stabilization fund in order to meeting the uncertainty of our state and national economy. We must also be mindful of our bond rating, which greatly impacts our cost of borrowing money for the many important projects in town, in- cluding our current sewer and school project. Finally, it is incumbent on all elected officials, to advocate for more aid from the state. Public safety and public education need to remain our top priorities as we continue to navigate through this unprecedented time of budget challenges. If you would like to learn more about my candidacy, discuss any issues or offer any feedback please feel free to contact my either by phone or email anytime. Jim Lane H-978.256.5381 C-617.799.1511
  • 13. Bill Dalton says he will NOT seek selectman's seat ITR●7/17/10 Saturday after a mid-morning meeting between The Dalton Gang and Jim Lane, Bill Dalton thought it would be best to not run at this time for the soon to be vacant Selectmen seat and throw his support behind Jim Lane’s candidacy this fall in hopes that Lane will return the favor next spring if Dalton chooses to run for Eric Dahlberg’s Selectmen seat. Pat Wojtas is seriously considering running for the seat she lost last April to Jon Kurland. As of yet no official announcement has been made. Other former Selectmen candidates have expressed an interest in running for the seat in November also, but none have come forward publicly to announce so far. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. If it does become a race of more than one candidate for the empty Selectmen seat be sure to look for one of the first debates this fall on Tom Christiano’s Politically Incorrect Bill Dalton Jim Lane Pat Wojtas ?
  • 14. Patriotism on Parade Chelmsford, Lowell celebrate 4th in style By Rachel R. Briere and Robert Mills, Sun Staff 07/06/2010 CHELMSFORD -- In Chelmsford, traditions for the Fourth of July include red, white and blue -- oh, and lawn chairs. "We se- cured our place Friday night," said Jackie Murphy, a native of Chelmsford who lives in Groton. "We try to be in the same area every year. There may be no fireworks, but the spirit of the crowd makes up for it." There were, however, fireworks on the Merrimack River in Lowell later in the evening, and many headed from Chelmsford to Lowell after the parade. Murphy was one of thousands lining the curbs along both sides of North Road in Chelmsford yesterday morning for the 43rd annual Fourth of July Parade. They cheered, clapped and oc- casionally blew into plastic noisemakers as marching bands, antique vehicles, floats, politicians and a litany of Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops strolled by. Kathy Sam Duffett Chase The assembly of marchers was led by parade Marshal Dr. Stuart Weisfeldt, an obstetrician with a practice in town. After the John Carson Road Race, the parade got under way just after 10 a.m., with temperatures hovering in the mid-80s. As the last of all 97 "marching units" finished the two-mile route about 12:30, the sun beat down on the crowd, which endured 100 percent humidity and 90-degree temperatures. "I never remember it being this hot and humid," said Rose Sousa, who recently moved to town but has been coming to the parade for nearly Clare 30 years. "I guess it's better than the rain we had last year." Jeannotte Some in the crowd turned toward the floats toting squirt guns for a lit- tle relief from the heat. Alton Foster, 10, of Carlisle taunted one group with the water weapons, running alongside and heckling them in order to be sprayed repeatedly. Selectman John Kurland said this year's parade and Country Fair is the largest the town ever hosted. Booth and Town Common activity organizer Robert Kelley agreed, saying each year there are more and more requests for booths. This year, 62 organizations manned 73 booths at the Country Fair. Kelley said it's one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the state, and it's all made possible by private donations -- no public money. "That's what is unique about Chelmsford -- the spirit of volunteerism," Kurland said.
  • 15. A number of local politicians marched the route yesterday including U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, U.S. Mary Rep. Niki Tsongas, Attorney General Martha Coakley, state Rep. Cory Atkins and Governor's Councilor Marilyn De- Tiano vaney. "It's a tremendous parade," Devaney said. "I can't believe it's not publicly funded. Everyone is warm and inviting. It's great the people here remember the patriotism." Later, in Lowell, thousands lined the banks of the Merrimack River, and children swam at Rynne Beach to beat the heat as the sun set about 8:30. Across the river, an ice-cream truck parked in the lot of the Lowell Humane Society broadcasting a jingle, and families set up blankets and lawn chairs along the river and in the parking lot at UMass Lowell's South Campus as more than a dozen boats, including one toting a Paul large American flag, cruised the Cohen river. Owen DeLuca, 7, of Chelms- ford, had been in the Chelms- ford parade with Cub Scout Troop 77 earlier in the day, and Jon & Sara he and his family rushed to Kurland down melting Frosties from Wendy's as they waited for the fireworks. His parents, Paul and Wendy DeLuca, along with their other children, Colin, 5, and Sophie 2, said squirt guns had also helped with the heat dur- ing the parade. Pat Donna Lowell firefighter Bill Har- Wojtas Ready land of Littleton said he drank as much water as possible while marching in the Chelmsford parade with Fran the Stuart Highland Pipe McDougall Band, based in Wilmington. He set up in the back of the UMass parking lot with his wife, Michelle, and sons Matthew, 5, and Zachary, 1, to await Lowell's fireworks. "No one bothers you here but the mosquitos," Harland said, noting that a blast of bug spray was needed. Photos by Candace Chase
  • 16. Chelms ford resident driv ing force behind par ade By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service Jul 01, 2010 Chelmsford — On Monday, July 5, Lynn Marcella won’t be leading the Fourth of July parade through Lynn Chelmsford, but many say she’s the woman behind it. Marcella Members of the Parade Committee and Chelmsford residents say they are incapable of de- scribing the amount of time and work that goes into putting together the $50,000 operation that is the town’s annual 4th of July Parade. But they do say the past three parades and this year’s wouldn’t have been possible without Marcella, co-chairman of the Chelmsford Parade Committee. “People have no idea what it takes to put this thing together and at the end of day, she glues it all together,” said Jeff Hardy, Marcella’s co-chairman. ”The woman is incredible.” Each September, the 10 members of the Parade Committee begin working on the next parade, which attracts both state and federal political dignitaries and thousands of Bay State residents each year. But as the spring months fly by and July 4 is around the corner, the members of the Parade Committee including Marcella are dealing with last minute requests for floats and donating hundreds of hours of their time around the clock to make sure the town’s signature event goes off without a hitch. Last year, the committee received the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce’s Community Service of the Year Award. The committee was recently featured in a documentary, “The Great American 4th of July,” for the amount of work it puts into its annual parade. “[Lynn herself] puts in countless hours to the parade committee not only in terms of the minutes and the agendas but also in terms of the marching units and helping coordinate the raffle,” said Town Manager Paul Cohen, a liaison member of the Parade Committee. “She’s really the driving force behind the successful organization and operation of the parade.” In the fall of 2008 Marcella was diagnosed with breast cancer and she informed the members of the Committee that she may need some extra help while she was undergoing treatment. But Hardy said she never let it slow her down. “You know what? She never got tired,” he said. “As much as we told her to take it easy, she’d be like ‘I’m fine, let’s just get to work.’” Today she is now cancer free and enjoying life with her husband Chuck and giving back to the community in her volunteerism and her businesses. “I had this great group of support people behind me,” she said, in her office last week, as she sat surrounded by awards and certifi- cates hanging from the walls recognizing her volunteer efforts. “Between my Chelmsford Business Association friends to my Parade Committee friends and my family it was a piece of cake,” she said. While the Chelmsford Parade Committee took over the work of the town’s annual 4th of July parade in January 2007, civic activity isn’t new for Marcella. Despite owning two local businesses in Chelmsford — Chelmsford Copy and Secretarial on Alpine Lane and Metrics, an educational consulting firm in the medical industry — Marcella serves on numerous town organizations including the Chelmsford High School Alumni Association. In 2002, she was inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame. In 1994, Marcella was the first female president of the Chelmsford Rotary Club. “She’s just an amazing woman in this town,” said Rick Romano, who serves with Marcella on the Chelmsford Parade Committee and the Chelmsford Business Association. “She just donates so much of her time to all these causes and the town is lucky to have her.” When Romano needed an executive director for the New England Jewelers Association, where he serves as president one person came to mind — Marcella. “She is just so organized and effective that it was great to have her join,” he said. “Once we hired her everyone thought this was the best thing I’d done since I became president.” As the executive director Marcella handles most of the administrative work for the organization including handling all of its mailings. “I don’t know anything about jewelry except that I like it,” she said laughing. Marcella said her copy business, which she has owned for 37 years, introduced her to many people in town and led her to become in- volved with numerous organizations like the committee. Since taking over the parade in 2007, Marcella said that the committee has brought the parade to a new level. “We really, enjoy it,” she said. “But we don’t want to be do it forever.” As of right now, Marcella said all the committee members are committed volunteers for next year’s parade. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 17. CHELMSFORD’S 4th and 5th Ryan Rollinson Colleen Kirk Elisabeth Stansfield Marshall Earley RE RE RE RE Nick And THEY said you would eventually end DeSilvio likes pie up with egg on your RE RE face. Boy were THEY wrong Eliane Consalvo Barb Belanger ☺ RE TC RE Andrew Eric Rollinson Laurie TC Dahlberg Sam Tom Fall Myers Poulten Brenda Plunkett Stefani Marianne Bush TC Paresky RE RE Chelsea TC Hertzog TC Alex Earley RE RE TC Donna Berger Bruce Berger Matthew TC Hanson Anna Graves TC Photos by Roy Earley and Tom Christiano
  • 18. TC TC Suzanne Hal TC Dahlberg Matzkin Janet Askenburg Paul Cohen Trace Askenburg RE TC RE RE Ann McNamara Bill Heatley RE Norm Aubert Chief RE James Murphy TC Mary Tiano RE RE RE Jim Arciero TC RE RE Eric Paul George Sean Dahlberg Matt Cohen Jon Dixon Scanlon Hanson Kurland RE RE RE RE Photos by Roy Earley and Tom Christiano RE
  • 19. TC TC Stu Weisfeldt TC Sam Chase Scott Martha Brown Coakley Chelmsford Open Space Stewards TC RE Photos by Roy Earley and Tom Christiano RE RE Nick Susan DeSilvio Fargo Dr. Don Kathy Evelyn Yeoman Duffett Thoren Tom Angie Fall Janet Askenburg Taranto TC RE Photos by Roy Earley and Tom Christiano
  • 20. Eric Suzanne Niki Tsongas Dahlberg Dahlberg TC RE RE RE TC Catherine TC TC Conte TC TC TC TC TC Philip Eliopoulos TC TC TC Michelle Rollinson RE Jeff Hardy RE Photos by Roy Earley and Tom Christiano RE
  • 21. GOP's Martinez wants to bring 'transparency' to state Senate By Rita Savard, 06/29/2010 CHELMSFORD -- Sandi Martinez calls 2010 "The Year of the Republican" in Massachusetts. "Incumbents are really going to face some tough Sandi greets the crowd challenges this time around," said Martinez, who is around, during Chelmsford’s seeking her third run for the 3rd Middlesex District Senate 4th of July Parade seat that has been held by Lincoln Democrat Susan Fargo since 1996. "There's a new energy sweeping across the state," Martinez added. state, "People are tired of politics as usual, and they're starting to feel their voices are being heard." heard. But before Martinez can take on Fargo, she must first overcome an obstacle of her own -- a fellow Republican challenger. Chelmsford Selectman Eric Dahlberg, 32, also threw his hat into the ring this year and has made headlines by calling out Martinez for stonewalling debates. Martinez, 62, denies any objection to debating Dahlberg and reported last Thursday that she and Dahlberg will discuss the issues at a Chelmsford forum in August. She said a Republican primary is a positive, as it draws more attention to the seat and to her campaign. "I've always talked about bringing more transparency to Beacon Hill," Martinez said. "It's the people's money, and they should Hill, see where every cent of it is going." going. If elected, the first thing Martinez wants to do is make every dollar the state spends available for voters to view on the web. "An online checkbook," she explained. "Tracking and itemizing every dollar the state spends, from mowing the Statehouse lawn checkbook, to local aid." aid. That kind of transparency would help cut wasteful spending and most likely increase the people's involvement in their government on many levels, Martinez said. "Imagine a small-business owner who sees how much the state spent on mowing the lawn and saying, 'I can offer something better.' Next thing you know, you're increasing bids and saving money on those housekeeping items," she said. "But on a bigger scale, people can really get in - items, volved in where the money is being spent because they can see it clearly, all mapped out in front of them." them. It would also hold lawmakers accountable, she said. "Everything would be a click away, so if $50,000 went toward buying something like drapes, taxpayers would know and could do something about it with their votes," Martinez said. "If the people could have that checkbook online, I'm sure they'd find lots votes, of ways to save their tax dollars." dollars. Martinez was born in Waltham and spent her childhood in Chelmsford, where she later purchased a home and raised four children with her husband of 26 years, Louis. By holding a variety of jobs throughout her life -- from working in a factory and waiting on tables to eventually landing a job at IBM and starting up her own information-technology consulting business -- Martinez said she can identify with "pretty much everybody." "All of those experiences play into what I'm doing today," she said. "Nothing in life ever goes to waste." today, waste. She believes her resume will resonate with voters across the district, which includes Bedford, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Sudbury, Waltham and Weston. "If you don't have a lot of life experience, you can't bring as much to the table," she said. table, Martinez has also pledged not to serve more than three terms and refuses to take a state pension. Fargo, who was unable to be reached for comment yesterday, has touted in past interviews a track record of votes that "cut taxes and increase local aid," for her staying power over the past 14 years. But Martinez, calling Fargo a "tax hiker, not a tax saver," said if Fargo is not re-elected this year, it will be because of her voting record. saver, "She voted to increase the state sales tax and ignored voters who wanted to roll back the state income tax," Martinez said. tax, "That's not listening to the people." people. Fargo previously told The Sun that when the state hit a recession after 9/11, "to suddenly roll the income tax back like that would have had disastrous effects on cities and towns." towns. "We just wouldn't have been able to provide the local aid in the amounts they needed," Fargo added. needed, "But we are rolling back gradually." gradually. In 2008, Fargo beat Martinez, winning 62 percent of the vote, with 48,912 votes to Martinez's 29,390. Martinez, who launched the local tea-party movement in 2009 to largely protest the government's stimulus packages and taxpayer-funded bailouts, said the tea party's goals coincide with this year's campaign in many ways. "People are taxed out, and they're sending a message," Martinez said, adding that U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's victory in January, which sent message, shock waves through the largely Democratic House and Senate, is proof that times are changing. "I think more than ever before, people are voting for the person rather than the party," she said. "That's why I think we'll see party, more Republican victories in this traditionally blue state than we've seen in a while. People don't just want to vote in the in - cumbent -- they want to vote in the person that will work the hardest for them." them. Photos by the Martinez Cammittee
  • 22. RE RE RE TC Work begins in earnest at 9 North Road Staff reports • Thu, Jul 08, 2010 Construction workers jumped into two bulldozers Thursday morning and cleared most of the grass from the parcel at 9 North Road. Although Boars Head LLC attempted to stop Epsilon Group LLC from constructing its two-story office building, a Land Court judge paved the way last week for work to begin. Boars Head's appeals of Planning Board and Historic District Commission approvals for the project are still pending. Massachusetts law recently changed to allow developers to commence work on projects even while being challenged in court. If Epsilon loses those appeals, it would be required to return the lot to its original condition. Workers cleared most of the grass from 9 North Road Thursday. (Staff photo by Kevin Zimmerman)
  • 23. Former Chelmsford selectmen rip current board over building project By Rita Savard, 07/13/2010 CHELMSFORD -- The last three surviving members from the 1978 Board of Selectmen blasted their successors last night for not tak- ing more action on a controversial building project at 9 North Road. John Carson, Paul Hart and Joe Shanahan said the preservation restriction they helped create 32 years ago was meant to secure the two-acre North Road parcel as open space. But now, the former officials allege the regulation is being violated while the current board sits idly by. "While I am not a lawyer, it is clear to me that the courts recognize the Board of Selectmen is the sole enforcing authority of the preservation restriction," Carson said. "My question to you is, what are you doing to exercise your restriction, authority? Your apparent inaction is allowing plans to go forward to build a building that was never intended by the 1978 Town Meeting, Board of Selectmen or Planning Board."Board. The building in question is a two-story, 15,494-square-foot Colonial-style structure owned by Michael Eliopoulos, manager of Epsilon LLC. Once completed, the building will house a law practice along with dental and medical offices, all operated by members of the Eliopoulos family, including attorney Philip Eliopoulos, also a former selectman. The building proposal sparked debate last year after it was approved by the Historic District Commission, Conservation Commission and the Planning Board. Dentist Michael Sargent, whose practice abuts the Epsilon building site, has filed lawsuits against the town. Sargent alleges that con- structing such a building would break the 1978 restriction that safeguarded the land for open space. Philip Eliopoulos said last night that the wording of the preservation restriction clearly allows for some development on the site, which is why three town boards, town counsel and the state Land Court have all given the project a green light. "If the land was intended to remain entirely open space, that could have been reflected in a one-page document," document, Eliopoulos said. "It (the preservation restriction) does not bar all development on the site, but establishes standards of density of the site." site Eliopoulos said allowing some development was meant to give the former landowner, Rodger Currie, room to build a bank drive- through and maintain or make minor changes to the buildings that already existed on the site. The Epsilon Group, which also bought and restored the historic Emerson House as part of the land deal, has argued that the construc- tion of its building will still not equal the amount of building space that occupied the parcel when the restriction was adopted 32 years ago. The three former selectmen urged the current board to intervene as quickly as possible, especially in the wake of a recent Land Court decision that rejected a request to halt construction at the site. "Everyone believes your total lack of discourse since last December is an insult to the town of Chelmsford," Chelmsford, Shanahan said. "By your inaction, you have led to the perception that everything is fine." fine. Selectman Jon Kurland said he wants an opinion from town counsel on whether the board could move forward with a public hearing. Eliopoulos said he didn't believe the board could hold a public hearing while the issue is locked in litigation. Several public hearings have already been held through the Planning Board, the Historic District Commission and the Conservation Commission, Eliopoulos added. "I take great offense that they would presume that I would violate the preservation restriction," he said. restriction, "I served this town just like you and would never do anything to violate an agreement with the town. It's just not who I am." am. Hart, who served as selectman for 15 years, said his former board would never have supported selling the former town-owned land to Currie if the North Road parcel wasn't going to remain open space. If the parcel was meant to be built on, Eastern Bank wouldn't have sold it to Epsilon LLC for the bargain price of $480,000, Hart said, adding that banks aren't about to strike a deal that would lose them money. Hart compared the deal to the smell of manure that used to waft through the windows of St. Mary's Church from a former cow pasture. CLICK HERE "It never smelled as bad as what is taking place right now," he said. now, for copy of Preservation Restrictions
  • 24. Chelmsford selectmen get an earfull over 9 North Road project By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer and Joanne Stanway./correspondent GateHouse News Service Jul 13, 2010 Chelmsford — Three former selectmen appeared before Board of Selectmen Monday night demanding current members weigh in on the controversial office building at 9 North Road. John Carson, Paul Hart and Joe Shanahan, who all served on the board in 1978 when it approved a preservation restriction for 9 North Road, said current board members are shirking responsibility as the authority charged with enforcing the restriction. The three men said former Select- man Philip Eliopoulos’ plans to build a two-story office building on the site he bought with his father Michael and his property management firm, the Epsilon Group, do not comply with the town’s preservation restriction. “Inaction is allowing plans to go forward for a building that was never intended by the 1978 Town Meeting, 1978 Board of Selectmen or 1978 Planning Board,” said Carson in open session at the July 12 meeting. “Lack of public discussion on this sub - ject feeds perception through the town that either you are unconcerned about preserving open space or you have some hidden agenda. I do not believe that either perception is correct, but voters will determine that at the next election.” election. Michael Sargent, who owns property with his wife Joanne neighboring the site, is suing the town, the Planning Board and the Historic District Commission in Land Court over their approvals of the site plans and special permits for the proposed two-story office building. Peter Lawlor, also a former selectman, is representing Sargent in Land Court. Throughout the legal process Sargent and Lawlor have been alleging the building doesn’t conform with the restriction, despite the approval of the site plan by both the Historic District Commission and the Planning Board. Earlier this month, a land court judge denied Lawlor’s request for an injunction to prevent Eliopoulos from starting construction. Carson and Hart urged the board to hold a public hearing to hear the opinions of residents on the three-decade-old restriction. “When I see something as ridiculous as this taking place, and you guys not doing anything I’m shocked,” said Hart. shocked, “You’ve got a job to do and you should do it.” it. Shanahan said the Selectmen were deemed the governing authority over the restriction because members of the 1978 board never envisioned the land would be developed. He scolded the current five members for their “inaction and lack of discourse.” “With all due respect to this board, your total inaction, your total lack of discourse on this matter since last November is an insult to the town of Chelmsford,” said Shanahan. “Not to me, not to John, not to Paul…I respectfully ask that this board Chelmsford, not put its head in the sand.” sand. Selectman Chairman George Dixon defended himself and the board members and pointed out the board has discussed the matter in executive session several times. “We have met with town counsel on three different occasion,” said Dixon. “As you know we cannot discuss what was said in executive session, however I can say that there was no real majority decision made…Just want to let the people know, it’s not like we’ve been sitting on this.” Eliopoulos defended himself and his building plans. He argued the plans do conform with the restriction and said fit within the mandated 20 per- cent area coverage and 55 percent threshold on floor area ratio named in the restriction. “I take great offense by my three former colleagues, to assume I would violate the preservation restriction,” he said. “I’ve restriction, represented this town and served it just like you. I would never do anything to intentionally hurt this town, or to violate an agreement made with the town. It’s not who I am.” am. Eliopoulos said never in the 12 years that he served on the board did it hold a public hearing for a matter in litigation and he would not a part of one if it was held. Town Manager Paul Cohen defended the town’s and the board’s actions regarding the case thus far. Cohen said just like in all land disputes the town has taken a passive defense. “We’ve invested a significant amount of funding in this and I don’t like the impression given that we just blatantly ignored it and that we haven’t spent any resources…I just do not like the impression that this board is basically just sort of ignor - ing it and sitting on it. We’ve had counsel actively monitoring this case,” he said.” case, ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved 7/12/10 Chelmsford Board of Selectmen look at the North Road Eliopoulos proposal CLICK HERE  for Video
  • 25. Chelmsfor d ZBA continues cell phone hearing to Aug. 12 By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer GateHouse News Service Jul 14, 2010 Chelmsford — Verizon Wirless and the Chelmsford Water District will be back before the Zoning Board of Appeals Aug. 12 for a con- tinuation of an application for a 120-foot cell tower, proposed district- owned land at 106 Locke Road. If the ZBA issues an OK on Verizon’s request for a special permit and a variance, the monopole cell tower will accommodate Verizon antennas and communication antennas for the Chelmsford Police and Fire departments as well space for other carriers including T-Mobile. Town Manger Paul Cohen said Verizon antennas are currently located on the Water District’s 80-foot tank, which it is eliminating. “So they are looking to install the tower in lieu of having it on the water tank since the tower will be removed,” he said. removed, Verizon and the Chelmsford Water District need a special permit and vari- ance from the ZBA to proceed because tower is proposed within 500 feet of a residence. Cohen said there are at least six houses located within 200 foot of the proposed location. But the legal abutters living on Locke Road, Westford Street, Walnut Road and Tanglewood Drive are concerned about the adverse effects the new cell tower would have on their quality of life. In an e-mail addressed to the Board of Selectmen and other town officials, Kristie Leonard said the proposed tower will be located less than 60 feet from her property and less than 150 feet from her home. Leonard said she attended the first ZBA hearing on the proposal. “I understood the regulation to be 500 feet from existing homes,” said Leonard, who lives at 108 Locke Road. “Verizon is not homes, requesting to cut back a few feet, this is a request to ignore the regulation completely. This would only include 20 to 25 percent of the regulated distance. Leonard said she is concerned about the precedent this cell tower will set if it is approved by the ZBA. “The residents deserve the right to be informed about the changes in their community and apparently the information is not reaching them,” said Leonard, adding that many of her neighbors them, said they were unaware about the proposal. The water tank will be replaced with a new 30-foot water tank, said Cohen. Cohen said the existing towers antennas on the tank have been in place since 1987. Allen Maclean, who lives on 10 Tanglewood Drive with his wife Linda and their son, said the tower doesn’t belong in a residential neighborhood. Town Manager addresses the “They are proposing to put up a 120-foot cell phone tower cell tower proposal at the which would be the equivalent of a 12 story building,” said building, BOS on 7/12/1 Maclean. “We feel this is a very residential neighborhood and to have something this high in a residential area would be inap - propriate.” propriate. Several residents have also expressed health risks associated with the tower. But Cohen said the federal government regulates health concerns. CLICK HERE There will be a balloon test Saturday to measure the aesthetic effect and the height of the tower. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 26. Neighbors turn out for cell-tower balloon test Bob Joyce/Staff Reporter • Sat, Jul 17, 2010 A large contingent of abutters and neighbors turned out in force Saturday morning to view a balloon-test conducted by Verizon Wireless on Locke Road. The Zoning Board of Appeals requested the test as part of a special permit and variance public hearing process needed to construct a 120-foot-high monopole for cellular antennas. Verizon is looking for a variance on setbacks to adjacent properties. The bylaw calls for 500-foot setbacks and according to abutters they have about 50 to 60 feet to the lot line of the nearest abutter. Currently, cellular antennas are located on the 88-foot-tall Chelmsford Water District Tower located at the property. The district has plans to build a new water container that is lower to the ground, which has forced Verizon to seek approval for the new monopole. Police and fire antennas have been on the water tower since the 1960s. Neighbors on Tanglewood Drive, which is about 2,000 feet away, had a clear view of the bright red balloon from their homes. Officials did state, that because of the wind, the balloon did not really show the 120-foot level but could have adjusted during the three hour test. ZBA Chairman John Blake deferred all questions until the board meets on Thursday, Aug. 12 at the Town Office Building. Neighborhood organizer Linda Maclean announced to the group that she is trying to organize a meeting, possibly to be held at the Public Library Community room, to gather questions and concerns to be discussed at the Aug. 12 ZBA meeting. In top photo, Verizon spokesman Carl Gehring explains to a large group of neighbors the layout for Verizons 120 foot high cellular monopole and associated buildings being proposed at the Center Water Districts water tower on Locke Road. In lower photo, a view of the balloon and the existing municipal antennas taken from the far end of Tanglewood Drive. (Staff photos by Bob Joyce)
  • 27. Affordable housing law repeal qualifies for ballot By Christine McConville Monday, July 12, 2010 It’s official. In November, Bay State voters will decide for themselves whether or not to toss out the state’s controversial affordable housing law, Chapter 40B. “This reflects 10 years of hard work by many people,” said John Belskis, a leader in the repeal movement. people, “Now, I’m looking to months more of hard work, to make sure we don’t get bashed in the media with the people with deep pockets,” he said. pockets, His statewide group has been working for years to strip the developer-backed law from the state’s books. Today, they were told by the state’s elections division that the repeal question will appear on the November ballot. State legislators passed the law back in 1969, as white flight from the cities was raising concerns that rich and poor communities would be divided along urban and suburban lines. The law requires every Bay State community to ensure that 10 percent of its housing is affordable to low- and mod- erate-income people. In communities that hadn’t reached that 10 percent goal, developers are allowed to bypass local zoning laws, if they promise to set aside at least 20 percent of the units they create for low- and moderate-income people. Critics of the law say developers use it to enrich themselves while bringing poorly planned housing to the state. Supporters say the law is the state’s only tool to create lower-cost housing. ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ RELATED STORIES: Backers fired up to repeal affordable housing law FRAMINGHAM — Backers of a movement to repeal Chapter 40B are happy they got the question on the ballot in November, but they are preparing for a fight this election season with advo- cates of the state's affordable housing law. John Belskis, chairman of the statewide Coalition to Repeal 40B, thinks there is enough support in the state to get rid of the law. "Why do you think it's gotten such severe opposition?" he said. "It's an abysmal failure." FOR MORE CLICK HERE Effort to repeal state affordable-housing law will appear on November ballot EASTON — “I can’t wait to work on it. Now the real work has to begin, in education and getting people to the polls. I think there’s going to be a lot of opposition and a lot of money spent out there.” FOR MORE CLICK HERE Arlington's Belsksis gets 40B on the ballot Arlington - “The law is flawed,” Belsksis said. “On the Inspector General’s website, you can find letters he’s written to everyone except Santa Claus about how bad the law is.” FOR MORE CLICK HERE HOUSING BATTLE - News Center 5 On the Ballot: Repeal Affordable Housing Law Foes of Law Take Case To Voters July 16, 2010 BOSTON -- In a hot election year, there's another controversial issue that's been added to the ballot. Question 2 will ask if developers provide a percentage of lower cost housing in exchange for lifting certain zoning restrictions. It's called 40B and it's been on the books since 1969. Some claim it's not fair to the people who already live in the communities where they are built. Question 2 proponents say their opposition to the 40B law is all about towns controlling their own destiny. But opponents see this as another political chapter of "not in my backyard." FOR MORE CLICK HERE
  • 28. Land Court sides with Hillside Gardens 40B Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Fri, Jul 16, 2010 Land Court Judge Alexander H. Sands III ruled last week that commercial abutters to Hillside Gardens do not have standing to challenge the Zoning Board of Appeals approval of the 40B project. Plaintiffs Charles Brooks along with Guy Faretra and Craig D. Faretra, as Trustees of C & G Realty Trust, appealed the board’s decision to allow Hillside Gardens to construct 44 two-bedroom townhouses at 313 Littleton Road on Oct. 20, 2008. They claimed the ZBA's approval of the housing project was "defective" on several technical grounds. The plaintiffs argued the approval was "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable." Hillside Gardens stated the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the permit. Under Massachusetts law, property owners acquire standing by asserting and proving a claim of real harm to a private right, a private prop- erty interest or a private legal interest. Plaintiffs argued their commercial uses would not be compatible with a residential neighbor. And the addition of housing next to their prop- erties means they would not be able to expand their industrial businesses. They also expressed concerns that the project would have a negative impact on ground water and storm water runoff on their properties. Brooks owns Brooks Precision Machines and three commercial condominiums at 4 Kidder Road. Brooks Precision Machines manufactures defense and medical supplies. C & G Realty Trust owns the parcel at 6 Kidder Road. At that location, the Trust operates Chelmsford Crane Service, Inc. a business that rents mobile truck cranes and trucks. Plaintiffs believe that residents of the proposed 40B could allege harm from noise, smell, traffic, lighting and safety concerns from their commercial neighbors. Brooks and C & G Realty Trust allege "that these harms emanating from their properties would present problems for the residential use, thereby raising their insurance premiums and causing an attractive nuisance for the residents." Sands did not agree with that argument. "The essence of plaintiffs' alleged harms is that the project's residents will object to the ongoing industrial use on Brooks and the Trust properties," wrote Sands. Sands said the plaintiffs do not provide evidence to support these claims. Plaintiffs' expressed concerns that in- dustrial and residential abutters would result in "generalized harms of public safety" are "speculative at best and insufficient to confer stand- ing," wrote Sands. The judge also sided with Hillside Gardens over the issue of potential storm water runoff from the project affecting the plaintiffs. Sands wrote the plaintiffs did not provide "credible evidence" that they would be injured from potential storm water runoff coming from the project. The plaintiffs did not perform an independent study on the project's storm water runoff. Instead, their engineer referenced data from Hillside Garden’s engineer's report. Based on the elevation difference and the location of the 40B's storm water basins, plaintiffs' engineer stated it was "likely" Brooks and C & G Realty Trust's properties would be "adversely im- pacted by increased groundwater elevations caused by the project." Sands wrote such a conclusion was not adequate enough to "satisfy plaintiffs' burden to establish a plausible injury with credible evidence." He went on to say, plaintiffs' engineer failed to explain why the project's layout would result in increased groundwater. In the end, even if the plaintiffs had standing, the judge accepted Hillside Garden’s argument that the plaintiffs' complaint did not relate to the housing project, but instead to the town's determination of the zoning of the area in general. "As a result of the foregoing, I find that neither Brooks nor the Trust has standing to challenge the comprehensive permit," wrote Sands. "Consequently, this court lacks jurisdiction to address the issues pertaining to the validity of the comprehensive permit or the issues relative to whether the comprehensive permit was arbitrary or unreasonable." The judgment was entered on July 7. Plaintiffs have 30 days from that date to file a notice of appeal to the Appeals Court. ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ Chelmsford recieves state grant for housing study By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service Jul 14, 2010 Chelmsford — Chelmsford officials received word this week the town has earned a state grant to study the possibility of developing housing in the Oak Hill area. The Massachusetts Housing Partnership notified the town its application for a municipal technical assistance grant was approved. MHP will con- tract directly with Hancock Associates for $12,100 worth of surveying, engineering and environmental services for a parcel of land in Oak Hill, ac- cording to the letter sent to Community Development Director Evan Belansky. The grant will allow Hancock to assess the feasibility of building six rental units on the 66 acre parcel. “It will really give us a good sense of what can be done at the site,” said Town Manager Paul Cohen. site, “It had been eyed as a site for affordable housing. [In addition] to giving us a general idea of the site it will also help the housing authority explore some additional resources.” resources. Belansky appeared before the Board of Selectmen in April explaining the grant opportunity for Oak Hill. He informed them that both the 2010 Master Plan Committee and the 2010 Affordable Housing Plan Committee have identified the site as a potential site for affordable housing. The town acquired the land for unpaid taxes. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 29. Chelmsford affordable housing complex on block; seniors facing loss of homes By Rita Savard, 07/09/2010 CHELMSFORD -- The first signs of trouble were posted to the building: Shutoff notices from National Grid and the North Chelmsford Water De- partment. Tenants of the Brianna Lyn affordable-housing units at 86 Richardson Road, where 16 apartments offer low rent for people ages 55 and older, began to worry. The tenants had been paying rent, but their landlord seemed to be letting his own bills fall through the cracks. "We saw the notices, but we didn't know what was going on," said Mary Shea, 88. "We were leaving messages (to the land - on, lord) but no one was calling back." back. After owner Thomas Gonsalves Jr., of 5 Burton Lane, Chelmsford, fell behind on his mortgage, the bank foreclosed on the Richardson Road property, where at least eight residents face losing their homes today pending a public auction at noon. David Hedison, executive director of the Chelmsford Housing Authority, said the CHA is doing everything it can to make sure the seniors aren't forced to move. "We will put in a bid for the property and if we can purchase it, no one will have to move," Hedison said. move, Gonsalves could not be reached yesterday. A phone number listed for his Burton Lane address has been disconnected. Tenants have described Gonsalves as an overall nice guy, but "a lousy manager." manager. "He doesn't return calls and do repairs when you need them," said resident Verner Thamer. "My doorbell has been broken for them, more than six months and I'm still waiting for my ceiling to be painted where a leaky air conditioner dripped through my ceiling and into my apartment." apartment. According to documents from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds, Gonsalves owes about $740,000 to the Lowell Cooperative Bank and an- other $550,000 to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. The property is assessed at $1.3 million. The public auction, which will take place at the Richardson Road site today, is open to all. Hedison is prepared to buy the property, but if he is outbid, at least eight of the 16 affordable units could be sold at full market value. "That's eight seniors who could face losing the home they've known for nearly a decade," Hedison said. decade, "We're trying not to let that happen." happen. For now, the residents of Brianna Lyn said they're "praying" for the best. praying "It's scary to think about being forced out of your home," said Shea, who was one of the first residents to move into the affordable home, units in 2002. "My income is Social Security and a pension. Period. So I have to do the best I can to live off what I have." have. ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ Auction of Chelmsford senior housing complex cancelled By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service Jul 09, 2010 Chelmsford — The public foreclosure auction for 16 low-income senior apartment units on Richardson Road scheduled for noon on Friday, July 9 was cancelled at the last minute, according to officials. The affordable housing complex at 86 Richardson Road, called Brianna Lyn, provides low income housing for residents 55 years and older. A representative from the auction house Harkins Auctioneers said the last-minute cancellation could be due to a number of instances including the property owner, Thomas Gonsalves Jr. paying the Lowell Cooperative Bank. Chelmsford Housing Authority Director David Hedison said it appears as though Gonsalves Jr. was able to temporarily ad- dress his finances with the bank. Attorney David Plunkett of the Lowell Plunkett and Plunkett law firm, who represented the Lowell Cooperative Bank, said he couldn’t elaborate on the cancellation. “It was just outright cancelled,” he said. “That’s all we can say is that it was cancelled outright.” cancelled, outright. Community Development Director Evan Belansky said he had no further knowledge about the cancellation and the bank has no legal obligation to notify the town. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 30. Meals tax appears to be giving early boost By Rita Savard, 07/15/2010 As cities and towns prepare for another 4 percent drop in local aid, the option of an added tax on restaurant meals could gain momentum throughout Greater Lowell. While the city of Lowell implemented a 0.75 percent meals tax this month -- which raises the tax from 6.25 to 7 percent -- Chelmsford, Bedford and Tyngsboro adopted the tax last October to help fill budget gaps. And in all three towns, the rev- enue generated from the local-options meal tax is greater than the Department of Revenue projected. Chelmsford, which was expected to bring in about $137,000 from the additional meals tax has brought in more than $225,000 in less than a year. "We would have been much worse off if we didn't have it," said Town Manager it, Paul Cohen. "We would have been looking at a deficit of a few hundred thou - sand dollars, which would have come out in personnel." personnel. In Tyngsboro, where the added tax was expected to raise about $81,000 through June 30, the most recent DOR reports released last month show earnings of about $118,000. "Of course we didn't want the tax, but it's here," said Mary Beth Shanahan, owner here, of the Dream Diner in Tyngsboro. "It would be better not to have it but I don't feel that we've lost customers as a result of it."it. Legislation for the local-options taxes, which allow individual communities to raise taxes on Paul Cohen: ... Avoid deficit restaurant meals and hotel rooms, was introduced last year to offset state aid cuts. Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, projects more communities will start implementing the tax after seeing how it has affected their neighbors. Raising those taxes, he added, will work in some communities but not all. For example, Lunenburg officials were anticipating about $60,000 in annual revenue from the local-options meals tax, but haven't raised half that amount at the mid-year point. DOR spokesman Bob Bliss said the state's initial estimates were conservative at best and based on a community's popula- tion and number of establishments. Before the legislation, restaurants were already filing an annual meals tax. Now they re- port sales monthly, assess the 7 percent tax and send a check to the DOR. The state then returns to the community 0.75 percent. "It had never been done before," Bliss said. "We certainly didn't rule out the possibility that some commu - before, nities might do better. There are some communities that came in below. Over time, we'll get a much bet - ter sense of estimates based on the real data." data. Cohen said Chelmsford restaurants draw from a wide area, not just town residents. At Feng Shui in Chelmsford, near Inter- state 495 and Route 3, location has helped, said owner Charlie Chen. From truck drivers to corporate executives, the Chi- nese/Japanese restaurant caters to a full house daily. "We're usually busy for lunch with so many companies around us," Chen said. "Then at dinner, we still us, have people coming in from Chelmsford and everyplace else because we offer quality food and we're easy to get to." to. Although the meals tax has helped Chelmsford fill some gaps, the increase on hotel-room taxes, from 4 percent to 6 per- cent, hasn't reaped the same results. Revenues from the hotel-room tax are about $44,000 less than DOR estimates. Cohen predicts that could change when the economy turns around and business travel, which has dropped off dramatically nationwide, begins to rebound. But more needs to be done to provide relief for communities without an ample restau- rant or hotel base, Beckwith said. "Giving communities more control over health-insurance reform is really the way to provide financial relief to the largest number of communities and do it more effectively and efficiently," he said. efficiently, Chelmsford Selectman Eric Dahlberg, who voted against raising the meals tax another 0.75 percent in town, would rather see the health-insurance component come through. "Just because the tax brought in more revenue doesn't mean the restau - rants have seen better business," Dahlberg said. "I've talked to restaurant business, Eric Dahlberg: Get rid of it owners and they tell me quite clearly that it hurts. If we want to give the local economy a nice shot in the arm, I say, let's get rid of them." them.
  • 31. Chelmsford resident goes from paperboy to power-broker By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service Jul 03, 2010 Dennis Ready Chelmsford — In his 68 years, Dennis Ready has run for public office 27 times and lost twice. Of the two seats Ready lost out on: the Sinking Fund Commission and Middlesex County Commissioner, neither exist. For the past seven decades Ready, has been a familiar name around town. A life-long resident of Chelmsford, Ready can offer some perspec- tive on the town’s history and politics. Q: What was it like growing up in Chelmsford in the ‘50s? A: I grew up on Turnpike Road – the first house on Turnpike Road. Probably the first interesting thing I did was I became a paperboy for the news weekly when I was about 12 or 13 years old. My route was all along Westford Street and Chelmsford Street and Billerica Road. Back in those days there were no cars on the road during the day... So I decided to expand my newspaper selling and I went to Merrimack News in Lowell. All the churches in Lowell had newspaper boys selling out front. St Mary’s didn’t and I was an altar boy there. So I went down to Merrimack News and got copies of the Globe, the Herald, the New York Times, The Post, the News Weekly. So I kept going back and finally they gave me a newspaper route. One of the places on my route was the Rainbow Spa and every afternoon the Selectmen were in there drinking. I’d go in there and they’d call me over and buy one of my papers. So, for years I was like a fly on the wall and I knew everything that was going on in town. Q: How else was Chelmsford different back then from what it is today? A: On any given day I’d milk a cow, slaughter a chicken, castrate pigs or cut gladiolas. Now I realized there are probably a lot of kids in Chelmsford who have never seen a chicken or a cow. One of the differences I think about growing up in Chelmsford now and then is that now kids don’t talk to adults as much. Besides being a farming community it was a very Republican community. I wore an Adalai Stevenson (a Democratic politician) button for two weeks before anyone knew who he was. Then when they found out, they beat me up. Q: How and when did you become interested in politics? A: Well I was at the Rainbow and listening to the selectmen and two people really got me interested….Eddie Cresniski and Mary Lang... One year Eddie Cresniski and Mary Lang said, ‘You’re so interested in town politics, why don’t you run for something?’ So they said ‘Sinking fund commission.’ It was basically insurance money that the town used. At that time there were three sinking fund commissioners and all they would do was decide which bank to put the money in... After we investigated it, we decided we didn’t need it. I was 21 at the time. I opened the News Weekly and I was on the front page and I was running against Eustis Fisk. He’d been unopposed for longer than I’d been alive.... He didn’t come to any candidate’s night because I’m a 21-year-old kid and he was a town icon. At that time they had you speak in the exact order you were on the ballot. So I’m the last one and I get up and introduce myself and then they open it up to the questions. All the questions were directed at me. At that time there were 11 precincts. He won six and I won five. He beat me by 77 votes. So everyone in town was thinking, ‘Wow! That Ready kid.’ Then I went on and managed campaigns. Then I started taking on challenges. Like Bonnie Towle, she was a woman, single, lived at home and never went through the Chelmsford school system. She got elected as the first woman selectman. When I ran out of can- didates, I ran myself. Before I was a selectman, I was on the Sewer Commission. I basically started the whole sewer project. Then, I got Jack Emerson to run... When you start something like a committee or a commission, it’s like having a child because they are al- ways yours. Q: What advice would you give to the current Board of Selectmen? A: I’d have them calling up selectmen of the past and seeking their advice. You’ve got to do your homework. You’ve got to do what’s right. I had attended every meeting for five years before I ran. So I understood the process even simple things like vice chairman al- ways makes the motion. You also should speak in a special order…the vice chair, clerk, seat four and seat five. Regarding things like a public hearing, have a training session on how to run a public hearing. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 32. Chelmsford drowning victim recalled as a 'pure soul' By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer GateHouse News Service Jul 15, 2010 Chelmsford — Tuesday afternoon, Judy Silinsh was faced with a grim task: Cleaning out her late son David’s Boston Road apartment The body of David Silinish, 44, was found floating in Freeman Lake July 7, the result of what police are calling an accidental drowning. His mother believes he left his apartment for a swim sometime Tuesday night, unable to sleep because of the extreme heat and a broken air conditioner. “At his funeral [Monday] many people talked to us about him and the effect he had on their lives many people who were doctors and engineers were amazed by his strength and his perseverance,” said Judy, sitting in her son’s muggy apartment Tues- perseverance, day afternoon. Silinsh was a familiar figure to people in Chelmsford: A tall, bearded man he was often seen walking all over town. “He was my mountain man,” said Judy, smiling. “He loved that name. I man, would say ‘David you look like a mountain man’ and he would laugh.” laugh. Silinsh, who suffered Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, often lived in his own world, talking and gesturing as he walked. While he might have stood out to the av- erage person, he was, his mother said, a lovable, friendly man with a startling intel- lect. “I think a lot of people, when they see him, don’t realize what a won - derful and kind soul he was,” his mother said. “He was just a pure soul. I was, think people when they see a strange person and they think ‘oh he’s strange’ they should think twice because they don’t know.” know. The most important thing in David’s life, according to his mother, was his church. David was a devout member of the Boston Church of Christ. He would often turn to other parishioners for solace and he found love and acceptance from the parish, his mother said. David Silinsh with his mom, Judy. Courtesy photo A practicing Christian, David would devote hours to studying the Bible. He even memorized the book of Ezekiel, which his mother noted is no small task. In addition to David’s Asperger’s, he suffered from severe depression, other mental health issues and scoliosis, which often inhibited his ability to exhibit his extreme intellect and brilliance his mother said. David worked two or three days a week in the maintenance department at Hanscom Air Force Base. He found the position through the Renais- sance Club, a human service program that services adults with mental illnesses in Greater Lowell, and through NISH, a nonprofit federal agency that creates employment for adults with mental disabilities. “He was a brilliant man, but he was unable to use his intellect to do what he wanted,” said his mother, pointing out the towers of wanted, Economist, National Geographic and Science and Technology magazines on David’s coffee table. “He was washing toilets and he should’ve been designing [rockets].” [rockets]. Elaine Walker, director of the Renaissance Club, said David was grateful for the opportunity for employment at Hanscom. “He was very reliable,” said Walker. “He did a good job there. They were very happy with him.” reliable, him. Walker described David as a quiet man, but very friendly. She said many of David’s friends at the club are shocked and dismayed by his death. Determined to overcome his disabilities, David was constantly researching on his computer for a cure for what he called his “physical and mental disabilities.” Judith said her son loved science and mathematics. disabilities. A family man, David adored his sister Lara’s young children Shea, 8 and Sean, 6. David looked at their smiling faces everyday on a calendar he had with their pictures in it hanging in his kitchen. David is also survived by a brother, Eric, who lives in New York. Judy said her son longed to get married and have a family of his own one day. “He just loved children,” she said. “His church friends told me at the funeral that whenever someone would bring a baby in children, he wouldn’t ask to hold it he would just tickle its feet or smile at it and wave at it.” it. Despite David living in his own apartment, Judith and her husband Andy remained very close to their son, who would often come over and mow their lawn or have dinner with them a couple times a week. Judy remembers the last time she saw David was Chelmsford’s annual Fourth of July parade, when she saw him run up to Andy and give him one of his famous big David hugs. Judith said the medical examiner’s office has not made a final ruling on David’s cause of death but she believes it was an accidental drowning and said he was found wearing in his bathing suit. Police said they are still investigating the case and waiting for a ruling from the medical examiner’s office. As a Christian herself and parishioner of Trinity Lutheran Church, Judith finds comfort in believing that her son is now healed and is no longer suf- fering the emotional pain and loneliness he felt most of his life. “We believe he’s cured now and that gives me hope because he’s suffered a lot,” she said. lot, Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 33. POLITICAL  JUNKIES  with Tom Christiano SAM MEAS Republican Congressional candidate CLICK HERE  Sam Meas was recently interviewed for Show on the Political Junkies Show. He discussed his political and employ- ment background, and his coura- geous life history, i.e., coming to the United States as an orphan in 1984, from Cambodia, and moving to New England on his own as a young man. A few of the many is- sues which were covered on the show are: how best to stimulate the economy...oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico...alternative energy care reform...the war in Afghanistan...gays in the military... gay marriage...and federal aid to the U.S. auto industry last year. ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ STEVE GROSSMAN Democratic State Treasurer candi- date Steve Grossman was recently CLICK HERE  interviewed on the Political Junkies for Show Show. He discussed his political and employment background, the responsibilities of our State Treas- urer and what he plans to do to make the State more financially responsible. A few of the many is- sues which were covered on the show are: the State Income and Sales Tax insurance reform...casinos...and pension reform.
  • 34. Chelmsford resident explains the final frontier with his writing By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service Jul 12, 2010 Chelmsford — Growing up in rural central California, Kelly Beatty developed a deep appreciation Kelly Beatty for the clear open night sky. Coming of age in a time the Cold War put the race to reach the moon at center stage, Beatty’s fascination with the sky above him grew and by the age of 10 he had his first telescope. Beatty followed his passion and landed himself an editorial job at the Cambridge-based Sky and Telescope Magazine in the 1970s. Decades later, Beatty is freelancing for the magazine and has a garage at his South Chelmsford home filled with telescopes in all shapes and sizes. When he’s not writing about the stars, Beatty is teaching about them at the Dexter and Southfield schools in Brookline and volunteering at Chelmsford Telemedia, where he serves as president. Q: How did you first get into astronomy? A: I was raised in rural central California, at a time before light pollution robbed us of so much of the night sky’s beauty. I’ve always loved the night sky and I suppose I simply went where my heart told me to go. I really wanted to be a profes- sional astronomer, but in time I found a better fit doing what we now call ‘outreach.’ I might not be doing the research and making the discoveries, but I love explaining how others do it. Q: What do you think makes people so fascinated with things so far away? A: Three reasons come to mind. First, at some level we all want to know the ‘meaning of it all,’ and we look to as- tronomers for answers. Second, paraphrasing Star Trek, the universe really is the ‘final frontier.’ With instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers are coming closer and closer to seeing how it all began. Finally, things in outer space — be it another planet or another galaxy — are often stunningly and unexpectedly beautiful. Q: When and how did you start writing for Sky and Telescope? A: In 1974, a year after graduating from college, I moved to New England to take an entry-level editorial job at the maga- zine and have been writing for it ever since. At first I hated writing because it didn’t come easily for me, but as my familiar- ity with the subject matter grew, it became easier. I tell people ‘astronomy doesn’t have to be hard,’ that you can appreciate the beauty of the night sky without trying to un- derstand it. But let’s face it, lots of astronomy is hard and most astronomers aren’t good at explaining what they do. So my role is to be the go-between, to convey all the latest discoveries in simple, everyday language that most people can grasp. Q: How do you come up with new ideas for each issue? A: You’d be surprised how many backyard stargazers there are out there. There are nearly 900 astronomy clubs in the United States alone. Like any hobby, these devotees want to know everything about everything…what’s up in the sky this month, what’s going on in the space program, what’s the buzz on the latest astronomical discoveries, which telescopes are worth buying and so forth. There’s never a shortage of material. Q: I read online, that you were one of the first western journalists to gain access to the Soviet space program in the 1980s. What was it like to go behind the Iron Curtain? A. In 1985, years before the fall of the Soviet Union, I was invited to Moscow to cover a space mission to Venus. At the time very few Russians knew the details of their space program, and a lot of those flights took place out of the public eye, It was a weird setting…I was among all the mission’s scientists when the capsule landed successfully yet I was the only American and the only reporter present. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  • 35. Extra Extras Every Thursday 2-6 pm through October 14, 2010 Learn more at Chelmsford, MA - September 26, 2010 This is the Inaugural Free to Breathe® 5K Fun Run/Walk in Chelmsford, MA. The event provides an opportunity for lung cancer advocates, survivors and the community to come to- gether to raise awareness and support to fight this disease. 100% of the net proceeds from this event will benefit the Na- tional Lung Cancer Partnership’s research, education and awareness programs. What: Free to Breathe® 5K Fun Run/Walk When: September 26, 2010 7:00 a.m. - Event day registration opens 8:30 a.m. - Run/Walk begins Where: Chelmsford High School 200 Richardson Road N. Chelmsford, MA 01863 Registration Fees/Deadlines: Online: (closes Wednesday, September 22) $20 adult / $10 child (10 & under) Mail-in: (must be received by Monday, September 20) $23 adult / $13 child (10 & under) Event day on September 26, 2010: $25 adult / $15 child (10 & under) If you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring this event, please sign-up at the event website. You can also visit to learn more, register, or donate. All donations are tax deductible.
  • 36. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia: it seemed like a good idea at the time. - Bill Cosby There is nothing like good Improv especially in the big city This one can save on pet food CLICK HERE ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ Somethin strange? Who Ya Gonna Call Click Here ✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯✯ May The Farce Be With You CLICK HERE
  • 37. In-Town Report News Links: LOWELL SUN CHELMSFORD INDEPENDENT CHELMSFORDMASSNEWS.COM Boston Herald As we head towards our 1000th subscriber If you have friends, family or neighbors who would like to be added to this news distribution list just have them drop us a line at ********************* CHRISTIANO PRODUCTIONS: POLITICAL JUNKIES SHOW: Thurs 7:30 PM Sundays 9:30 AM & Mondays 8:30 PM. POLITICALLY INCORRECT: Tues & Weds 8:30 PM; Thurs 7:00 AM; Sundays 11:00 AM Chelmsford Cable TV Channel 8 ********************* ROY EARLEY TOM CHRISTIANO Town Meeting Representative Precinct 6 Town Meeting Representative Precinct 9 In-Town Report: In-Town Report: Creator,Editor,compiler, Contributing writer,photographer, Designer,writer,photographer and In-Town distribution