This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Top 100 rank: 28 Population: 35,300 Compare Chelmsford to Top 10 Best Places Located between the charming (but expensive) town of Concord and the faded in dustrial center of Lowell, Chelmsford offers a middle ground that appeals to many: a well-preserved historic community that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Single-fam ily homes can be had for as little as $250,000, reasonable for the greater Boston area. The schools are strong. Kronos, a 3,000-employee software and services company, is headquartered here. And Chelmsford has a newly built arts center that often hosts community events. --N.D.
QUESTION: How many cities and towns are there in the US?
ANSWER: The number of incorporated town and cities is over 30,000 but defining the actual cities and towns from their metropolitan areas has a wide margin or error. In 2002, the National League of Cities put the total at 19,429 municipal governments in the US.
'Money' honor keeps Chelmsford cheering
Ranks No. 28 in second time on nationwide top-communities survey
By Rita Savard, firstname.lastname@example.org 08/17/2011
CHELMSFORD -- If there's a lot to like about Lowell, then Chelmsford residents are over the moon as Money magazine gives the semirural suburb another nod on its prestigious list of the country's best places to live. Chelmsford ranks No. 28 out of 100 communities and is one of two in Greater Lowell to snag a place in the top 30. Acton came in at No. 16. "It's great news," said Town Manager Paul Cohen. "It shows that Chelmsford is still one of news, the most desirable places to live, not only in Massachusetts, but in the entire country. That's something to brag about." about. This year's list focused on smaller places that offer the best combination of economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a real sense of community. "Located between the charming (but expensive) town of Concord and the faded indus trial center of Lowell, Chelmsford offers a middle ground that appeals to many; a wellpreserved historic community that doesn't cost an arm and a leg," according to the leg, magazine. Single-family homes "can be had for as little as $250,000, reasonable for the Greater Boston area," the schools are strong, and a mix of old New England character, open spaces, arts, entertainment and commerce all contribute to making the community one of the best places to live, added Money. Chelmsford first appeared on the list in 2007, ranking at No. 21. Even though the town took a slight dip in the ranks this year, Cohen said appearing on the list again only spells good things for the town's future. "With the economic downturn, we've experienced a decline in home values and cuts to services just like everyone else," he said. "But we've remained strong through all of it. else, Our schools are being well run and so is the community. There's a great sense of com munity pride here in town and it shows." shows.
Other Massachusetts communities that made the list include Milton at No. 2 and Easton at No. 43.
Former political group becomes community organization
By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Aug 13, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford
Chelmsford — Choose Chelmsford was born as a force to defeat effort to recall four selectmen. With that task complete, the group is being reborn, according to co-chair Stefani Bush. Following the defeat of the Aug. 2 recall, the former political action committee has rechristened itself as a community group. Saturday evening on the Common, a Choose Chelmsford bake sale raised more than $1,300 to benefit the playground at South Row Elementary, whose PTO has been planning repairs for years. Partisan rancor was a distant memory as neighbors and strangers introduced themselves over cookies and cupcakes. Children played on the grass and climbed the monument. Choose Chelmsford also laid its famous “Vote No” campaign to rest in a candlelight vigil Saturday night, with attendees lighting each other’s wicks until everyone held a flame. “It’s a symbol of hope in the community and what we can do together,” Bush said. together, “Each person has their own light to share with one another. We can make the community bright again.” again. According to Bush, Chelmsford has seen dark days in the past year, with controversy about a new North Road building leading to an effort to oust most of the town’s executive board. But something unexpected was born from the ordeal, Bush said. The weekend before the recall election, 30 to 35 residents volunteered daily to hold signs supporting the selectmen. “That’s unheard of in a political cam paign. You never see it,” Bush said. “We it, had people who had never done any thing political in their lives. We had people who were involved in the com munity now getting involved in the politics, and then we had the political people. They were all different people from all walks of life.” life. Bush’s co-chairman Angie Taranto praised the plurality of the group in a speech Saturday. “The results [of the election] tell what Chelmsford is truly all about – people coming together to preserve what makes this town great,” Taranto great, said. In the days ahead, Bush said Choose Chelmsford plans to help expand the volunteer base for the Open Space Stewards, who maintain the town’s protected land. Future gatherings on the Common might draw people who don’t attend town board meetings, Bush said, which will help Choose Chelmsford reach more residents with its message. The group will also invite the public to an informational event September.
One thing Choose Chelmsford will no longer do, Bush emphasized, is politics. A new, separate group called the Truth Squad will combat campaigns that might harm the town by exposing the misinformation LINK to web page behind them, she said, but Choose Chelmsford will focus on developing and aiding community initiatives. Toward that end, the group plans to take down its “Vote No on Recall” page in a week, after supporters have had the opportunity to move over to its non-partisan Facebook page. Residents who voted for the recall have already declared support for the new Choose Chelmsford , Bush revealed, and they have LINK to web page been welcomed like anybody else.
Taranto conveyed his hope that the spirit and momentum of the “Vote No” Choose Chelmsford would carry over to the new incarnation of the group. Bush suggested if the right choices are made, anything is possible.
“You can choose to work together, to look past your differences and set them aside,” aside, Bush said. “We’re ready to move forward and do good.” good.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
CHOOSE CHELMSFORD Facebook Link
The TRUTH SQUAD Facebook link
Photos by Eric Sciacca
South Row PTO Playground Fundraiser/Bake Sale : Choose Chelmsford Rally/Vigil
August 6 2011
Angie Taranto Janet Askenburg Laurie Myers Stefani Bush Alex Buck
Jeff Apostolakes Mike Combs
Glenn Thoren Photos by Choose Chelmsford
Diane & Roy Earley
Susan Graves Timothy McIlvenna Tom Gilroy Janet Dubner LeighAnn Sciacca
Brad Rigby Candace Chase Sam Chase
Eric Sciacca Ralph Bush
Photos by Choose Chelmsford
Photos by Choose Chelmsford
Town halls groundbreaking ceremony held
GateHouse Media, Inc. 08/04/2011 The official groundbreaking for the renovation of both the Chelmsford Center for the Arts at Town Hall and the North Chelmsford Town Hall took place on Tuesday, August 2. Representatives from the Board of Selectmen, Community Preservation Committee, Chelmsford Center for the Arts committee, and Town Manager Paul Cohen commemorated the beginning of the renovation of the Chelmsford Center for the Arts at Town Hall at 4:00 pm and then were joined by representatives of the future community center at the North Chelmsford Town Hall at 4:30. Flanked by all the members of the Board of Selectmen, Chairman George Dixon said, "It will be great to preserve the history and many of the memories of these great buildings. I am proud to have played a small part in getting the projects to this stage. I am sure the restoration of these buildings will go a long way in helping reunite our great town." town. The Permanent Building Committee oversees the two projects, working with the architect Jennifer Hocherman of Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype; the Owner’s Project Manager, Kevin Heffernan of Vertex Construction; and General Contractor O’Connor Contractors. Pat Maloney, co-chair of the Permanent Building Committee commented, “The construction and rehabilitation of Center and North Town Halls will incorporate all new finishes and energy efficiencies throughout and will revitalize these beautiful historic structures to serve our community well into the future. We are very excited to finally be underway." underway Both projects, approved by Town Meeting, are funded by Community Preservation Act funds that may only be used for historic preservation, open space acquisition, or affordable housing. Both town halls are historic buildings owned by the Town of Chelmsford. Jim Lane has a unique position, as he is both a member of the Board of Selectmen and Chair of the Community Preservation Committee. At the ground breaking he said, "Chelmsford adopted the Community Preservation Act in 2001 and has utilized the state matched surcharge to purchase and permanently protect open space, create affordable housing and for historic preservation. Our town halls were originally built to service the community and now, thanks to CPA we are able to re store two of Chelmsford's most precious gems while creating construction jobs locally. I'd say this is a good use of Community Preservation Funds." Funds. The Chelmsford Center for the Arts in Town Hall is Chelmsford’s only public arts institution. When it reopens in 2012, it will include an Art Gallery, Artist-in-Residence studios, two performance spaces and rooms for meetings and rehearsals of arts groups, as well as classes and events both public and private. Through a separate grant from the Community Preservation Fund, theatrical lighting will be part of the renovation, making it possible for the CCA to from a theatre group. Chelmsford TeleMedia has matched the grant by funding the installation of the sound and projection systems, including a state of the art Hearing Loop assisted listening system for those with hearing aids. Town Manager Paul Cohen said, “This is a perfect example of the benefits of the Community Preservation Fund. These projects will enhance the community by providing a vibrant arts center in the Town Center and a community center in Vinal Square.” Square
Video of the beginning of the Center and North Town Hall Renovation Projects!
CCA Committee members Dacey Zouzas, Kit Harbison, Susan Julian Gates, Andy Rega, and Kathy Cryan-Hicks.
Chelmsford resident hopes to find permanent place for food pantry
By Rita Savard, email@example.com 08/01/2011 www.lowellsun.com
CHELMSFORD -- Sandy Donovan feeds thousands. For 18 years, the founder of the Chelmsford Community Exchange Food Pantry has helped keep the area's homeless and low-income families from going hungry. But last Friday, Donovan lost her longtime home in the old Chelmsford Town Hall due to a renovation plan. The food pantry has been temporarily relocated to a large trailer behind town offices at 50 Billerica Road. "I have no idea what the future will hold for the pantry, but I'm not going to worry," said Donovan, 73. worry "I've always said this is God's pantry and God will take care of it. He always has." has. Donovan hopes the pantry can find a permanent home in the town center. She said the location is convenient for many who come for food via bus or on foot. Since it opened in 1993, the pantry was in the basement of the historic North Road Town Hall. The building is under construction and will eventually serve as a community space for the arts. There are no plans to house the pantry inside the renovated building, said Town Manager Paul Cohen. "The food pantry is welcome to remain in the trailer that is located behind Town Offices," Cohen said. Offices, "Approval from the Historic District Commission would be required to relocate the trailer to the rear lot of the (old) Town Hall location." location. Donovan, who admits she is "feisty," plans to do some research on the matter. The food pantry's founder said she knows a thing or two about struggling to make ends meet. When she was a young mother of eight living in Michigan, her former husband was laid off unexpectedly. Her family income plummeted from $200 a week to $25. "I hate peanut butter and jelly today because that's what we ate every morning for a quite a while," while, Donovan said. "But we survived." survived. In the early 1990s, Donovan was taking a course on hunger and homelessness at Middlesex Community College. She became a gadfly to town officials, some of whom weren't immediately convinced that a pantry was needed in Chelmsford. She was asked how many families in town were really in need of the service. She guessed about 450 and was right on target. Nearly 20 years later, Donovan's operation has grown, servicing families in Chelmsford and beyond. She shops for groceries at local supermarkets and farms. Besides catering to special diets for the elderly and chronically ill, Donovan is known for her extras. She gives out toiletries and personal-hygiene products. She has helped pay for prescriptions and rent. Donovan has also helped pay utility bills, kept gas tanks filled and got cars repaired so some needy residents could make their paychecks. Last month, she distributed 1,413 bags of food. Regular donors, including large fundraisers through local churches, have helped the pantry aid thousands of families over the years. Donovan said she would like to continue helping families from a permanent place in Chelmsford Center. "If it wasn't for the support of this community, there's no way I could do what I do for people," people, she said.
The Lowell Sun Editorial 08/03/2011 www.lowellsun.com
The Chelmsford Community Exchange Food Pantry needs a new home and we implore town government and civic leaders to find one for this most worthy organization. Because of renovations to the Old Town Hall, the food pantry has had to relocate and won't be back. It is now serving the public out of a trailer behind the town offices at 50 Billerica Road. Town Manager Paul Cohen said the pantry can stay there for as long it wants. Pantry founder Sandy Donovan, 73, is thankful for the town's offer but feels the organization would do better if it had more visibility and accessibility. She'd like to find a permanent home in the town center, which is served by public transportation. Donovan's been running the food pantry for 18 years, and understands its value to townspeople who've fallen on hard times. There are 450 families who regularly turn to the pantry for assistance, she said. Last month, the pantry distributed 1,413 bags of food, most of it donated by local churches, organizations and individual donors. "If it wasn't for the support of this community, there is no way I could do what I do for people," said Donovan, who also shops for people on special diets and fills their bags personally. Sandy Donovan is a true Chelmsford resource and heroine. She's kept the faith for years through good and bad economic times, always saying that God will provide. It's no different now, she said. "I have no idea what the future will hold for the pantry, but I'm not going to worry. I've always said this is God's pantry and God will take care of it. He always has." has. The food pantry has been a lifesaver to so many people and it would be a shame if it can't find a place to call its own. C'mon, Chelmsford, step up to the plate for Sandy Donovan and a compassionate cause. How about a spot at 9 North Road?
☆ - ASK THE MANAGER
ITR ● Wasn't the food pantry (Sandy's Place) supposed to return after the Town Hall remodeling? Weren't they to be temporarily relocated until that time?
Town Manager Paul Cohen ● The renovation plans for the Town Hall never included space assigned to the food pantry. That area of the building has been converted into a handicapped-accessible main entrance. Since no churches or non-profit organizations offered space for the food pantry, the Town provided a 12' x 60' handicapped-accessible, air-conditioned trailer behind the Town Offices. This provides more space and is in the town center. It has only been operational for a week. Since the Town Hall renovations will take a year, there is time to evaluate how this new facility works out.
Residents demand removal of road lines
By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Aug 11, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford
Chelmsford — Opinions are divided over double yellow lines mistakenly painted on two Chelmsford roads. Some Robin Hill Road and High Street residents insist the lines be removed, arguing they discourage drivers from giving pedestrians enough space. But according to Town Manager Paul Cohen, removing the lines would be costly and ill-advised without further study, while others insist the error actually promotes safety by discouraging passing. At the selectmen’s meeting Monday night, Robin Hill Road resident Jim Pinder presented a petition to remove the lines, signed by more than 40 people in his neighborhood. Pinder said the road is used by many joggers, bicyclists and parents with baby carriages and should not be marked like a main road. “If you leave the road looking like 110, people will drive like it’s 110,” Pinder said. 110, “Pedestrians are in mortal danger.” danger. According to Pinder, town officials have acknowledged the error but refuse to fix it. “We want you to represent us and work with the town,” Pinder said. town, “Our concerns are not being addressed.” addressed. Robin Hill Road resident George Hart called the lines an invisible fence forcing cars closer to pedestrians. Although they are only painted markings, Hart suggested, drivers are conditioned not to cross those yellow strips. He added the newly painted white line at the right of the road implied a bike lane; drivers might resent cyclists who crossed into “their” their space. In 21 years living on the road, Hart said, he has seen few cars passing each other and no justification for the lines. “The solution to a non-problem has created its own,” Hart said. own, According to Selectman Jon Kurland. this is exactly why the lines should be removed. “If we acknowledge an error was made, we should correct it,” Kurland said. it, He agreed with Pinder and Hart that it is a dangerous area to have double yellow lines. The road is narrow and winding, at times dark and foggy and sees more foot traffic than almost any other, he said. “I don’t want to come back here in a month saying there’s been a fatality on Robin Hill Road or High Street that could have been avoided,” Kurland said. avoided, But Cohen said it’s not that simple. Removing the lines would require pressure-washing, which would create the need for a police detail because it cannot be done safely at night, or painting over the lines with the risk the black paint may come off. Either way, fixing the perceived problem – itself characterized as a solution gone awry – could cause yet another dilemma. Cohen said removing these markings would satisfy the people who signed Pinder’s petition, but might prompt a cascade of complaints about other roads inappropriately bestowed with lines. He suggested the real issue is not the lines but the process by which the town assigns and applies them, which bears further review before action is taken. “Rather than rushing in to throw good money after bad, we should step back and ask, ‘Overall, what’s the thing to do?’” Cohen said. do?’ Several selectmen agreed more information is needed. Selectman George Dixon said although board members have already visited the streets, they should seek input from more affected residents, while Selectman Jim Lane said they should confirm the lines were a mistake before fixing them. Selectman Pat Wojtas emphasized ensuring the error isn’t repeated. Cohen said the decision should be made shortly. In the meantime, speed limit signs are scheduled to go up on the road before school starts, and the idea of a road lines study will be explored. But some Robin Hill Road residents believe they have all the information they need. “From watching the street, walking on it, living on it – we know what we’re talking about,” about Pinder said. “It’s a danger.” danger.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
Selectmen weigh in on Robin Hill Rd.
Robin Hill Residents speak at the BOS meeting 8/8/11
Chelmsford town clerk a good fit
By Rita Savard, firstname.lastname@example.org 08/11/2011 www.lowellsun.com
CHELMSFORD -- Former Groton Town Clerk Onorina Maloney has been tapped to replace retiring Clerk Betty Delaney in Chelmsford. Maloney, who worked in Groton from 2003 to 2007, and was appointed interim clerk in Natick from 2009 to last year, will take the reins from Delaney in mid-September. "She'll be a great fit for Chelmsford," Town Manager Paul Cohen said. "She has the skills, experi Chelmsford, ence and the personality for the clerk's office, which is like the retail window into the com munity." munity. While working as the clerk in Groton, Maloney lobbied for funding to restore and preserve several volumes of the town's historic records and meeting minutes that were disintegrating from age. The Board of Selectmen approved Cohen's appointment Monday. Delaney is retiring after 39 years of service, having worked in the Town Clerk's Office since 1972. Cohen said she will be sorely missed. "If you're looking for events and information about Chelmsford in general, she's the institutional memory of the community," said Cohen. "It's really going to be a major transition with her gone." community, gone
New Chelmsford town clerk named
By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Posted Aug 08, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford
Chelmsford’s new town clerk will be former Groton Town Clerk Onorina Maloney. The Chelmsford selectmen confirmed Town Manager Paul Cohen’s appointment of Maloney at their meeting Monday, Aug. 8, agreeing on a start date somewhere between mid-September and early October. Comparing the choice to the Boston Red Sox’s choice of a new left fielder, Cohen said he is confident Maloney will be a worthy successor to departing Town Clerk Betty Delaney. Maloney served as town clerk in Groton and interim town clerk in Natick, Cohen said, and was praised by officials in both towns. Both towns are comparable to Chelmsford, Cohen added, particularly Natick, which has a similar population, number of voting places and representative Town Meeting. “Clearly the skills that she brings really will be applicable here in the town of Chelmsford, Cohen said. As a person, Maloney is also impressive and right for the job, Cohen said. “As an individual she is motivated and self-driven, an appropriate personality for the clerk’s office, which is the retail window into the community,” Cohen said. “It’s the first stop in the building for many people and community, there’s a lot of personal exchange.” exchange. Cohen, Human Resources Director Jeanne Parziale and Public Works Director Jim Pearson unanimously decided to recommend Maloney after considering a pool of qualified applicants, Cohen said, including two Chelmsford candidates with no experience in a clerk’s office and four applicants with the experience, but from outside Chelmsford. Selectman Jim Lane remarked Maloney is arriving in Chelmsford along with electronic voting; Maloney said she is excited to help implement the practice. Selectman Pat Wojtas wondered if Maloney would improve the image of the clerk’s office, considering her background in image consulting. Maloney lightly replied the office’s image is good, part of what drew her to the position. Selectman George Dixon had only one question for Maloney. “Are you a left fielder?” he asked. fielder? Maloney assured the board she will be committed to her job. “I’m returning to my passion to be a town clerk and a public servant,” she said. servant She added, “I look forward to serving and adding value to the town. It’s an absolute privi lege to be here.” here. Maloney also thanked her soon-to-be predecessor for setting the bar high. “I wish Betty Delaney a wonderful retirement, and thank her and her team for operating with the utmost integrity,” Maloney said. integrity, Delaney came before the selectmen Monday night to thank her staff and town officials, past and present, for their support during her 9 years as town clerk and 30 years in the clerk’s office.
The Town Manager introduces Ororina Maloney to the Selectmen and to the town.
“They make the process happen,” Delaney said. “They’re all part of a great team effort, and it’s been a pleasure happen, to be a small part of that.” that.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
In-Town Report: What is the latest update you can give folks on the outsourcing of custodians? FRANK TIANO: As you are aware, Aramark was hired to provide our custodial services. They began July 1st which is late to start the work that schools need over the summer. The month of July was spent hiring by the company while at the same time employing folks from other Aramark districts and outside contractors to keep the schools moving. As of this week, classrooms are completed in the elementary schools and high school and look great. For the remaining few weeks before school, their focus will be on the common areas and outside of the schools. All schools will be ready to open. ITR: It's been almost a year since you took over the reigns of the school system. How does it feel?
FT: Feels great! I love what I am doing and am grateful to be doing it here in Chelmsford. I spent a lot of time last year really reaching out to people within and outside of the district. Obviously, I didn’t get the opportunity to meet everyone, but am looking forward to engaging more people next year.
ITR: What was the worst part of your job in the last year and what was the best part? FT: Worst part of the job was the initial budget forecasts and going through the exercise of how to potentially reduce staff and programming while maintaining the instructional integrity that our students deserve. There were many best parts last year, however, what I really enjoyed were the interviews that I conducted as part of my Entry Plan. I had 39 interviews with over a few hundred people (one group was the entire South Row 3rd grade). I thoroughly enjoyed listening to people from students to teachers to business owners to seniors regarding their thoughts about the school system. The anecdotal answers helped me learn far more than I ever could conducting online surveys.
ITR: What are your plans for the upcoming year and what can we look forward to in the 2011-2012 school season?
FT: Working with the district and community regarding a 5-year strategic plan. I presented my outline to the School Committee last spring, and we are ready to roll with it. I look forward to be able to share our direction with the district and the community at large.
In-Town Report: What do you think were some of the accomplishments made by the School Committee in the last year? Janet Askenburg: Our biggest accomplishment was the hiring of Frank Tiano as Superintendent. Not only is he an excellent educator and administrator, but he has enthusiastically embraced the need for a Strategic Plan for our school system. This is critical in establishing a roadmap for continuous improvement in our delivery of education and in the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations and executive team. I am also proud of our efforts to more effectively communicate with the Chelmsford community and to be more transparent. These efforts include facilitating public input sessions to listen to the concerns of the community on school matters, launching a more user-friendly and informative website, and utilizing our website to conduct a survey to get input from the community on proposed changes to the school calendar. ITR: What areas do you think the school committee maybe lacking in and could use improvement over the next year? J A: I believe the School Committee is functioning very well as a team. Each member brings different experiences, expertise, and perspective to the School Committee. We are all committed to working together toward the goal of providing an excellent education to all students and being fiscally responsible. We are also committed to continuous improvement and will soon solicit, through a survey on our website, community feedback on how we are doing as a School Committee. ITR: What are the goals/priorities of the School Committee for the 2011-2012 school season? J A: These were approved at our August 16th meeting and are on the website at http://chelmsford.k12.ma.us/ under the School Committee section.
ITR: What personally would you like to see happen over the next year in the school system? J A: As a parent I would like to see ... smart boards in every classroom, and updated computers and wireless networks throughout the school system. Integrating technology across the curriculum helps our teachers reach different types of learners and assists them in evaluating their students' understanding of the material, while also enhancing the learning process for the students. Without this advantage, our school system will never reach its full potential.
Custodial service outlines progress at Chelmsford schools
By Monica Jimenez/Wicked Local staff writer GateHouse News Service Aug 17, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford
Chelmsford — Despite tarnished relations between the Chelmsford school district and custodians’ union, Chelmsford schools will be spic-and-span for incoming students this fall. At the School Committee’s meeting Tuesday, Aug. 16, Bruce Griswold of Aramark, the new custodial services provider for the district, presented a progress report indicating summer cleaning is finishing up on schedule. The School Committee recently voted to outsource the schools’ cleaning services to Aramark, whose contract began July 1, over longstanding custodians’ protests the move would hurt them and cost the district in the long run. After being shown photos of gleaming Chelmsford school floors Tuesday night, School Committee member Mike Rigney said he was disappointed so few of the schools’ original custodians will be staying on – only four accepted Aramark’s offer of employment – and asked Griswold how he planned to train employees and encourage them to stay. But in the interest of getting acquainted with the new team, Rigney asked Griswold to name the lead custodian at each school. “When parents go to school for the first time, there will still be a single face and refer ence for that school,” Rigney said. “The community should get to know them a little.” school, little. Committee member Nick DeSilvio brought up a question of safety, pointing out when school alarms went off, longtime Chelmsford custodians often met public safety officers at specific locations and showed them to the proper place in the building. Aramark employees should sit down with Chelmsford fire department leaders, DeSilvio said, so the transition is smooth. “We want to be absolutely sure our bases are covered,” DeSilvio said. covered, Griswold recounted his hiring process, explaining after most of the original school custodians declined to stay on, he got 13 temporary employees from a private provider to help with summer cleaning. Seven of the temporary employees have been hired full-time, and four to six custodians are still needed before school starts. Griswold assured the committee Aramark will take good care of school buildings. “We’re trying to instill in employees a sense of detail,” Griswold said. “Cleaning isn’t just detail, scrubbing the floor and recoating it. It’s cleaning from top to bottom.” bottom. Although the new custodians are still getting up to speed on Chelmsford operations, School Committee Chairman Janet Askenburg said she recently visited Parker Middle School and one thing is for sure – they’re doing a great job. “The floors have colors I’ve never seen before,” Askenburg said. “It really was a dramatic before, difference. I’m very impressed.” impressed. The feeling is mutual, Griswold suggested. “We’re excited to be a part of Chelmsford. I’ve met a lot of great people,” Griswold said. people, “I look forward to many years.” years.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
School Committee Raises Questions About Custodian Retention, Screenings
The School Committee last night received an update from Aramark regarding the custodians.
By Krista Perry August 17, 2011 www.chelmsford.patch.com
The School Committee last night received an update from Aramark, vendor for the newly outsourced custodian positions, and raised questions about how employees are screeened and retention rates. Bruce Griswold, who manages the town's contract with Aramark, said 13 Aramark staff are working in Chelmsford Public Schools along with 15 contracted employees. Griswold said he will retain seven of those employees when their contract with Aramark runs out shortly, so he will have to hire five or six more employees to work in Chelmsford before school starts. School Committee member Mike Rigney said only four employees who were original school custodians have stayed on board with Aramark. " ... That was not 100 percent that was talked about, it's disappointing. The concern is the community so I'd like to hear you talk about your training and your plan for retention for the employees we have," he said. have, Griswold said Aramark does its best to empower and invest in its employees, which helps retention. "I think that goes back to the culture that is in place ... a culture from top to bottom of empowering and investing in employees and giving them a career path," he said. path, "That’s how you retain, you invest back into your employees." employees. Griswold also shared a training schedule with the committee, which included once a month sessions. During those sessions, custodians would learn about operating practices, safety issues, and anything else that comes up. "Training is part of investing in your employees, developing your employees and it's im portant element to employee retention," he said. "Monthly training addresses different retention, needs and concerns, such as operation standards or safety issues and this calendar is changeable (if) we identify issues we need to address throughout the year." year. Griswold also named the lead custodian for each building, noting that they would be a "familiar face" in the district and those lead custodians report back to him. School Committee member Nick DeSilvio asked about the screening process for hiring the custodians. "We use a service called TrueScreen, it's a corporate policy," he said. Employees must pass policy, a federal background check and a drug test, he said. Contractors, Griswold said, cannot legally be screened using TrueScreen but are still CORI checked through the state. School Committee Chairwoman Janet Askenburg said she has been pleased with Aramark's performance on the job so far. "I was at Parker this morning and I was very, very impressed," she said. "Those floors have impressed, colors in them I've never seen before, so thank you, it really was a dramatic difference. I’m impressed." impressed. The calendar for Aramark employee training will be posted on the School Department website, committee members said.
Chelmsford teachers turn down two days off
By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Aug 18, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford
Chelmsford — Chelmsford teachers have turned down the offer of two days off from school for the purpose of preparing for the upcoming NEASC accreditation process, which happens every 10 years. Superintendent Frank Tiano reported the teachers' union rejected the idea partly because members see an inequity between the number of days off that high school teachers and elementary teachers receive; they said they would only agree to the plan if pre-k through 12th grade teachers also received the days off. Additionally, Tiano said, teachers felt the days would disrupt the beginning of the school year, which already includes one professional day in September, two in October, and the Columbus Day holiday. School Committee member Nick DeSilvio criticized teachers’ choice. “These days are a gift, a positive thing. To not accept them seems almost fool ish. It doesn’t make sense,” DeSilvio said. sense, School Committee member Evelyn Thoren pointed out teachers are at least being consistent; they have insisted on equity in days off in the past. Tiano said they are confident they can do without the additional days. But DeSilvio was skeptical. “The way I see it, the union is jeopardizing our NEASC accreditation,” accreditation, DeSilvio said. He added, “Put the kids first. That’s all I have to say.” say.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
Business Manager Chelmsford Public Schools
BUS PASS FEES: The bus fee is $200.00 per student with a family cap of
You don't pay any credit card processing fees online when paying.
Students living less than 2 miles from their school in grades k-6 must pay a bus fee. You can check your address using mapquest or google. All students in grades 7-12 taking the bus must pay the fee regardless of the distance. If you do not wish to pay online, please send a check payable to Chelmsford Public Schools to CPS/Transportation, 230 North Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824. All payments must be received before obtaining your bus pass. If you are awaiting approval for the Free & Reduced Lunch Program, please wait to receive your approval letter, then bring it in to receive your pass. Please note: We CANNOT take credit/debit payments in the office. Note: There will be a $35 late fee charged to those who pay after August 31st. This will not be applied to those awaiting Free & Reduced Lunch approval. The bus passes will be available for pickup at the Chelmsford Public Schools Central Offices on Tuesday, August 23 from 9AM - 3:30, Wednesday, August 24 from 9AM - 7:00PM, and Thursday, August 25 from 9AM - 3:30PM. Only paid and no fee passes will be available for pick up. Again, if you are awaiting approval for the Free & Reduced Lunch Program, please wait to receive your approval letter, then bring it to receive your pass. Thanks!!! Kathleen McWilliams Business Manager Chelmsford Public Schools 230 North Road Chelmsford, MA 01824 978-251-5100 X 6913
Ask The Manager
In- Town Report: Now that we will be having a fall Town Meet -
ing what are some of the articles on the warrant that people in town might find an interest in?
PAUL COHEN: There has already been some discussion and media coverage regarding the future use of the Town's 66-acre parcel known as "Oak Hill". George Merrill has submitted a citizen petition warrant article to transfer the care, custody, and control of this undeveloped land parcel to the Conservation Commission. Some members of the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board have expressed an interested in undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the property, as called for in the Town's Master Plan, to identify other possible municipal uses for portions of the property. Town Meeting will also be asked to appropriate monies to re-open the South Chelmsford Fire Station. Since the lease agreements are expiring on the portion of Sunny Meadow Farm that are commercially farmed, Town Meeting Representatives will be asked to authorize a new lease period for up to 10 years. Authorization will also be sought to lease the Wotton Road land for agricultural purposes for up to 10 years, the Swain Road landfill as a solar farm for up to 20 years, and the new DPW building roof on Alpha Road for a solar farm for up to 20 years. The Planning Board's Zoning Bylaw Review Committee is expected to recommend a handfill of articles to the Planning Board for placement on the Town Meeting Warrant.
ITR: A fairly new Town Moderator, a brand new Town Clerk and a brand new electronic voting system at Town Meeting, what kind of prep will go into preparing for this fall's Town Meeting to make sure it goes off with out a hitch?
PC: The electronic voting equipment has been purchased. The Town's Information Technology Director Ted Lutter is preparing the system for the Fall Annual Town Meeting. After Labor Day, Town Moderator Richard DeFreitas plans to issue draft electronic voting guideliens to the Town Meeting Representatives in advance of a public hearing that he will convene by the end of September.
ITR: Presidents give the State of the Union address, Governors, the State of the State, so for you I ask what is the the present State of the Town?
PC: T h e Town of Chelmsford currently is in a solid position. Unlike the federal government whicb recently received a negative outlook on its bond rating from Standard and Poors, the bond rating agency has upgraded the Town's rating to a positive outlook. We are awaiting the Massachusetts Department of Revenue's certification of the Town's Fiscal Year 2011 balance sheet. It appears as though the Town just completed a very strong financial performance during this past fiscal year which will increase the Town's reserves to a level at the mid-point of its
target range of between 5% - 10% of the operating budget. This should lead to an upgrade in the Town's bond rating from AA- to AA. Progress continues in the implementation of the Town's Master Plan as evidenced by the numerous articles relating to the Master Plan that will appear on the Fall Annual Town Meeting Warrant. The Board of Selectmen has voted to proceed with the implementation of Municipal Health Insurance Reform. This will restrain the growth in the cost to provide health care to employees and retirees. The Town plans to re-open the South Chelmford Fire Station at the end of October. Capital improvements are underway at the two historic town hall buildings, the Byam School roof, and the replacement of the windows at Chelmsford High School. A new proposal for the replacement of the deteriorated center fire station is expected to be brought to the 2012 Spring Annual Town Meeting.
ITR: Last Month, there was a little bru ha ha over the Selectmen renewing your con tract and giving you a raise 6 months premature of when the normal time would be around January. They compared you to star athletes who have there contracts renewed early to prevent other teams from picking them up. Since last month, the ITR has learned that the towns of Dracut and North Andover had there sights on you as a possible candidate for their Town Manager At the time the Selectmen could not reveal that this played into their decision to give you an early renewal. I guess the question I am getting at is this, Why stay? Two good sized towns seriously considering you for their manager? You have been under constant and steady attacks over the last 3 to 4 years. You probably could have pulled in a larger paycheck from either of the two towns. Why did you choose Chelmsford?
PC: I love the Town of Chelmsford and enjoy every work day. The Town of Chelmsford is blessed with dedicated volunteers who serve on its elected and appointed boards. The Town is also well-served by the professional, hard-working personnel employed across the town at the libraries, the school buildings, the Town and School Administrative Offices, the fire and police stations, and in the public works/facilities/cemeteries. There is a reason why Money Magazine just ranked the Town of Chelmsford as the 28th best small town in America. The Town has tremendous resources such as open space lands (maintained by the Open Space Stewards), the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, town beaches, etc. The administration in every community has its critics. This is one component of living in a democracy. However, over the years, Town Meeting and the voters have expressed continued overall confidence in the Town's government.
Another chance at open space?
There will be two articles at this fall’s town meeting regarding the Oak Hill property (65+ acres) in North Chelmsford. A citizen petition submitted by Town Meeting Representative and Historical Commission member George Merrill to place the land into conservation status and the second a BOS article is to perform a master plan study of potential uses (including conservation) of the land. The Board of Selectmen determines the order of the articles that appear on a Town Meeting warrant. Town Meeting may vote to take an article out of order.
The Oak Hill property in North Chelmsford was a current topic on the In-Town Report Facebook page.
The following info was supplied by David McLachlan (Conservation Commission) The parcel is approximately 65+ acres of land in North Chelmsford. The land was acquired by the town a number of years ago from Ray Carye in lieu of taxes after he determined that it was unfeasible for him to develop. The parcel is land locked by parcels owned by others except for a access from Ledge Road via a narrow 16 ft(?) right of way owned by the Town and from the Swain Road landfill. The landfill is under consideration for a solar farm. This parcel is the largest open space parcel left and it is owned by the Town. The parcel abuts the Lowell Sportsmen's club and has access through unidentified ownership to the Deep Brook Reservation. Historically the parcel was used in part for a granite quarry and if you walk the parcel you can see
remnants of that activity. There are blocks of granite with drilling holes left in place. Today there are a number of trails on the site that are being used by residents of Scotty Hollow and Ledge Road. This parcel is presently zoned for a Bill Board overlooking Route 3, as is the abutting parcel owned by a church. The Master Plan recommended that a master plan for the site be developed. To date there has been a federal grant of $13,000 (?) spent on looking at the site for affordable housing ( with a small "a") under the authority of the Chelmsford Housing Authority. That report has not been completed but my understanding is that it does not appear feasible due to access. I don't believe that the surrounding area in North Chelmsford lends itself to any amount of additional traffic due to access and the layout of the residential roads. Although I was on the Master Plan and supported the master plan study of Oak Hill last winter, I no longer support that step and believe it should be protected as open space Conservation land. Chelmsford has about 850 acres of open space under its authority, a relatively small amount by some standards. Carlisle has a third of its land. I realize that we are not Carlisle but we should protect more land. Access to the site as a Conservation Reservation could possibly be from Swain Road with a small parking lot and trail to Oak Hill. It is a great site for passive recreation for people of all ages. The Conservation Commission has not voted formally in support but the sense of the whole board is to support the citizens' warrant article. The Commission will have a public discussion at it's next meeting on September 6th. and vote on the issue.
Town Meeting Representative and Planning Board member Colleen Stansfield wrote regarding the property: Please be aware that once this land is given to the Conservation Committee and becomes Chapter 97 Land, it will take a 2/3rds vote of the Legislature (Senate and House) to change even a small portion to be used for possible Town needs. It will be no longer up to the residents of Chelmsford. Please consider our towns possible future needs while considering this very important question. Open Space is certainly what I would like to see for some of this land, maybe even most of it, but there are other factors like affordable housing and a possible solar field that could benefit this community. Consider wisely and thoughtfully.
Town Meeting Representative Laura Lee wrote regarding the property:
Conservation makes sense....lots of historic sites there. Talk to George Merrill and chc. And other local towns are working to preserve their early historic sites starting this summer with historic planning.
Town Meeting Representative Debbie Dery wrote regarding the property: I do recall Pam Armstrong speaking at a BOS meeting last fall about this property. She had said that they had done a study years ago and that in order to build they would have to take property by eminent domain from Scotty Hollow and that they would need to build a bridge. She said that they had already spent thousands dollars on a study to develop this property. The time has come when we must take into consideration the escalating traffic that seems to be increasing in certain areas in town. I am confused about the vote that we took at town meeting concerning our sewerage capacity. I was of the understanding that we needed to approve a warrant article so that all residents would be able to have town sewerage before we ran out of capacity. How can we continue to build and find businesses to fill our empty buildings without sewercapacity?Our water bills always have a bond and what I would like to know where is the ropertywater going to come from? Will we once again be forced to build another well? What is the advantage to build? We need to look at redevleloping existing property for our affordable housing rather than build new.
Chelmsford Open Space Steward Andrew Giannino wrote regarding the property: I say we spend some money on a study to study a new proposal for a study to study if another study is feasible. Just give the land to conservation and hand the majority of the land over to the stewardship. instead of paying for more studies give the stewardship more money. I do think using a small portion of the land for a solar farm is a great idea. no residences, no need for an access rd except for what is there, let the town make some money off the land. How much would be the minimum needed for a solar farm? just some questions????
In the end it all comes down to a vote at Town Meeting to which Dave McLachlan writes: Remember there are 3 parcels in North Chelmsford that may be developed in the next 10 years: development of the U of Lowell west campus; a commuter rail station off Vinal Square toward Southwell Park, and Oak Hill. It would be a shame if all were developed with no conservation set asides. Oak Hill will happen first. Let's save this one. The others don't lend themselves to conservation
Chelmsford citizens move for strict preservation on Oak Hill
Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford 08/18/2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford
A citizen petition article to place town-owned land off Oak Hill Road under state conservation has put the 66-acre North Chelmsford parcel on the map once more. The article, submitted for consideration at fall Town Meeting, is at odds with an article from the Board of Selectmen requesting a study of the land before anything is done. Mostly hills, woods and wetlands, the Oak Hill parcel serves as a scenic recreational area for residents, according to Conservation Commission Chairman Dave McLachlan. Protecting the site tops the list of Community Preservation Committee priorities, McLachlan said. “It’s within fairly close walking distance to the Deep Brook Reservation; it’s the last large parcel of open space in Chelmsford; and we don’t have a lot of conservation land,” McLachlan said. land, The land also contains a granite quarry with slabs bearing drill holes from quarrymen long gone. Resident George Merrill, who submitted the citizen petition article with the signatures of 14 residents, said the quarry may date back to before 1800 and could have immense value as an archaeological site. As a developed site, Merrill said, the parcel would only drain the town’s resources. He listed the expenses of development: Performing a study, creating a road to access the site and building on rough land. If development consists of affordable housing – the Massachusetts Housing Partnership last year funded a feasibility study for six rental units at Oak Hill – the costs would be even higher, Merrill said. “Anything you do with the land is going to cost money and cause problems,” Merrill problems, said. “Saving the flora and fauna is important, but more important is saving the town millions in the long run.” run. Merrill and McLachlan agree it would be best to officially designate the area as conservation land, making it impossible to use it for anything else without a special act of state legislature. “The timing is right and the public’s attention is on conservation,” McLachlan said. conservation, “I don’t think we’ll get another opportunity like this.” this. However, some believe the town should look before it leaps. In an article for fall Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen proposes funding a study of the land before deciding what to do with it. Selectman Jim Lane said at this point the article is just a placeholder, ensuring the option is brought before Chelmsford representatives in the fall; the board has not yet discussed it. But he pointed out the town’s Master Plan, which he helped update in a prolonged process ending late last year, calls for a study of Oak Hill. “Nine dedicated people spent 20 months and came to this conclusion,” Lane said. “I’m conclusion, not going to throw it away.” away. Although many agree the rough terrain and lack of road access make development unfeasible — the town acquired the land in lieu of taxes partly because the owner deemed it unbuildable – Lane said this should be confirmed before proceeding. “It’s a very big, extremely complex parcel of land. It’s so big, the Master Plan com mittee decided a study was needed to determine the best use for the town,” Lane town, said. “Maybe the study will find there are problems and it should be deeded to con -
servation, but we’ll at least have done our homework and done a good service to the townspeople.” townspeople. The parcel may well qualify for Community Preservation funds, Lane pointed out – one potential project there is historical preservation, and affordable housing has not been ruled out. A proper study of Oak Hill is central to the town’s draft plan for affordable housing, according to Affordable Housing Plan Committee member Paul Haverty, who called the MHP’s study last year inconclusive. The possible reward of finding a buildable corner on the Oak Hill parcel justifies spending more time and money on analysis, Haverty suggested. “If the town doesn’t meet the requirement of 10 percent affordable housing, we’re liable to developers coming in to do 40B projects,” Haverty said. “The Affordable projects, Housing Plan is meant to create that percentage of housing and give the town control over where projects go. Oak Hill might give us the best bang for our buck.” buck. A corner of land for housing, the rest for residents to enjoy – combining these pieces may solve Chelmsford’s puzzle. The only way to be sure, according to Haverty and Lane, is to do the study. “We need to look at what’s the best use for the town holistically,” Lane said. holistically, McLachlan is also looking at the big picture, but a different one. North Chelmsford is fairly built out with the exception of Deep Brook Reservation, he said, and the University of Lowell west campus is being eyed for further development – the Oak Hill Road parcel is one of the last green strongholds in the area. McLachlan believes Oak Hill fits into a different pattern. Just as Russell Mill is maintained for bicyclists, horseback riding encouraged in Thanksgiving Forest and wildlife protected off Concord Road, McLachlan said, Oak Hill would serve its own special purpose as conservation land. “If you walk the land, you see it lends itself to passive recreation. It’s a very nice vista toward both the east and west. You can almost see Boston on a clear day,” day, McLachlan said. “It’s very quiet even though it’s next to Route 3. It’s just a nice place to get away from the bustle and it’s so big that you can get away.” away. According to McLachlan, the land offers peace – and according to Merrill, people should return the favor. “It’s a wild place. It should stay wild,” Merrill said. “The best thing to do with the land wild, is to leave it alone.” alone. Chelmsford Town Meeting representatives will vote on whether to put the parcel under conservation or perform a study of the land at fall Town Meeting, provided both articles make it onto the finalized warrant.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
An old granite quarry on Oak Hill in Chelmsford.
’S ER AG AN M LE WN AB TO DT
The Local Press
CLICK HERE FOR SHOW
Chelmsford TeleMedia clarifies rules on ownership
By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Aug 21, 2011
Chelmsford TeleMedia has formalized its distribution policy following the use of footage from Chelmsford producers’ shows during a recent selectmen recall campaign. According to TeleMedia Board of Directors President Kelly Beatty, the move has reaffirmed Telemedia’s commitment to the founding principle of local access television: Free speech. Question of ownership To back up its claims about town officials, the group Cheating Chelmsford provided clips of Dennis Ready’s “Town Talk” and Tom Christiano’s “Politically Incorrect” for online viewing. Meetings of town boards, including the selectmen, were also excerpted. “The question arose of whether someone could come in and request a copy of a show to rebroadcast it or use it,” Beatty said. it, Telecasts of town business belong to the public and anyone may distribute them, he explained, but shows made by private producers are a different story. While it’s no crime to simply record these shows for one’s own future viewing, per copyright law, a producer’s approval is needed before his or her show can be screened for others or shared online. TeleMedia has always abided by this law, Beatty said — the studio is simply working to make producers more aware of their rights. On TeleMedia’s standard form, producers now must indicate whether the studio may freely hand out copies of their shows, or if they want to be consulted when someone requests one. All TeleMedia producers are being informed about this change, Beatty said. The caveat is that this protection only extends as far as the walls of the studio. TeleMedia can provide or withhold official DVDs, but it can’t stop anyone with a DVR from making and distributing homemade copies. The studio has also started streaming some shows online, meaning in a few clicks, clips can be ripped and reposted. And if shows are shared without authorization, it’s not TeleMedia’s place to do anything about it, Beatty said. The producer, not the studio, has the right to a show — and with that right comes the responsibility to defend it. Local access producers, usually new to the broadcast business, often know little about these lines in the sand. On the other hand, audiences can be quick to place the blame. For example, when technical difficulties caused the sound to cut out during a statement from the teachers’ union at a School Committee meeting, the studio fielded angry calls from people who thought they had done it on purpose. “We are apolitical. We have no agenda,” Beatty said. agenda, Local access guardians TeleMedia’s job, according to Beatty, is to educate and equip its producers — and then get out of the way. Some local access studios generate much of their programming themselves, requiring non-staff to pitch a well-developed concept and come up with a crew before getting airtime. In contrast, Chelmsford’s hometown channel is dominated by media novices armed with TeleMedia’s training, its volunteer crew members, its cameras and mics, and stories purely their own. Local access channels were established to allow anyone to produce and broadcast a show, Beatty said. He painted TeleMedia less like a gatekeeper holding the keys to the medium of television than a guardian protecting citizens’ right to express themselves. “It gets back to the reason we exist in the first place — so townspeople can come in,
produce their own show and do whatever they want to do, whether it’s reading poetry for half an hour or playing in a rock band,” Beatty said. “Whatever they want, if it’s within band, legally permissible bounds, we’re legally obligated to tape and show it.” it. Far from shying away from the challenges of such free expression — teaching new producers, catching flak for controversial content, controlling the proliferation of copies — the TeleMedia Board of Directors is seeking to expand the studio’s broadcast range. In the future, Beatty said, TeleMedia hopes to have more rooms in the town offices wired for broadcast and more local viewers watching shows from out of town. “The fact that we stream content makes it available to people who are not cable sub scribers. This opens it up to places like Tewksbury, or California,” Beatty said. “We will California, eventually stream home football games live, so CHS alumni around the country can watch them. We will reach the part of the town’s population that doesn’t necessarily curl up in front of the TV at 7 p.m. to watch the Board of Selectmen.” Selectmen.
With online clips from TeleMedia producers’ shows at the heart of the recent recall battle, Beatty said the board felt it was time to clarify their copyright policy. But he added the commotion showed that people are invested in what’s going on. “A greater percentage of townspeople care, more so now than six months ago,” Beatty ago, said. “There was an incredible interest in who was being recalled and how town govern ment works. The 9 North Road controversy put the spotlight on what some boards do — what their job is, who these people are, what motivates them, what qualifications they have. People are getting a better feeling of the number of people who work behind the scenes on behalf of town government.” government. And all this is being done through a television screen, Beatty said. “Back in the day, that meeting room would have been filled. Now, people stay home and watch,” Beatty said. “We give them that vicarious presence in the room.” room. As for the unauthorized use of privately-produced programs, Beatty said, the answer is what it has always been: That problem, like any given show, belongs to the producer. “Public access was legislated so people like you could have a vehicle to come in and produce their own show,” Beatty said. “At the end of the day, we’re not responsible for what people come up with.” with.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Director Pete Pedulla gets ready for the taping of the "Dacey's Divas" show at the Chelmsford TeleMedia studio in the Master Control Suite.
Ann Ringwood/Wicked Local staff photographer
Chelmsford officials ponder possibility of composting facility
By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Aug 20, 2011 www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford
Chelmsford — A plan to bring a composting facility to town is fermenting in the minds of some Chelmsford officials as they struggle with the problem of illegal dumping. More and more residents are abandoning piles of leaves and yard clippings on public land, according to Chelmsford Conservation Agent Thad Soule. The solution, says Chelmsford Recycling and Solid Waste Coordinator Jennifer Almeida, may be to provide a sanctioned place for people to upend their wheelbarrows. At the end of the month, Almeida plans to request funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection for a study of possible composting facility sites in Chelmsford. “We generate it here, so it makes sense we would deal with it here,” Almeida said. “A local problem re quires a local solution.” solution. Soule agreed the problem is local, endangering Chelmsford’s residents and the land, he said. Organic waste blocks streams, compromising the town’s drinking water and forming pools where disease-carrying mosquitoes can breed. These accidental dams also cause floods that damage nearby property. Additionally, Soule said, the nutrient-rich waste promotes algal blooms and the growth of invasive species in local bodies of water. Removing them costs the town money, Soule pointed out, as it did at Heart Pond this past June. A recent report by Soule lists 50 locations people have frequently used as dumping grounds in the past two years. The list includes reservations, ponds, highways, residential streets, land near the town offices, and school grounds. Occasionally the violations are reported, Soule said, but more often the organic heaps are left as unpleasant surprises for Open Space Stewards. “Where there are private residences abutting conservation land, or conservation land is located at the end of a cul-de-sac, individuals — and in several neighborhoods, whole blocks — have created an ‘understanding’ that it is OK to dump yard waste on protected open space,” Soule wrote in the report. space, A large part of the problem, according to Almeida, is there’s nowhere else to put it. State law prohibits disposing of organic waste along with regular trash. Landfill space and incinerator capacity are limited and the state would rather not pay to truck away biodegradable trash. Chelmsford did offer curbside leaf collection starting in the 1990s, as Almeida recalls. By 2000, the town was picking up leaves three times in the spring and once in the fall. The waste was brought to the local licensed composting facility, Laughton’s Nursery, which also permitted residents to drop off their clippings themselves under its contract with the town. Chelmsford TeleMedia clarifies rules on ownership But in 2006, Laughton’s closed and composting facilities in Woburn and Tewksbury turned out to be more expensive and too far away. The town discontinued its curbside collection service. Jones Farm now picks up leaves and clippings and allows residents to drop them off, requiring the use of special bags available at the farm. The town holds a Brush Drop-Off Day, allowing those with proof of Chelmsford residence to drop off brush and branches at the Community Tree, and discounted compost bins are also available for Chelmsford residents. But Almeida estimates the town has sold only about 1,000 bins since receiving its DEP grant for the program in 1996. Even accounting for those residents who compost without a bin, she guesses only 10 to 20 percent of single-family households engage in the practice. And overall, said Soule, incidents of illegal dumping have been on the rise. He remarked this country’s culture is partly responsible, as it gave rise to the compulsively clean lawn. “The suburban American ideal is the pristine, green lawn free of leaves and debris,” Soule said. “They debris, mow it, they fertilize it, they create all this waste, because you don’t want mess on your lawn. And heaven forbid the neighbors see a compost bin in your backyard.” backyard. Although Almeida has accepted people’s distaste for debris and decay, she tends to agree with farmer Phil Jones, who has spoken wistfully of a time when people weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. In between working with Soule and Cohen to research illegal dumping and prepare her application to the DEP, she dreams of a faraway mountain just beyond the pristine garden of herbs and the tidy little swing set a rich, warm heap of compost. “I would really like to get everyone putting their leaves and clippings and kitchen scraps in a pile,” pile, Almeida said. “The best solution is to have a compost bin in every backyard. That would be the most local solution of all.” all.
Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
The Neighborhood Files
Town Organizes to Find Missing Dog
Butterscotch, a local lab mix, has been missing since last Monday.
By Ryan MacInnis August 16, 2011 www.chelmsford.patch.com
Butterscotch, a lab mix, only knew the smells and sights of her forever home for less than a day before wandering off from her new owners. Butterscotch is short, two or three years old and about 35lbs. She's white and beige and her owner, Becky Wink, is desperate to get her back. Butterscotch has been lost since last Monday and has been recently spotted off Griffin Road near Route 225 in Westford. “I rescued her last Monday and took her home, washed her up and when I went inside to get her food she jumped the fence,” said Wink. fence, Although Wink brought her back inside the gated yard, Butterscotch jumped the fence again, wiggling her way out of a collar leaving her owner upset and distraught. Now, the town is coming together to help find Butterscotch through social networking and on the town's web site for lost pets. Many local followers on the web are offering thoughts and prayers for Butterscotch and searching for the lab while they walk their own pets or go out for a drive. Wink said she's been chasing every lead that she can find. “If you see Butterscotch, do not approach her,” said Wink. “She is her, a scared dog who will run away if approached. Sit on the ground with food and call her name and if she gets close enough, grab a hold of her.” her. Her recent sighting in Westford is about three miles from where she had first escaped in South Chelmsford. Any information or sightings should be directed to Becky Wink at 978-390-3393.
Notice to all Town Meeting Representatives
The following is a "Preliminary" set of regulations to be discussed at the upcoming open public hearing in September sent in by Dick DeFreitas (Town Moderator). However, the Moderator is charged with coming up with the regulations to be be presented. The adoption of which will be done in consultation with the BOS and the Town Clerk after the open hearing and prior to the actual implementation. Dick DeFreitas is only following the mandates of the By-law, but wanted to give Town Meeting Representatives a "heads up" so that they come prepared for the hearing. Dick will be available to answer questions via email: email@example.com
ELECTRONIC VOTING GUIDELINES... Richard E. DeFreitas, Town Moderator ELECTRONIC ROLL CALL... Motions and Amendments require full disclosure. Names and Votes will be displayed and recorded. ELECTRONIC TALLY... Procedural Votes only require a tally. Names need not be displayed. Only the total count will be recorded... unless the Moderator decides the vote is crucial and requires full disclosure. One or more large screen displays will be used to display Electronic Roll Call votes. Both Electronic Roll Call and Electronic Tally results will be fed to a separate display for the Town Moderator and Town Clerk. The Electronic Roll Call votes shown on the large screen(s) will show both the individual rep votes by precinct and the tally by precinct and the totals. The Electronic Tally will only show the totals. System will calculate 2/3 vote requirements for both Electronic Roll Call and Electronic Tally based on the "yea" and "nay" votes. Moderator and the Clerk will verify the result. Electronic Roll Call will require up to 30 seconds Electronic Tally will only require up to 15 seconds. Moderator will start and stop the voting process. System will allow a quorum count at the start of Town Meeting and any time a "point of order" is raised for a quorum count. System will allow for, and record the following... "yea". - in favor of motion or amendment "nay" - opposed to motion or amendment "present" or "abstain" - not voting and not a part of 2/3 vote. If no selection is made, it will be recorded as not voting. Any challenge to the electronic vote must be made before the next article is read... Seven (7) Reps can request a hand count. Forty (40) Reps can request a roll call vote. If the challenge count varies from the electronic count, the physical count will prevail. The electronics results will still be posted and noted as overturned by the challenge. Both physical and electronic counts will be recorded. The results of each vote taken will be posted on the Town's web site for all to see and will be saved in perpetuity.
Police Awarded Grant for Extra Patrols
The grant is for pedestrian, bicycle and moped safety.
August 18, 2011 www.chelmsford.patch.com
The following was submitted by Chelmsford Police.
The Chelmsford Police Department has recently been awarded a $7,500 grant for Pedestrian, Bicycle and Moped Safety Enforcement from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. As a result of this grant award the Chelmsford Police Department will be assigning extra patrols at various times and locations. Officers will be conducting high-visibility traffic enforcement of the major crosswalk areas located throughout town with a major concentration on the center area. Extra patrols will also be assigned to the Bruce Freeman Bike Path during this enforcement. The main goal of the entire program will be to increase compliance with the various traffic laws by motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and scooter riders. The police department urges motorists to follow all traffic laws, obey the rules of the road, and drive defensively during this busy time of the year.
Chief James Murphy
Chelmsford School bus passes will be available for pickup at the Chelmsford Public Schools Central Offices on T uesday, August 23 from 9AM - 3:30,
Wednesday, August 24 from 9AM -7:00PM, and Thursday, August 25 from 9AM 3:30PM. Only paid passes will be available for pick up.
The Chelmsford Senior Center is offering a Zumba Program on Thursday Afternoons from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Socialize while getting fit! The cost is only $5.00 per session. Shown here are: Left to right. Barbara Carroll, Carol Elder, Pat Egan, MaryAnn Ryan, Theresa Feely, and instructor Leslie Janis. To sign up, call the Chelmsford Senior Center at 978-251-0533. To receive a bulletin of Senior Center News, call the receptionist at 978-251-0533, the fee is $7.00 for home delivery.
The Show of Hope Benefit Concert aims to raise funds for and awareness about Mitochondrial Disease, a progressive and life-threatening neuro-muscular disease. Mitochondrial Disease has no proven treatments and no cure. For more about Mitochondrial Disease, see umdf.org.
September 23rd, 2011 ♪ 7-11pm Lowell Memorial Auditorium ♪ Lowell, MA 50 East Merrimack Street Lowell, MA 01852
A night of music, raffles, and making memories with: Liz Longley (www.lizlongley.com) Air Traffic Controller (www.airtrafficcontrollermusic.com) Stefani Bush (www.hoperisingmusic.com)
Chelmsford Farmers' Market Vendors Bring You The BEST Bagel Alley Brewed Awakenings Fior D'Italia Pasta and Cheese Fox Barn Farm Golden Girl Granola Got-Thyme-to-Cook Idle Hour Farm Jones Farm La Bella Dolce Bakery Monadnock Berries/Hill Orchard Parlee Farm Shady Pine Farm Surfing Goat Soap Sweet Lydia's
Where: Chelmsford Common When: Every Thursday, July 7 - October 6, 2011 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
The Farmer's Market Committee would also like to invite you to join the facebook group "Friends of the Chelmsford Farmers' Market" Every Volunteer Hour Counts!! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to help out
Animal Control Officer Erik Merrill 978-256-0754
CLICK HERE TO REPORT A LOST PET
Still Looking for Butterscotch...
8/11/11 Lost Cat! Vicinity of Westford Street and Longmeadow. Small male gray cat with a crooked tail. Must find! Lara Smith email@example.com 508-572-3162 978-256-1024
Monday ran from Coach Rd to Elm St Wed. night sighting on Old Lowell Rd in Westford near 4H Grounds and have not had any sightings today.(8/11/11) Number to call Becky at 978-3903393
FACEBOOK PAGE FIND BUTTERSCOTCH
QUOTE OF THE WEEK :
“What is truth?”
- Pontius Pilate
In-Town Report News Links:
LOWELL SUN CHELMSFORD INDEPENDENT CHELMSFORD PATCH
ITR on FACEBOOK link
If you have any comments or suggestions on the In-Town Report write Roy at
Town Meeting Representative Precinct 6 In-Town Report Westlands Watchdogs Open Space Steward
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?