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IN-TOWN REPORT JUNE 26, 2010

IN-TOWN REPORT JUNE 26, 2010

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    ITR● june 26 2010 ITR● june 26 2010 Document Transcript

    • Moores memorial cleanup draws a crowd of volunteers By Joanne Stanway chelmsford@cnc.com Chelmsford Independent 6/17/10 Saturday was a wonderful day because I got to spend a few hours with about 75 terrific people who came together to help restore the Cynthia Moores Nature Park behind West- lands’ school. I’m sure everyone walked away with similar hand blisters,dirty,wet feet and aching backs, feeling really great about what we accomplished so far. Several high school kids showed up for community service hours. The pile of leaves they and others raked from the woods was about the size of a city bus - same for the seperate pile of branches and sticks. Ken Dews of RainStay gets the gold star for the day because he hauled away all those leaves to the Jones farm mulch pile(using Phil Jones’ truck) and used his wood chipper on all the branches,staying way past everyone else to get the job done. The day started with School Committee member Kathy Duffett dropping off coffee and donuts and Selectman Eric Dahlberg raking the first pile of leaves. Steward Bob Giunta brought generators so volunteers could hook up belt sanders to remove graffiti on the gazebo. Planning Board clerk Colleen Stansfield baked ribs and a big salad before helping clear out the woods. After seeing the event on Facebook,Donna Parlee of Parlee Farm dropped off two heaping trays of fresh strawberries for the volunteers to enjoy.Others brought sand- wiches,cookies,paper goods and cold drinks to go along with the hot dogs I grilled at the end of the day. Art Moores,Cyndi’s dad,said more than $600 has been raised so far toward the restora- tion, and Cyndi’s mom, Barbara said the park looks like it did more than 20 years ago. Monday morning, School Superintendent Don Yeoman checked out the park, saying, “I’m so pleased with the progress.The underbrush is cleared,trees trimmed,raking done and graffiti removed. The park is coming back to what the vision was in the beginning.” beginning. Another clean-up will be planned to stain the gazebo,replace the roof shingles,fix all the benches and plant flowers.More on this later. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ ITR UPDATE: We have confirmation on a Eagle Scout Poject July 18 and 19 to repair benches and replace stone dust on the walk ways. The plan is to return the benches to the original locations and fix the ones that can be fixed. A few have been broken and those will be swapped with the good ones in the back. The missing ones will be replaced with granite benches than can not be dam- aged. The second phase will be adding a new layer of stone dust to the trail.
    • On June 12th 2010, The Westlands came out in force to tackle the clean up of the Cynthia Ann Moores Nature Park. Led by Chelmsford Open Space Stewardship's chief steward Phil Stanway and lead site steward Ken Dews. CLICK HERE Site Steward for Event Ken Dews VIDEO Art Moores ERIC DAHLBERG Robert Moores Barbara Dorothy Moores Skelley
    • Ben Lerer Colleen Cynthia Ann Stansfield Moores award winner Kathy Westlands Duffett School 2006 Chelmsford Open Space Chief Steward Phil Stanway Site Steward Roy Earley PHOTOS BY: Joanne Stanway, Laurie Myers, Bob Giunta and Roy Earley
    • Town of Chelmsford Celebration Committee 2010 Fourth of July Program SUNDAY July 4thd 6 PM Air Balloon’s Rear of Center Fire Station 6-8 PM Kiddies Train Rides Rear of Center Fire Station 6-10 PM Art Festival Chelmsford Center for the Arts 5-11 PM Country Fair Center Common 5:30 PM Dance Unlimited Center Common 6:30 PM Suburbanette Twirler’s Center Common 7-9 PM Chelmsford Community Band Center Common 9-11 PM Band TBD Center Common MONDAY July 5th 7-10 AM Coffee Shop Universalist Church 8-3 PM Country Fair Center Common 8:30 AM Flag Raising Center Common Flag Pole 9:30 -1PM Art Festival Chelmsford Center for the Arts 9:30 AM Annual John Carson 2 Mile Road Race 10 AM 43rd Annual Fourth of July Parade 12 PM Chelmsford Business Association Drawing Center Common No Fire Work Display
    • Former selectmen: North Road building not OK Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter www.chelmsfordmassnews.com • Mon, Jun 14, 2010 The three surviving members from the 1978 Board of Selectmen have decided the time to remain silent on Epsilon Group LLC's proposed 9 North Road office building has passed. John Carson, Paul Hart and Joe Shanahan met with current Board of Selectmen Chairman George Dixon Friday to discuss their recollections of the property's preservation restriction, which they signed with former land owner Rodger Currie, and what it means for the proposed building. "It was intended by us, Dr. Currie and the town that nothing would be there except what appears there now," said Shanahan. "We never thought anything could or would be built on that property. It's what we told the town to sell this deal. And it's been in place for 32 years now." Because the Board of Selectmen signed the preservation restriction, Shanahan believes the current board has the authority to enforce the restriction and to stop construction of the office building. The other two surviving selectmen - Arnold Lovering died in 2008 and William Murphy died a few weeks ago - agreed with Shanahan and submitted letters to Dixon to back up their claim. "We all felt at the time that preserving open space in the town - particularly near the center - was vital to retaining its character," Carson wrote. "The new owner, for reasons that are unclear to me, is attempting to violate it [restriction]. For the good of the residents of Chelmsford - both current and future generations - you must step in and enforce what I and four other selectmen agreed to in 1978." In 1978, the town sold the Emerson House property to Rodger Currie as part of his plan to redevelop what was then the Central Savings Bank. Town Meeting voted to approve the sale. But part of the purchase agreement included the preservation restriction. Shanahan said the restriction was to assure Currie's plans would adhere to the proposal presented to town boards and to Town Meeting to convince the town to rezone and sell the parcel. Currie's plans included development of what he named Central Park in addition to restoration of the Emerson House. He also proposed building a "barn-like structure and silo," which would replace the ones the town tore down, to serve as the bank's drive-up teller. "The main objective was to limit building on the property," wrote Hart. "Small buildings, such as a maintenance shed, would be allowed. No other buildings could be constructed on the property." That was what Lovering told the Planning Board at its Oct. 25, 1978 meeting, said Shanahan. "The [preservation restriction] agreement will be based on what Dr. Currie presented at Town Meeting," Lovering is quoted as saying in the meeting minutes. "There can be slight changes, but no major ones." Although the 9 North Road issue is not new, Shanahan said he waited for the current and most recent Boards of Se- lectmen to enforce the restriction. But that didn't happen. During the public hearings on the proposal, the Planning Board requested the previous selectmen to weigh in on the restriction. The selectmen did not respond. Then Attorney Peter Lawlor, who represents an abutter appealing the Planning Board's approval of Epsilon's project, sent a letter to the selectmen asking the board to hold a public hearing on the matter. He did not receive a response, said Shanahan. That's when Shanahan contacted Hart, Carson and Murphy. "Paul Hart, John Carson and I have not been in the same room together for the last 30 years," said Shanahan. "As a result of this, the three of us got together to talk about this. We said, 'Hey, we are going to take a position on this' and ask the current board to look into this." Shanahan said he does not plan to attend the next Board of Selectmen meet- ing and discuss this in open session. He would rather the selectmen schedule a public hearing on the matter to allow Epsilon Group the opportunity to argue its side. On Monday, Dixon said he does not have a problem with putting a hearing on an upcoming agenda if it will resolve the question of the preservation restric- tion. "I want all the facts to come out," said Dixon.
    • Chelmsford waits on ruling on 9 North Road injunction By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/news/x1353756376/Chelmsford-waits-on-ruling-on-9-North-Road-injunction Posted Jun 21, 2010 @ 06:29 PM Chelmsford — The Chelmsford-based Epsilon Group acknowledged Monday that it will halt work on a controversial North Road building until a judge rules on an injunction filed by a neighboring business aiming to block construc- tion. Attorneys for the Epsilon Group and met with attorneys for Michael Sargeant, who owns a dental office and property neighboring the approved office building, for a case management hearing and to discuss the injunc- tion Monday in the state Land Court. Peter Lawlor, a former selectmen and Sargeant’s attorney, filed an emergency restraining order Friday, June 18, after he said he saw the Epsilon Group excavating branches and marsh grass from the site of the planned 15,000-square foot office building. But Philip Eliopoulos, a former selectman and lawyer, who is representing his father Michael Eliopoulos’ com- pany Epsilon Group said the work that was being done on Friday is following the order of conditions given by the Conservation Commission in December. “That’s the only work in the pipeline now,” he said. Eliopoulos said that he and his father acknowledged in court Monday morning that there is no plan to do site work at this time. “We said that’s fine and we had no plan to do anything beyond what’s required by the order of conditions,” he said, adding that the Epsilon Group is at least several weeks away from pulling a building permit. Lawlor said there wasn’t a hearing date scheduled on the motion because there wasn’t a building permit pulled but he said when he saw work being done he immediately filed the restraining order. “On Friday, I learned they were going to be proceeding without a building permit to do that work and I filed that motion for a restraining order, which is a request that the court take immediate action,” said Lawlor. Epsilon Group has until Wednesday to file any opposition to Lawlor’s restraining order with the court. Epsilon is allowed to continue to do site work related to the preservation of the pond and eliminating growth around the pond near the site. He said he expects the judge’s ruling by the end of this week. But Eliopoulos said the building permit isn’t needed for the site work. Lawlor has filed three lawsuits in Land Court to stop construction of the two-story office building. Lawlor filed two appeals over the Planning Board’s approval of the site and one over the Historic District Commission’s approval. Throughout the process Lawlor and Sargeant have been arguing that the plans do not comply with the town’s preservation restriction. But both the Historic District Commission and the Planning Board found it in compli- ance. Land Court Judge Gordon Piper approved Lawlor’s motion Monday to allow the town of Chelmsford, specifi- cally the Board of Selectmen, as a defendant in the case. The Selectmen will be meeting with Town Counsel in executive session after their June 21 meeting to discuss the matter and whether they will take an active role in the case. The Board of Selectmen are the ruling party over the preservation restriction, which was offered 30 years ago. “I’m sure they are going to take a very close look at this,” said Lawlor. Town Manager Paul Cohen said that despite the town’s new status as a defendant in the case it will still be taking a passive role in defending the case. He said the major expense burden will still be on the Epsilon Group. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • In Senate bid, Dahlberg's all in By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_15283669#ixzz0qe0pdoUi 06/12/2010 CHELMSFORD -- Unseating an incumbent can be a laborious task. That's why Eric Dahlberg quit his day job to campaign full time for the 3rd Middlesex Senate District seat, which has been held by Lincoln Democrat Susan Fargo since 1996. "I don't think you should do things halfway," said Dahlberg, a Republican who lives in Chelmsford. "The district desperately needs a new voice on Beacon Hill, somebody who's trying to advance the priorities of the district, who's responsive and checked in. I want to be that person so I plan on giving 100 percent to campaigning." Dahlberg is staring down two major obstacles in the race to Beacon Hill. First, he must beat fellow Republican and Chelmsford resi- dent Sandra Martinez in a primary election this fall. He also has to make sure voters know his name in the district's eight other communities beside Chelmsford, including Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Sudbury, Waltham and Weston. "Being an incumbent is a powerful advantage anywhere, but especially in Massachusetts where the decks have been stacked against (newcomers)," Dahlberg said. In March, he left his job as an associate at the Health Connector, established in 2006 to implement the state's health-care reform law, to start knocking on doors. "I've lost 15 pounds since I've been hitting neighborhoods in the district," said Dahlberg, who began his day at 6:30 a.m. yesterday in Bedford Center, where he held his campaign sign before greeting constituents at Ken's New York Deli on Great Road. Dahlberg describes himself as a moderate Republican, who's pro-choice and supports gay marriage. He has a bachelor's in history from Dartmouth College and a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University. If elected, Dahlberg said he wants to help revitalize the state's economy and work with other members of the Legislature to hammer out a plan that would give cities and towns more control over health-insurance costs that are largely depleting municipal budgets. "We want total 100 percent plan design authority," said Dahlberg, who is in the second year of his first term on the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen. "Cities and towns should have the same privilege that the state itself enjoys when it comes to deciding health-insur- ance plans. Chelmsford alone would save hundreds of thousands of dollars with this plan, as would other communities, which is money that could be put back into the budget or given back to taxpayers in the form of property tax relief." Through plan design, unions would still be able to negotiate the share of health premiums their members must pay but it would also allow municipal officials to determine the kind of plans, including the amount of co-pays and deductibles, that would be offered. Dahlberg has also pledged to decline a state pension, limit his service to three terms, hold office hours in each district, never accept campaign contributions from special interest PAC's or lobbyists and respond to all constituent inquiries within one business day. "I don't care what party you're in, what level of government you're at, or what issues get you out of bed in the morning," Dahlberg said. "The most important part of the job is staying in touch with the boss. When you're in the Legislature, your boss is the voters and when they contact you, you have got to get back to them." New to local politics, Dahlberg beat incumbent Selectman Sam Chase in 2008 after launching a grass-roots campaign where he spent weeks going door-to-door, asking for votes. His door knocking in the 3rd District has helped in Waltham -- the largest community in the district with 35,354 registered voters -- where a Waltham city councilor switched her party affiliation to support him. Diane LeBlanc changed her voting status from Democrat to unenrolled and pledged her support for Dahlberg during a discussion with him on a Waltham local cable access TV show. "I vote for the person, not the party," she said on camera, commending Dahlberg's efforts in meeting with residents and elected offi- cials in Waltham. "Eric is the right person for the job... I am particularly impressed with his commitment to meet with the mayor and the members of the City Council at least twice a month." Fargo has taken some criticism for being "inaccessible," and having the worst roll call attendance in the Senate, according to Bob Katzen of Beacon Hill Roll Call, a news service that records voting and attendance for both the House and the Senate. Fargo missed 67 out of 185 roll calls in 2009 and 22 roll calls out of 108 so far this year, BHRC reports. Fargo, who said her absences were due to two major hip surgeries, said her health has improved greatly and shouldn't impede her future work in the Senate. She also said her firsthand experience as a patient over the past year has given her new insight on the health-care process that will have an im- pact on her future decisions about health-care policy. "There's a lot of unfinished work that needs to be done and it's good work that benefits people," Fargo said. "The major item is revitalizing the economy, economic vitality and job growth. I've already been taking actions toward those priorities." Dahlberg, if he can get past Martinez in the primary election this fall and if he's able to beat Fargo, said he wouldn't dream of holding onto the seat for another 14 years. (Martinez did not return a call for this story.) "You get in, give 100 percent and get out," he said. "It shouldn't be a lifelong career. When it becomes one, politicians can get too comfortable and stop trying hard. I think the voters are tired of that mental- ity and next year, I'll bet the Legislature looks a lot different because of it."
    • Chelmsford resident walking for lung cancer By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/features/x767630370/Chelmsford-resident-walking-for-lung-cancer Jun 11, 2010 Chelmsford — In her work as a biostatistician at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Chelmsford resident Susanne Dahlberg designs clinical trials for lung cancer therapies and oversees ongoing studies. Dahlberg’s professional life is devoted to discovering a cure for the disease, which kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Last year, she decided to volunteer her personal time to fight the disease and began working with the National Lung Cancer Partnership. On Sept. 26 Dahlberg, will hit the roads of Chelmsford with many others for the town’s first ever Free to Breathe walk. The walk, launched by the National Lung Cancer partnership, will raise money to for lung cancer research. Q: So Suzanne, I know you are a biostatistician at Harvard, what exactly does that mean? What do you do on a daily basis and how did you become interested in this? A: A long time ago, I thought I wanted to go to medical school, but I quickly discovered in college that math was a lot more fun for me, so I decided to major in it without knowing where it would lead me. Eventually, I started to think about applying to graduate school and I remember the day I learned about biostatistics. I was surfing the Internet during a computer training class at my old job, and I came across the description of biostatistics online — it sounded like an in- teresting mix of public health and statistics, a good fit for me given my previous interest in medicine. I immediately re- searched graduate programs and was lucky enough to be accepted to Harvard, where my thesis focused on the development of statistical models applied to a cancer study. In my current position at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, I work on clinical trials and laboratory studies developing new therapies for lung cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. My role as a biostatistician is to design new trials, over- see the conduct of ongoing studies, and analyze the data upon study completion, all with the hope of discovering new drugs that will improve the lives of cancer patients. I also help to review the scientific merit of new protocols for the cancer center as a whole. Every day on the job is different, filled with meetings, conference calls, and of course, com- puter work. Q: How did you become involved with organizing the Free to Breathe walk this fall? A: Free to Breathe is the national athletic event series launched by the National Lung Cancer Partnership, which is the only lung cancer advocacy organization founded by physicians and researchers work- ing with survivors and advocates to increase lung cancer awareness and research funding. I learned about this organization from their president, Dr. Joan Schiller, with whom I work at my job. I am in my second year of volunteering for the National Lung Cancer Partner- ship, but this is the first Free to Breathe event that I have organized. It is a 5k fun run and walk, taking place in Chelmsford on September 26, and people can register or donate online at www.FreeTo- Breathe.org. Q: What do you think people should know about the disease that isn’t widely know right now? A: Lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. I think this statistic says it all. A lot of people think that you have to smoke to get lung cancer, but this is not true. More people who have never smoked die from lung cancer than do people from AIDS or liver cancer or ovarian cancer. The reason why the disease is so lethal is that it is detected in the advanced stage, after it has spread to other parts of their bodies, 85 percent of the time, and research for early detec- tion is desperately needed. In 2007, the National Cancer Institute estimated that it spent only $1,415 per lung cancer death compared to $13,991 per breast cancer death, $10,945 per prostate cancer death, and $4,952 per colorectal cancer death. There are very few survivors to advocate for lung cancer, and because my family has lost relatives and friends to this disease, I want to show my support. Some people have asked me, "Why lung cancer?" as if to imply it's not cool to support this disease. And I say, "Why not?!" There's power in those numbers (that I mentioned above) and I think we have a responsibility to help find a cure. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Town Manager Paul Cohen ASK THE MANAGER ITR: What is the latest on the two Town Hall projects? PC: The Town has solicited proposals for Owner's Project Manager (OPM) for the Town Hall projects. Nine proposals were received. The applicants will be interviewed within a few weeks. A se- lection is expected by the end of July. Once the OPM is hired, the next step will be a soliciation for architectural design services. ITR: How is the new Alpha Road DPW project coming along? PC: The Town is undertaking its due diligence on the 9 Alpha Road site. This includes appraisals, inspection of the building roof, ventilation, electrical, fire alarm, concrete slab, and structural analysis. We have also undertaken an Phase 1 21E environmental assessment of the site. Once all the appraisals and inspections are completed, the Town will ne- gotiate a sale price with the property owner. Hopefully, this will be completed by the end of next month. ITR: How long before Chelmsford sees it's first Billboard? PC: Planning Board approval is required prior to the placement of billboards near the high school and near Route 40. The applicant has not filed an application for a spcial permit with the Planning Board as of this time. It may be close to the end of this calendar year before a bill- board is operational. ITR: There has been talk about the building next to the Library (known as "The Pink House" before it turned yellow) being torn down? Any truth to that story? What would be the plans for that site, if any? PC: Initial discussions have taken place at Permanent Building Committee and Community Preservation Committee meetings regarding the future of the Dutton House. The house was part of a land parcel that was acquired over a decade ago for the expansion of the Adams Library. The other house that was located on the property at the time was moved to Ann's Way. However, there was no one interested in acquiring the Dutton House for $1 to relocate it to another property. Over the past decade the condition of the Dutton House has deteriorated. Rather than continuing to quietly ignore the condition of the dwelling, it makes sense to see if the home can be preserved. Unfortunately, the Permanent Building Committee estimates that the cost to renovate the house into a public use is well over a half million dollars. There has never been nor is there any identified municipal use of the property aside from the storage of books for the Friends of Library's annual book sale. The Adams Library needs the additional open space and park- ing that would become available if the Dutton House were relocated. This was the original intention when the Town acquired the property. The cost to rehabilitate the house for residential use would be considerably less expensive than for a public use. No one wants to see the Dutton House razed. The intent is to save the house before demolition becomes the only alternative. The location would not be suitable for affordable housing, veterans housing, a private business, or another use because the parking and other space required to support such a use would prevent the use of the much needed space for the library's operations. Dutton House 1896
    • Chelmsford teachers protest lack of contract By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer GateHouse News Service http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/features/x1133084038/Chelmsford-teachers-protest-lack-of-contract Jun 09, 2010 Chelmsford — More than 170 Chelmsford teachers and educational staff picketed outside the Chelmsford Public Schools Central Administration building while the School Committee met Tuesday night, protesting their lack of contract for more than a year. Kathryn Chamberlain, the president of the Chelmsford Teachers Union, said Tuesday the demonstration was meant to send a message: Teachers want to reopen negotiations after a long hiatus. “This is the last School Committee meeting before the end of the school year and we would really like to have a contract by the beginning of the next school year,” said Chamberlain. Chamberlain said the union suggested dates to the School Committee that were not suitable for com- mittee members and the union is waiting to hear back on a date to reopen negotiations over the sum- mer. “It is the desire of the School Committee to continue the negotiation process in good faith,” said Com- mittee Chairwoman Kathy Duffett. According to Duffett, the two sides are working on getting together on dates to restart the talks. Union members said they hoped the protest also built awareness among residents as well. “This is by far the longest we’ve gone without a contract in the 12 years I’ve been a teacher in the public schools,” said Steve McClure, a union member and teacher at the Parker Middle School.’ According to McClure, teachers planned the demonstration for more than a month. Teachers were spread out over the lawn of the Central Administration Building on North Road in groups holding signs and wearing Chelmsford Teacher Union buttons. Shawn Flood, a field member from the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, or AFT, a state union, was amongst the crowd of teachers Tuesday night. Flood said the AFT, which represents the Chelmsford Teachers Union, became aware the negotiation process was stalling and was urged to step in and help. “Let’s get the ball rolling,” he said. “The negoti- ation teams haven’t been at the bargaining table for a long time. We’re not trying to ruffle their feathers now. We’re not sure if they’ve lost sight of that so we’re just trying to remind them of that.” Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Staffing changes in Chelmsford Public Schools By Chloe Gotsis/ Staff Writer GateHouse News Service http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/features/x1133084038/Chelmsford-teachers-protest-lack-of-contract Jun 16, 2010 Chelmsford — Chelmsford school officials are seeking to add three full-time positions to the district’s elementary schools without an impact on the budget. The staffing move would bring back two elementary guidance counselors eliminated last year when the district made sharp staffing cuts; and add an early childhood teacher at the Harrington School. According to School Superintendent Dr. Don Yeoman, the department can add the positions at no cost through attrition and by combining and restructuring other positions. “We’re changing titles, we’re moving people from building to building and we’re renaming jobs,” he said. “The state told us to make all these cuts last year and some things worked out but this has not worked out and we’ve got to fix it. So we figured out a way to do it.” In August 2009, the town cut $397,000 worth of personnel from the fiscal 2010 budget at a special Town Meeting, a move forced by mid-year state aid cuts. Administrators discussed the staffing changes at the June 8 School Committee meeting. Yeoman and Frank Tiano, assistant superintendent for personnel, told committee members the move would lessen the burden on the two guid- ance counselors currently handling 2,000 elementary students. “All the little support groups they used to run for a child in need are not happening as often or at all,” said Yeoman. “We have children that have lost their parents, their siblings, children that are going through severe depression or bat- tling diseases, children whose siblings may be drug addicts or deployed. It impacts not only their behavior and the school but their learning now and for the future.” According to Yeoman, hiring new guidance counselors will help the district comply with new state bullying legislation. In Yeoman’s mind, however, the most important benefit will be helping young children cope with problems. The early childhood teacher at the Harrington School will assist with the additional special education children coming into the district next year, Yeoman said. The additional staff will give the district four elementary school guidance counselors, the number it had prior to the 2009-2010 school year. While no formal School Committee vote was taken on the measure, School Committee member Nick DiSilvio said the school department should be cautious about filling any positions in anticipation of the 2012 budget. Town and school officials are forecasting harsh cuts in 2012 due to the loss of federal stimulus money. “Thank goodness we are going into 2011 in OK shape,” said DiSilvio. “But we need to be aware going into 2012 that’s going to change. If personnel are retiring we have to think carefully about replacing them. There’s just not going to be anymore funds.” Committee members said they want to continue to discuss whether to fill the position for the executive director of in- formation and technology. Bruce Forster, the current executive director of information and technology, is retirin. Tiano said the school department has received 26 interested candidates for the position, which it advertised at a salary $5,000 to $15,000 less than what Forster earns. Yeoman said in a phone conversation Monday afternoon the district has not yet interviewed any of the candidates, but it will shortly. Yeoman said Forster is responsible for planning all long- and short-term technology improvements. In part of the district’s effort to streamline, Carol Fredette, the director of special education for the school district, will be moving to the Central Administration Office building and taking on the additional title of director of student services. As part of her new job description, Fredette will be responsible for management of homeless children attending the school district, said Tiano. Yeoman said many administrators and employees in the central administration office will be taking on additional job responsibilities. This move is on top of the $236,000 worth of administrative cuts made last year. “It’s like a Rubik’s cube on 12 levels,” said Yeoman. “It takes a lot of work to do this. We’ve been working on this plan for a year.” Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Chelmsford Arts and Technology fund distributes money to teachers By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer GateHouse News Service http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/news/x1133084006/Chelmsford-Arts-and-Technology-fund-distributes-money-to-teachers Jun 09, 2010 Chelmsford — The Chelmsford Arts and Technology Education Fund Committee recognized nine local educators this week and awarded $4,725 grants to enhance the teaching in the town’s schools. Kirk Marshall, the chairman of the committee, announced the recipients of the seven grants for the spring to at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. The nine-member committee whittled down a pool of 19 applicants and chose the recipients for an array of proj- ects including music performance recording technology for South Row students and a guided reading book room for the Byam Ele- mentary School students. “Just about every application was worthy of a grant, but we had monetary constraints and so we did our best to find projects that would reward the most amount of students in a unique way,” said Marshall. This year’s participants are eager to put their money to use. “I’m just so excited that we’ve been granted this,” said Melissa Gridley, a teacher at the Byam Elementary School, who along with her colleague Marie O’Donnell was granted $750 toward a guided reading room. “We’ve been wanting a reading room for a while. It’s just so great that Chelmsford has this [fund].” Kristen Babson, a fourth-grade teacher at the Byam Elementary School, said the $750 grant she received along with her colleague Terry Driscoll for non-fiction texts will allow each fourth grade classroom to have its own set of “The Last Great Race.” “I’m really excited to get this non-fiction text,” she said “It will enable our kids to be able to follow along with the text in a fun way while learning about the Iditarod Great Sled Race and learning about non-fiction texts. We’re very grateful.” The Arts and Technology committee: Established in 1996 by Town Meeting, the ATEF strives to provide “supple- Angie Taranto, Tricia Dzuris, Kirk Marshall, mental funding to support educational initiatives and projects that enhance Evelyn Thoren, Beverly Barrett and the curriculum of the Chelmsford public school district,” according to its mission statement. In the 14 years since the fund was established the com- Colleen Stansfield. mittee has awarded more than 72 grants totaling more than $50,000. In an effort to build an endowment, the committee does not give away all it has collected each year. Of the nine members on the committee, School Committee members Evelyn Thoren and Angie Taranto, School Superintendent Dr Don Yeoman, Tricia Dzuris, Glenn Doheerty, Beverly Barrett George Ripson and Colleen Stansfield, Thoren and Ripsom were found- ing members. Chelmsford residents, business and corporations and those outside the community choose to donate each year. Residents also have the option of donating through an insert included in their real estate and excise tax bills. The fund’s bylaw states that grant money can not support any part of the school’s budget. Over the years the grant money has supported events, equipment or programs for the school system. Applicants must be a school council or a teaching staff member in the school district as a one-time expenditure. The School Committee as a whole may also apply but through the superintendent. According to the town’s website, each year, the school technology director electronically mails an application to each teacher in the school system. The money awarded must be spent by the end of the academic year, ac- cording to the ATEF website. Sixty days after the grant is used, the recipi- ent must present a written report to the committee. Other recipients for the spring 2010 grants include: · Brenna Maguire and Lisa Thomas-Boyle who will receive $500 for using non-fiction text for proficient literacy at the Byam. · Carol Bruell who will receive $750 for digital microscopy at Chelmsford High School. · Eric Linsner will receive $750 for band, digital recording technology for the Parker Middle School. · Jennifer Salmon will receive $650 for a multimedia projector for Parker Middle School students. From Left to Right: · Allison LaCasse will receive $575 for music performance recording tech- Lisa Thomas Boyle, Kristen Babson a nology for South Row children. nd Terry Driscoll, Melissa Gridley and The ATEF committee will be holding a “Wheel of Fortune” booth at this Marie O'Donnell, Eric Linsner, Carol Bruell, year’s July 4th celebration. Jennifer Salmon and Allison Lacasse Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Ye o m a n l o c k e d i n with 4 years By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_15356977?IADID 06/23/2010 CHELMSFORD -- Superintendent of Schools Donald Yeoman locked in a four-year contract last night with Chelmsford public schools, despite facing some opposition from two members of the School Committee. In a 3-2 vote, the committee approved the new contract that provides no salary increase for the upcoming year, and will be reviewed after each year until 2014, to discuss the prospect of any future pay raise. Yeoman, among the highest-paid superintendents in the Merrimack Valley currently earns $169,538. Additional changes include a $50,000 increase in Yeoman's life-insurance policy, bringing the new total to $100,000, and now includes a disability policy that mirrors what non-union employees are entitled to under their contracts. Kathy Duffett, Angelo Taranto and Evelyn Thoren approved the new contract, with members Nick DiSilvio and Janet Askenburg opposing. Askenburg and DiSilvio both agreed it would be better to extend Yeoman's cur- rent contract for one year, and then discuss a new three-year contract if the su- perintendent could meet his goals and objectives as outlined by the committee. "I am disappointed with only the length of the contract," Askenburg said. "The su- perintendent has got great leadership skills. But also as a leader, I'd like to see him embrace accountability." Looking over Yeoman's goals for the school district, Taranto said some of them would take longer, including a five-year plan for all the town's schools. Taking everything else into account, Taranto said Yeoman has helped improve teacher and staff morale, increased professional development opportunities and helped bring up MCAS scores during the district's toughest budget years. "That's what I'm looking at in my superintendent," he said. "I can't disregard all of those great things that have taken place in our school system and it's because of him." Thoren said it was not a lucrative contract, adding that it was extremely easy not having to deal with the annuities, including a car, that the committee had to tackle with Yeoman's predecessor, Richard Moser. Chairwoman Duffett said she believes Yeoman will meet his long-range goals and also applauded him for helping to maintain educational excellence in the town's public schools during challenging economic times. Yeoman, she added, approached the school district a year ago and said he would not take a salary increase while some employees were losing their jobs due to budget cuts. It's been three years since Yeoman, who was hired in 2007, had a raise, Duffett said. In other business last night, the School Committee approved staffing changes for the new school year that will in- clude hiring two guidance counselors at the elementary school level, in a 4-1 vote, with DiSilvio opposing. As the financial outlook for the district remains uncertain, DiSilvio cautioned against hiring staff that they could not afford. Askenburg also questioned hiring counselors over teachers, but Yeoman said it was necessary to give teachers an avenue to get students the help they need. If a student is having problems at home, a guidance counselor is specially trained to help a student with emotional and behavioral issues, while a teacher is instructing kids and managing a classroom of about 25, Yeoman said. Thoren added that the district's guidance counselors were dealing with 1,000 students each, possibly causing some cases to fall through the cracks. When asked what would happen if the school district was forced to cut jobs next year, Yeoman said the district would have to look at the 14.5 teaching positions that were spared previously through one-time federal stimulus money.
    • Mothers' plea to Chelmsford school board: Act now to stop bullying By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_15365751 06/24/2010 "No child should be afraid of going to school." - Nick DiSilvio, Chelmsford School Committee CHELMSFORD -- Their kids were losing sleep, becoming sick and withdrawn, all because they were afraid of being tormented at school. Three mothers, delivering emotional accounts of their children's struggles to avoid harassment at the Byam Elementary School, pleaded with officials Tues- Nick DiSilvio day night for a plan to deal with bullies. "I expressed my concern time and time again, with the principal and the superintendent," said Michele Manzelli, who told School Commit- superintendent, tee members her 10-year-old son was bullied throughout the past year at Byam. "In most instances, I received no reply at all, and the Byam School was not prepared with a safety plan."plan Under a new state law, all schools must develop procedures for dealing with bullies by the end of December. But parents and some school officials are concerned that the state's deadline might be too long to wait. Michele Manzelli "There's no reason why we can't establish some basic procedures that ensure the safety of our kids before the start of the new school year," said year, School Committee member Nick DiSilvio, who disclosed that he had dealt with his own son being bullied at one of the town's schools. "No child should be afraid of going to school. " By the last day of school on June 17, Manzelli said her issue had not been re- solved. Parents Alison Ludwig and Elaine MacDonald also talked about the pain their children endured at the hands of bullies, and that this fall, their kids' tormentors will most likely move on to new victims at other town schools. "That is what makes me the most angry," said Mac- angry, Donald, whose daughter had received several threatening notes from another girl at Byam. "If someone is serial- bullying year after year, that's obnoxious. That's what builds a climate of fear ... and there's noth - Alison Ludwig ing to stop (the bully) from doing it again." again. MacDonald also expressed her frustration that the school's aides were often spotted by children texting or talking on their cell phones during recess -- when physical bullying often takes place -- instead of watching the students. Elaine MacDonald An angry DiSilvio told colleagues that there is no excuse for not replying to a concerned parent's phone call or e-mail within 48 hours, and felt the school district shouldn't have to wait for a policy to establish timely correspondence. "A parent wants someone to know their child is suffering and they want to know
    • that something is being done about it," DiSilvio said. "They deserve a response it, call or e-mail to assure them that their concern is being heard and the com - plaint is being investigated. That call should happen within 24 to 48 hours." hours. After the mother's request, the School Committee gave an update about its ongoing efforts to meet the state mandate by December. Before a strategy is created, Superintendent of Schools Donald Yeoman said, the school district has to wait for the state to submit its set of regulations under the new law, which isn't due until Sept. 30. Committee member Janet Askenburg recommended training administrators and staff on how to respond to bullying cases before September. Yeoman said it would be premature to train the entire school district without the regula- tions in place. However, Yeoman said some training for administrators could take place be- fore the new school year. Janet Askenburg Askenburg did request a public input session to help school officials better address parents' questions and concerns, and other members agreed. "It's important for us to hear what parents have to say," Chair- say, woman Kathy Duffett said. "We're in it together." together. Manzelli, who gave school officials a copy of a letter her son wrote, said all she wants is some assurance that something will be done. She said the physical and emotional abuse her son endured has cost the family several thousand dollars for tutoring to make up for days he spent out of school, Kathy Duffett and has also made him more guarded, anxious and withdrawn. Some of her son's friends, Manzelli added, stopped hanging around with him because they were afraid the bully would retaliate against them. "He name-called and harassed me everyday," wrote the boy in his letter. "Fistfights everyday, were happening during recess time ... I was intentionally hit in the face with a speeding kickball. I know it was on purpose because he had made eye contact with me prior to the kick. After that I went to the doctor and he told me I had a level-one concussion." concussion Yeoman said principals spend a large portion of their days investigating "all kinds of accusations." accusations. "Sometimes these investigations take time because there are a lot of people involved in questioning and verifying informa - tion," he said. "Once we decide on the facts, sometimes those in - tion, volved don't like our conclusion or they disagree with us. That's pretty common, but our investigations are based on Donald Yeoman facts from both sides." sides While DiSilvio understands that some time is required to sort through the facts, it shouldn't take three months to respond to a parent or get children the help they need to feel safe at school. "What's going to be the excuse if a child gets physically hurt?" DiSilvio asked. hurt? "What is the district going to say -- I'm sorry I never got back to you? That's un - acceptable and we owe our kids more than that." that.
    • Chelmsford teachers, school officials set contract talks By Chloe Gotsis/staff writer GateHouse News Service http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/features/x1740776797/Chelmsford-teachers-school-officials-set-contract-talks Jun 24, 2010 Chelmsford — On July 20, Chelmsford teachers are scheduled to sit down with administration officials and talk contract. In early June, 170 teachers and educational staff protested the lack of contract on the lawn of the Chelmsford Public School Central Administration building while the School Committee met inside. Primary among their concerns: Stagnating salaries. According to figures from the state Department of Education’s website, the salaries that teachers receive at higher steps has fallen in recent years in comparison with other districts. Teachers with a master’s degree at step 10 are making $63,787, while those in Westford are making $63,937 and $68,107 in Tewksbury. “It’s a big problem,” said Chelmsford Teacher’s Union President Kathryn Chamberlain. “What problem, people are missing is that in good times we still have not made cost of living in - creases and this has been over a many year period and my question is how long can we continue to have pay increases that are less than the cost of living?” living? Chamberlain said the union understands the town’s financial trouble and is sympathetic to those difficulties, but there are limits. “Up until now many of the town’s financial emergencies have been met by what they’ve done in the past which is increasing wages at less than the cost of living,” living, she said. School Superintendent Dr Don Yeoman said that he is aware of the shift in the salary step scale, putting Chelmsford teachers lower than some other districts. But Yeoman pointed out the salaries didn’t decrease. Rather, they have not increased as much as some other towns. Yeoman said with the state of the economy he isn’t sure how the salaries will go up in comparison to other towns. “They would have to get a larger percentage increase then all the other towns and of course in this economy I haven’t seen too many going up much at all,” he said. all, “There’s probably not someone going from step six on the scale to a 12.” 12. Chamberlain also raised issue with the fact that teachers who have been teaching for more than 13 years no longer get step increases or cost of living increases unless an actual raise is approved “How long can you go on without a raise?” she said. “If we are compared to other raise? areas, our MCAS score show that we are doing an excellent job and our per-pupil expenditure is far below other communities like us.” us. The teacher’s stagnant salaries could also cause the town to lose out on hiring the best new teach- ers, Chamberlain said. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • "Support Our Town Coffee" Photo by: Steve Roberts Nick DeSilvio,Tom Christiano,Peggy Dunn, Kathy Duffett,George Dixon Angie Taranto Another well attended "Support Our Town Coffee" was held at Rosie's Diner in North Chelmsford recently. Members of the Chelmsford School Committee & Board of Selectmen were there, in addition to many Town Meeting Representatives & local residents. The main purpose for these get togethers is to demonstrate support for our small businesses, how- ever they have also turned into a great way to get to know -- in a more personal way -- some of our fellow Chelmsfordians.
    • @$ * Politically Incorrect with Tom Christiano The panelists on the 302nd POLITCALLY INCORRECT Show are: (l to r) Jon Kurland, Tom Fall, Tom Christiano, Joe Ready, Laura Lee & BobMorse. This show was taped on May 25, 2010. CLICK HERE  to watch the show
    • CLICK HERE for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas POLITICAL JUNKIES with Tom Christiano Guests: Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and State Rep Cory Atkins CLICK HERE for State Rep Cory Atkins
    • In Chelmsford community garden, a tribute to Westford firefighter's sacrifice By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_15316110 06/17/2010 The wail of the horn snapped Richard St. Onge to attention. It didn't matter if he was in the middle of eating dinner with family, waiting on customers at his general store or sound asleep in his bed. He shot for his heavy boots and jacket before racing out the door, never knowing exactly what he was running into until he was in the thick of it. A burning building. A child trapped in the cord of a garage door. A small plane crashed into the woods. "It was a dangerous job but he loved helping people," said Georgia Norton, who was mar- ried to the volunteer Westford firefighter. "Answering that horn was in his blood." Richard St. Onge For more than 25 years, St. Onge's parents, Jeanne and George, operated the department's dispatch call center out of their little white house on Boston Road. Walk out their front door and you'd be standing in the driveway of the fire station. It's why he chose to wear the uniform. "He grew up watching these men race off to save people," Georgia said. They'd leap on the back of a truck whizzing down a small, winding two-lane road, often getting into gear while en route. In 1970, Westford was smaller, with about 5,000 residents and a volunteer fire department. That made it all the more scary when the calls came in, said Paullette Kalliger, St. Onge's sister. "Most likely it was going to be for someone you knew, and that made my brother want to get out there even more," she said. "Whatever he could do to help anybody, he did it. It's who he was." But when the fateful blast of the horn echoed through Westford center on Dec. 5, 1970, the 29-year-old St. Onge answered his last call. On Saturday, the Chelmsford and Westford fire departments, family and friends will gather to remember the man who knew what it meant to "grow a community," by dedicating a public garden in Chelmsford in his memory. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving. The Westford Fire Department had just received its annual shipment of Christmas trees. The money raised from the holiday sale helped replace worn turnout gear, or purchase other equipment. St. Onge began his day sorting and setting up trees, then picked up his wife and 4-month-old daughter, Margo, for a visit to his parents' house. "He was so happy to be a father," Norton said. "After eight years of marriage, we had a beautiful, healthy baby girl and he was thrilled." After visiting his parents, St. Onge took his wife and daughter on some of his meat deliveries. For years, he owned the General Store in Westford Center. It was one-stop shopping for everything from gasoline and the daily newspaper to fresh meats, dairy and pro- duce. St. Onge's shop was a daily meeting place, where many would begin their day by picking up mail at the post office, then stop for some groceries and a gab session. Shortly before 4 p.m., St. Onge dropped his girls off at the house, then headed back to the station to finish sorting trees. First, he brought little Margo by a friend's house to visit a pony. By 4:30 p.m., St. Onge was back at the station when the call came in. The Chelmsford Fire Department needed mutual aid. His heart sank a little when he heard the name, Lewis Farm. Walter and Betty Lewis were more than neighbors. They were longtime friends. Norton grew up playing with the Lewis kids. She was best friends with their daughter, Nancy Lewis. "I had been on that farm more times than I can count," she said. In 1957, when two hurricanes tore through the town in 10 days and the Lewises lost power, Norton's dad brought over a tractor that Walter Lewis used to power up his milking equipment. Nancy Lewis introduced St. Onge to his future wife at a 4-H dance when they were still in high school. The couple wed about four years later, on Sept. 30, 1962. Norton was 19, St. Onge was 21. St. Onge called his wife to tell her where he was headed.
    • "Those are the moments that fill you with dread," she said. "Richard knew Walter, I knew Walter. It wasn't just a stranger whose barn was burning." When he hung up, Georgia walked out to the front porch of the couple's Boston Road home. She could see the fire on the horizon of the night sky. The two-story red barn off Robin Hill Road in Chelmsford was packed with hay and about two dozen animals. Morris Thibeault and his brother Norman were working outside, unloading a bulldozer when they saw the flames. Farmhands Leonard Dube of Nashua and Bob Wagner of Chelmsford were milking cows when the Thibeaults burst in shouting, "Let's get the cows out! The barn is on fire!" The Thibeaults and another farm worker, Bruce Taylor of Westford, led some 85 cows to the safety of a nearby field. St. Onge was one of the first men on the scene as the fire tore through two barns, a complex about 170 feet long and 90 feet wide. The 80-foot flames were visible from four miles away. Norton listened closely to scattered chatter over a scanner. Firefighters, police and Red Cross workers poured in from Chelmsford, Westford, Lowell and Billerica. Then the radio went silent. "They didn't talk at all. They knew I'd hear it at my house," Norton said. The smoke was thick. St. Onge took too much of it into his lungs and collapsed. Red Cross worker Walter Hedlund and Chelms- ford police Officer Marc Burlimacki tried to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead on the way to St. Joseph's Hospital in Lowell. Because of the firefighters' efforts, the majority of the cows and the Lewis home, which was connected to the barn, were saved. Norton was sitting with family, still hoping for a break in the eerie silence on the scanner. There was a knock on her door. Standing on her porch was a group of policemen, a firefighter, in-laws and a member of the clergy. They somberly moved into her kitchen. "How did it happen?" she asked. "It was the silence," she now says. "You just know." Dairy farmer Walter Lewis was 1,000 miles away when his barn was leveled, on his way to a Farm Bureau meeting in Texas. Lewis was devastated by the news. "Everyone knew Rich. He was very involved in the community," Kalliger said. St. Onge was a founder of the Westford Little League, chairman of the Westford Blood Bank and was active in promoting the town's Ambulance Fund. The day of his funeral was gray and cold. Hundreds came from near and far to honor him. The funeral procession drove by the firehouse. His boots and coat sat in the driveway, in front of a firetruck. A church bell tolled as St. Onge's coffin was carried to St. Catherine's Cemetery on the Company 1 engine, the same truck he drove to friends' and neighbors' houses on several occasions to put out fires or answer medical calls. Westford firefighter David Christiana never met St. Onge. But it didn't stop him from spearheading an effort to have a me- morial built in Westford that included St. Onge's name in 2002. "He represents practically every firefighter that serves today," Christiana said. "Times have changed, technology is more advanced, things are different. But the reason why most firefighters do what they do is the same. It's because they're deeply connected to their community and they want to help." A new barn was built to replace the one the fire had destroyed on Robin Hill Road. But a year after the fire, Walter Lewis officially retired from farming and started a new career as director of animal health for the state. Lewis visited Norton at her new home in Utah, right before he died at age 83. "My brother had meant a lot to him," Kalliger said. "I know he felt very bad about what happened." The Lewis family, like St. Onge, put their hearts into their community. In 2007, the Lewis grandchildren sold the family's Sunny Meadow farmland to the town of Chelmsford on the condition that it remain open space. Last year, it became a community garden. On Saturday, at 10 a.m., a new handicapped-accessible section at the farm on 168 Robin Hill will be named after St. Onge. The public is invited. Westford is much bigger today than it was in 1970, Kalliger said. So is Chelmsford. But not too big to forget the man who put his family and neighbors first. In their garden, his memory still grows.
    • Phil & Deb Jones Chief Jack Parrow Paul Eric Cohen Dahlberg Matt Tom Steve Hanson Fall Roberts Joanne Stanway Town Manager Paul Cohen Elmer Bartels Open Space Chief Steward Phil Stanway Selectman Selectman Sean Matt Hanson Scanlon Selectmen Chairman George Dixon Selectman Jon Kurland Ralph Hickey Barbara Renison-Hickey The Richard St. Onge Accessible Community Garden Dedication June 19 2010 Photos by Tom Christiano
    • ACCESSIBLE COMMUNITY GARDEN DEDICATION by Tom Christiano An accessible garden was dedicated to Firefighter Richard St. Onge at the Chelmsford Sunny Meadow Farm on June 19th. Mr. St. Onge died fighting a barn fire at this same location many years ago. Firefighters from Chelmsford & Westford stood at attention through- out the dedication ceremony in honor of his bravery. His sister, Paulette Kallagher, and many other family mem- bers also came out to the garden to pay tribute to their beloved hero, and to unveil the accessible garden sign with his name on it. All of the Chelmsford Selectmen at- tended this event, along with our Town Manager, Paul Cohen, and many Chelmsford & Westford residents. Speakers at this ceremony included: Art Hen- nessey (Boy Scoutmaster), Paul Cohen, Phil Stanway (Lead Open Space Steward), Rev. John Kivlan George Dixon (Selectmen Chairman), Jack Stephen Burkett Parow (Fire Chief), Elmer Bartels (past com- missioner of MA Rehabilitation), Ralph Hickey (Chelmsford ADA Coordinator), a Westford Selectman, and the Pastor of the North Con- gregational Church. Bagpipers played mov- Kevin ingly as we all remembered the extraordinary Zimmerman courage of FireFighter Richard St. Onge. Joanne Stanway Photos by Tom Christiano
    • Master Plan looks at easing zoning bylaws Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter www.chelmsfordmassnews.com • Thu, Jun 24, 2010 The latest draft of the Master Plan recommends bylaw changes to encourage redevelopment and to simplify the special permitting process. Chelmsford's zoning bylaws have not been modified since 1998. For the most part, they do not address issues related to redevelopment of a site, said Master Plan Committee Chairman Jim Lane. "We need to modify the zoning bylaw so it is structured to redeveloping," said redeveloping, Lane."At a minimum, revisions should include allowing for reduced setbacks and providing greater flexibility in terms of parking and landscaping requirements," requirements, reads the Recommendations section of the Master Plan draft. Planning Board members discussed the land use and zoning section of the Master Plan draft at a work session Wednesday night. The Master Plan recommends establishing a Redevelopment District along Littleton Road from Hunt to Chamberlain roads to promote mixed-use development of commercial and residential; creating mixed-use overlay zoning districts in Vinal Square, North Chelmsford's mill complexes, Chelmsford Center, Chelmsford Street from Central Square to Fletcher Street and on Technol- ogy Drive; and revising zoning bylaws to allow construction of five- or six-story buildings on Bil- lerica Road from the town line to Alpha Road. When the discussion of increasing building heights first came up, Lane said the Master Plan Committee checked with fire, police and water departments to ask if they had concerns over public safety or water pressure issues. "We wanted to make sure they did not have any problems," said Lane. problems, "The answer from all was, No." No. Planning Board member Ed Roux questioned why the increased heights would be limited to a Route 129. He suggested the entire "Golden Triangle," the area bordered by Billerica, Turnpike and Mill roads, be included. "You are trying to control it but it is so small (an area) and there are only so many parcels that could benefit," said Roux. benefit, Lane said the committee wanted to ensure zoning changes did not bring increased traffic to neighborhoods or put six-story buildings across the street from homes. "We also didn't want mid-rises all over town”, said Master Plan Committee and Planning town Board member George Zaharoolis. But it also plays into the Master Plan's goal of creating specific areas of town that are zoned to encourage redevelopment.That would be coupled with a recommendation to modify the special permitting process for redevelopment projects. Currently, if a plan fails to meet zoning require- ments in areas of landscaping, parking and setbacks, a developer can apply for a special permit for each bylaw not met. The Master Plan draft recommends changing the process so only one consolidated special per- mit would be needed. Community Development Director Evan Belanksy said all of this would help the town attract redevelopment projects. "If there is an area in town that has a reduced standard and has more flexibility with expedited permitting, we can market that," said Belansky. "We can say, 'We can that, get you what you need to get it done.'" done.
    • FRANK ly Speaking Steadman Street, residential zoning, home business? commercial business? ZBA. O’Brien sues town in land court! We’ve been down this road before. And now an update on Frank O’brien on his “compliance” business and where he is at in suing the town to get what he wants. ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Chelmsford business owner considering dropping Land Court appeal By Chloe Gotsis/Staff writer GateHouse News Service http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/news/x1609335577/Chelmsford-business-owner-considering-dropping-Land-Court-appeal Jun 25, 2010 Chelmsford — A Westlands resident, who formerly ran a medical equipment testing business out of his garage to the dismay of his neighbors, is mulling over his options before his lease on commercial space in Lowell runs out August 11. Frank O’Brien, who owns a medical equipment testing business, O’Brien Compliance Management, said he is exploring permanently renting out commercial business space in the Greater Lowell area in an e-mail Thursday to many of his neighbors. O’Brien said in the e-mail that if he is successful in this plan he anticipates notifying the state Land Court, where he filed an appeal of a January decision by the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals denying him a special permit for his home business, and dropping the case. “ “We'll be making a final decision in mid-July,” said O’Brien in the e-mail. Frank O’Brien O’Brien told his neighbors that he is planning on keeping 12 Steadman St., the former site of his business as well, as his residence. “Should I finalize a commercial space, it will no longer be my business address,” he said. “You’ll see this change on the business website.” The business owner began renting out a small commercial business space on Steadman Street in Lowell after his ap- peal for his home business was denied. But when he noticed his business taking a hit in ts first quarter earnings after moving his business he sent a letter to five of his Westlands neighbors in hopes they would support a compromise and allow him to move his business back to his garage. O’Brien also reached out to the ZBA hoping for a settlement. But he has received little movement on either. He ran his business out of his Steadman Street home without permission from the town for about a year, until signs advertising an open house caught the attention of some of his neighbors. A concerned group of neighbors brought the matter to the attention of town officials and Building Inspector Scott Hammond, who notified O’Brien he was in viola- tion of zoning bylaws last fall. O’Brien had four employees, including himself, who were working out of his garage until October. But under the town’s home occupation bylaw if a special permit is granted, O’Brien is only allowed one em- ployee, who does not live in the home. At a hearing before the ZBA in January O’Brien’s neighbors voiced their concerns about increas- ing traffic in the area from O’Brien’s equipment testing business. The board voted 4-1 to deny his appeal. Copyright 2010 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
    • Changes in Chelmsford's trash programs start July 1 The Lowell Sun http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_15150056 Starting July 1, there will be several changes in Chelmsford's trash and recycling programs. These changes are being adopted to reduce the town's trash-disposal costs and to encourage recycling and waste reduction. Since 2005, Chelmsford residents have done a great job with waste reduction, when they generated more than 16,000 tons of trash. But in the past few years, they have not broken 13,000 tons. That 3,000-ton re- duction will save the town more than $220,000 in disposal costs this year alone. Recently, however, the steady decline in Chelmsford's trash tonnage has hit a plateau. With the reviving economy, residents can expect to see trash tonnages begin to creep up again. They need to be proactive, by making sure they're keeping trash to a minimum in order to keep disposal costs down. So, what's changing in July? First, Chelmsford will have new contractors to collect trash (Allied Waste) and recyclables (IPR). This is a big change, since the town has had its current contractor for 10 years. So please be patient as the new haulers learn the town. As for Chelmsford's recycling program, the new hauler will be doing "single-stream" collection. This means that as of July 1, residents will be able to put all of their recyclables (paper, flattened cardboard, bottles and cans) out for collection together in the same recycling barrel or bin. While you may continue to sort and separate your recyclables if you like, as of July 1 it will not be required. Also, cardboard will no longer need to be bundled -- as of July 1 you will simply need to flatten boxes and cut large pieces down so they can be easily handled by the collection workers. Then, put flattened boxes under or in between the recycling containers so that it stays in place. Starting July 1, residents will be able to use barrels up to 64 gallons in capacity for their recyclables (not for trash) and as always, recycling stickers are available at the town offices to mark barrels. Recycling barrels may not weigh more than 50 pounds when full. On the trash side, starting July 1 the trash limit goes from four (4) 32-gallon containers to two (2) 32-gal- lon barrels or bags per week. Any household trash in excess of that amount will need to be in official town overflow bags, which will be available mid-June for $2 each in sleeves of five. The following Chelmsford locations are planning to carry the bags: Agway, North Chelms- ford Hardware, Hannaford, Stop & Shop and Walgreens. Residents will still be able to dispose of one burnable bulk item per week (mattresses, stuffed furniture, etc.). Residents of proper- ties on shared driveways and of multifamily properties with curb- side collection will need to mark their barrels and set them out separately from those of other households so that it will be clear that each household is within the trash limit. The Recycling Office will have barrel stickers available for residents of multifamily prop- erties who are concerned the hauler will not recognize their prop- erty as a multifamily. Detailed information on the changes will be included in the up- coming "Chelmsford Recycles" flyer that will come out in June. In the meantime, if you need additional information please contact the Recycling Office at 978-250-5203 or go to www.townofchelmsford.us/Recycling-Department.cfm.
    • EXTRA Extras Where: Chelmsford Common When: Every Thursday, July 8 - October 14, 2010 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Please consider serving on a Town Committee Click here for a current list of vacancies ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
    • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Lifeguards on duty from 10 am - 6 pm at Freeman Lake and Heart Pond beginning 6/26 - 8/29 ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Chelmsford Cultural Council Call to Artists! The Chelmsford Cultural Council is issuing a call to artists for illustrations inspired by "Chelmsford" the poem on the history of Chelmsford written by Tom Ryan. The poem was commissioned by the Cultural Council for the Town's 350th anniversary in 2005.  Click here for details and application. Deadline for entries - Friday, May 21, 2010 at 5 p.m. ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ SUMMER JAZZ AT THE CCA JOIN US FOR SUMMER JAZZ! Saturday, June 26, 7-9 pm, Veteran's Memorial Auditorium $10 at the door M O V I N G F O R WA R D a t t h e C C A The musicians of Moving Forward are masters of their art, each professionally trained with years of musical experience, they are the premier jazz quintet of the area. Their music is up- lifting with a unique voice that is ideal for any occasion. Now featuring a vocalist and a new drummer, Moving Forward is making a comeback in the Lowell and Boston music scenes. Keep your eyes and ears open for more to come from this incredible group! Band: Dayna Brown: Vocals Jared Holaday: Saxophone Dan Sakkinen: Guitar Maxxx Lewis: Bass Mike Dettorre: Drums
    • QUOTE of the WEEK: Ev'ry heart beats true 'neath the Red, White and Blue, CLICK ~ George M. Cohan ME CLICK ON PHOTO You have to train them young CLICK HERE
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