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Lincoln

Lincoln-Sudbury principal to retire

Posted October 28, 2008 06:02 PM

John Ritchie, principal and superintendent of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, announced Tuesday he will retire from his post at the end of the school year.

In an e-mail to town administrators in Lincoln and Sudbury, Ritchie explained that by June he would reach the maximum point in the retirement system and he felt it was a natural time to move on. He informed faculty and staff of his decision Tuesday and told the School Committee during a closed session two weeks ago so that they could begin the search process for his replacement.

"We understand why he is leaving, and we appreciate why he is leaving, but we are certainly very sad to see him go," said Jack Ryan, a member of the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School Committee.

Ritchie began working at Lincoln-Sudbury in 1996 and served through a near doubling of the school's enrollment and the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2004.

During Ritchie's tenure, a student was charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of another student at the school in January 2007. "I think he handled that situation extremely well," Ryan said. "He understood the emotional needs of the students, the L-S community, and the community as a whole during what was a very difficult time."

Ritchie was also credited by parents, staff, and students for the way he responded to heavy student drinking at a home football game this fall. Administrators required students to be accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult to gain admission to the next home game.

Ritchie is the longest serving principal/superintendent in the high school's history, Ryan said.

"I just think he has been an incredible asset to the school," he said.

-- John M. Guilfoil

Westwood High cracks down to prevent drinking at game

Posted September 24, 2008 05:00 PM

A second local high school is cracking down on underage drinkers at its football games.

In a letter sent out to parents Wednesday, Westwood High School Principal Emily Parks said that some students attended last Friday’s game “under the influence of alcohol,” forcing the school to take disciplinary action and adopt new game-day policies banning outside beverages and ordering all students to enter through one gate.

“We hope that implementing these changes will encourage students to make good choices and meet our expectation that the football games be an alcohol-free event,” Parks said in her letter to parents. “Our goal, as always, is to keep students safe.”

These changes at Westwood High come just over a week after reports of widespread drinking at a Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School football game. At that game, on Sept. 12, at least one student had to be hospitalized with alcohol poisoning, four were cited by police, and seven suspended.

Administrators there responded by asking that all students be accompanied by an adult to the school’s next game last Friday and are now in the midst of crafting a plan for future games.

John Antonucci, the superintendent of Westwood schools, told the Globe today that Westwood High’s problems last Friday seemed to be far less widespread. No students had to be hospitalized, he noted. And Parks, in an interview with the Globe, said that school administrators only had to take disciplinary action against “a couple” of students.

Still, Parks said, other students were likely drinking last week and escaped detection – something she hopes will not happen this Friday, when Westwood hosts Tri-Valley League rival Hopkinton.

-- Keith O'Brien

DeCordova sculpture museum curator resigns

Posted September 23, 2008 10:05 PM

Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park's director of curatorial affairs and curator of their main exhibition, has resigned after 25 years, citing creative differences with the museum's new director.

"I have decided to leave DeCordova because I realize that the Board and new Director seek a different creative direction for the Museum," Lafo said in a statement Tuesday. "After nearly twenty-five fulfilling years of leading the curatorial program at DeCordova it is time to move on to new challenges."

Lafo said she would pursue "independent curatorial and writing projects."

She arrived in Lincoln in 1984 as the museum's senior curator and was promoted to director of curatorial affairs in 2001.

Lafo is currently the lead curator on DeCordova's current main exhibition, Drawn to Detail, on view through January 4. But she will take a reduced schedule until her last day, November 1.

"Rachel has been a valuable member of the DeCordova community for many years," said museum director Dennis Kois. "Her intellect and professionalism have helped build DeCordova into the nationally recognized institution that it is today.'

"I join the Board and staff in wishing her well in her new curatorial and scholarly pursuits," Kois said.

-- John M. Guilfoil

War games people play

Posted May 14, 2008 08:10 AM

Neighbors of Hanscom Air Force Base shouldn't be alarmed next Thursday if they see a bit of smoke or hear some commotion coming from the facility. It'll just be the practice version of war, not the real thing.

Military officials have announced that Hanscom will be conducting exercises on May 22 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday, May 23, from 6 a.m. to noon. The event will involve several military scenarios, including mock attacks in an area of the base known as called Camp Patriot.

Air Force spokesman Kevin Gilmartin said that officials do not anticipate that any overly loud or alarming sounds will travel outside the base area, but said that residents may notice smoke or hear some noise.

Anyone who has concerns or questions during the drills is urged to call the base at 781-377-4467, officials said.

-- John Guilfoil

Shoemaker runs onto Wheaties' cover

Posted May 8, 2008 02:20 PM

wheaties.jpg

SPORTS

Jarrod Shoemaker's appearance at the Beijing Olympics this summer was assured when he became the first man selected to the 2008 United States Olympic Triathlon Team.

Before he ever gets to China, though, the 25-year-old Sudbury native will appear on the cover of Wheaties -- “The Breakfast of Champions” -- which is coming out with a new, limited-edition package that features the former Lincoln-Sudbury Regional and Dartmouth College track star.

Shoemaker is a fierce competitor and credits his amazing success in triathlon to a combination of raw talent and personal drive.

He turned professional after competing in just four triathlons in 2003. Within two years Jarrod had won the Under 23 Nationals and World Championship. He qualified for the USA Triathlon's National Elite Team in 2006 and has racked up nine top 10 finishes in the past two years.

Last fall, Shoemaker completed an even more amazing feat by becoming the first member of the USA Triathlon Men's Team competing in the games in Beijing this summer. Now his sights are set on the Hy-Vee ITU World Cup in Des Moines, Iowa in June - the largest prize purse in professional triathlon competition.

"It's a great honor for me to be on the cover of the Wheaties box and to join the remarkable list of great athletes who have appeared on the package," Shoemaker said. "Every athlete dreams about one day seeing themselves on the cover of the 'Breakfast of Champions' package."

The new 15.6-ounce Wheaties package will only be available in Iowa and Boston.

-- Craig Larson

Farm in Lincoln works to help overcome urban obesity

Posted August 16, 2007 10:15 AM

foodproject.jpg

LINCOLN

Experts contend that one of the health problems facing America's inner cities is that while health-food restaurants are plentiful, fresh fruits and vegetables are harder to find.

One group is working to change that on a 31 acre (12.5 hectare) organic farm in Lincoln is trying to change that, the Reuters news agency is reporting.

"I used to eat a lot of fast food and now I try not to," said Kadeem Herry, 17, of Roslindale, Mass. "I might sneak in a burger now and then, but I eat more vegetables."

Herry spoke as he finished a morning of harvesting at the Food Project, a Boston-area nonprofit group that runs the farm in Lincoln -- a mile from Walden Pond, made famous by Henry David Thoreau's 19th century paean to simpler times.

Each year the group sells about 25,000 pounds (11,340 kilograms) of fresh produce at a farm stand in Dorchester.

-- Reuters

A vineyard grows in Lincoln

Posted June 4, 2007 11:39 AM

LINCOLN

blogphoto.jpg

Nearly eight years after he founded Turtle Creek Winery, local winemaker Kip Kumler hopes to create his first ``estate'' wine, made mostly from grapes grown on Conservation Hill in Lincoln.

If he had known how hard it would be would he still have become Lincoln's only vintner?

``Probably,'' Kumler said in an interview in Sunday's Globe West.

Read more and view an audio slide show about the challenges of making wine in Massachusetts...


-- Erica Noonan

Walking in Thoreau's footsteps -- at Mount Misery

Posted April 3, 2007 06:40 PM

misery.jpg
The entrance to Mount Misery park in Lincoln, Mass. Though not as well known as Walden Woods, the 227-acre swath of land next to the Sudbury River was one of author Henry David Thoreau's favorite places.
(Associated Press Photo by Lisa Poole)

LINCOLN

It's not as well known as Walden Woods, but Mount Misery was one of author Henry David Thoreau's favorite places to take his rambling hikes, the AP reports.

Located less than two miles from Walden Pond State Reservation, and connected to it by walking trails, Mount Misery in Lincoln has all the natural beauty of its famous neighbor without the crowds.

"This is really a piece of heaven," said Elizabeth Shienbrood, 39, of Sudbury, who regularly walks Mount Misery's well-groomed and well-marked trails with Ruby and Riley, her mixed-breed dogs.

The name Mount Misery is a misnomer.

First of all, it's not really a mountain. The glacially carved hill that gives the surrounding land its name is just 284 feet above sea level.

And it's certainly not miserable.

-- AP

Program attended by alleged Lincoln-Sudbury killer will close

Posted March 29, 2007 11:23 AM

LINCOLN/SUDBURY

The special education program attended by John Odgren, the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School sophomore accused of stabbing to death a classmate in January, will be eliminated at the end of the school year.

The Great Opportunities program has been offered for 15 years and has typically served seven to nine students a year.

John M. Ritchie, the Lincoln-Sudbury superintendent and school principal, insisted that the decision to end the program was not prompted by the stabbing. Instead, he said, the board of directors for the Concord Area Special Education Collaborative, which runs Great Opportunities, decided to drop the program because its three current participants are graduating and no other students have applied.

"Independent of anything that happened this year, there will not be a GO program at L-S next year," he told the School Committee at a meeting Tuesday night. "It's leaving because of attrition and economics, not for any other reason."

Read more in today's Boston Globe.

-- Kristen Green

Lincoln approves official flag

Posted March 28, 2007 04:20 PM

lin flag new copy.jpg

LINCOLN

Residents approved an official community flag, featuring the town seal on a green and blue background, during Town Meeting on Saturday.

The design is a combination of two earlier versions that residents voted as their favorites, said Agnes Wiggin, who chaired the town’s flag committee. She said the committee will now seek funding to have flags made.

The town plans to provide one to the state to be flown at the State House with other Massachusetts communities’ flags.

— Kristen Green

Principal: 'extra step' not taken before stabbing

Posted March 28, 2007 09:07 AM

LINCOLN/SUDBURY

The principal and superintendent of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School said yesterday that school personnel who confiscated weapons last year from a sophomore accused of stabbing another student to death in January should have taken an additional step to report it to authorities.

John M. Ritchie told the school board in a meeting last night that he didn't think that there was "flagrant neglect, disregard for the welfare of the school, or irresponsible ignoring of school policy."

Still, he said, "Some additional effort had to be made that wasn't made to determine whether this was a pattern, to call it to someone's attention, to determine whether it was completely innocent."

"That was where people did not execute reasonable expectation on my part," Ritchie said. "I think that in a school setting with safety being of paramount concern to us, an extra step had to be taken."

Ritchie did not single out any school staff, and he declined to say whether disciplinary action would be taken, citing confidentiality.

John Odgren, 16, has been arraigned on first-degree murder charges in the death of James Alenson, 15. On Monday, a state-hired psychologist testified in court that Odgren is competent to stand trial.

The Globe has previously reported that Odgren showed a pocketknife and a toy gun to a psychologist on two different occasions last year.

In both instances, the psychologist confiscated the weapons and then gave them back to Odgren on the same day, according to Sudbury Police Chief Peter Fadgen.

Ritchie has said he was not told of either incident, but Fadgen has said the psychologist did report the information to his supervisor.

Ritchie has said the psychologist was employed by the Concord Area Special Education Collaborative, a separate program that placed him at Lincoln-Sudbury. Odgren was technically a student in that program.

-- Kristen Green

Lincoln-Sudbury's Ritchie gets strong support

Posted March 27, 2007 12:22 PM

LINCOLN/SUDBURY

A group of parents of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School students stood behind John M. Ritchie, superintendent-principal of the school, in a letter to the editor recently.

Globe West reported March 18 that some parents were voicing concerns that school officials had been slow to make changes to improve safety after the Jan. 19 slaying of a student at the school.

The 188 parents who signed the letter said there was another side to the story that the Globe hadn't explored.

The letter reads:

We, the undersigned members of the Lincoln Sudbury community, find it unacceptable that The Boston Globe printed the article "Parents Seek Action On Safety Measures" on March 18 based on a letter sent to the school board by a mere eight parents.

We respect the right of every parent to express his or her opinion, but we believe the tenor of any journalistic article should be balanced by the facts. Lincoln Sudbury has over 1,600 students and likely over 3,000 parents. As such, the letter represents a mere fraction of the parent community, certainly well below one percent.

It is irresponsible to make the article so one-sided and only serves to foster a sense of divisiveness in our community at a time when respect, unity and specific facts about what actually happened are most needed.

To be clear, many of us in the Lincoln Sudbury community are concerned. We believe that mistakes were likely made. We further believe that changes at Lincoln-Sudbury or in the CASE Great Opportunities special education program will be required. However, we steadfastly believe that there is likely no change that could have been made to prevent with 100 percent certainty the murder at our high school on Jan. 19.

But most importantly, we wish to make it clear that for the undersigned, Dr. Ritchie and the entire staff at Lincoln Sudbury have our steadfast support.

The letter was written by Doug McCartney.

"Dr. Ritchie has done a fabulous job over the last 10 years, and we have no reason to question his commitment or ability," McCartney said.

McCartney said he used a high school parent email list to ask people if they wanted to sign onto his letter, receiving a strong response from parents and graduates.

-- Adam Sell

The joy of victory

Posted March 13, 2007 02:57 PM

BF-LS9.jpg

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

Lincoln-Sudbury's Brittany Phillips and teammate Sarah Wetmore celebrate their 56-34 girls' basketball victory yesterday over Bishop Feehan in the EMass Division 2 final at the Garden. Globe staff photographer Jim Davis caught the celebration after the buzzer.

Lincoln-Sudbury suspect brought knife and fake gun to school prior to stabbing incident that killed classmate

Posted March 3, 2007 06:33 AM

odgren.JPG
(AP photo by Elise Amendola)

LINCOLN/SUDBURY

A Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School sophomore who is accused of stabbing a classmate to death in January brought a pocketknife and fake handgun to school on separate occasions last fall and did not face disciplinary action, despite showing the items to a psychologist at the school, the Sudbury police chief said yesterday.

In both cases, the psychologist confiscated the items from John Odgren, 16, but returned them to the boy by the end of the school day, said Sudbury Police Chief Peter Fadgen, according to a story in today's Globe by Globe West correspondent Kristen Green and reporter Patricia Wen.

Fadgen said he believes that John M. Ritchie, who is both the principal of the high school and superintendent of the regional school district, was not told of either incident, but that the psychologist did report the information to his supervisor. The chief declined to name the psychologist and said he did not know whether the psychologist was employed by the school district or another agency.

Fadgen said that under state law, the school is required to report children who bring weapons to school to local police. "I was alarmed that even a folding knife . . . was taken and then given back to him at the end of the day," Fadgen said. "I thought it was an improper way to handle it."

Ritchie did not return phone calls to his office yesterday. But in an e-mail to parents late yesterday afternoon, he said that on Monday "it became clear to me that there was some substance to this allegation" about the knife and toy gun.

"We are investigating this matter thoroughly and will report as completely as possible as soon as we are able to do so," he said in the e-mail.

A Lincoln-Sudbury School Committee member, Jack Ryan, said yesterday that Ritchie notified the panel in a closed session this week that he had learned about a week earlier that Odgren had brought a pocketknife to school last year. Ryan said Ritchie told the committee that he and other top school officials are investigating why they were not told last fall of Odgren's confiscated items. School policy requires that a student found with a weapon face a disciplinary hearing.

"Obviously, incidents like that should be reported," Ryan said. ". . . We have to find out what the circumstances were."

-- Kristen Green and Patricia Wen

Teen indicted in Lincoln-Sudbury slaying

Posted March 1, 2007 06:40 PM

LINCOLN/SUDBURY

The Lincoln-Sudbury High School sophomore accused of fatally stabbing a fellow student in January has been indicted on charges of first degree murder, the Middlesex District Attorney's office said today.

John Odgren, 16, of Princeton, is scheduled to be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on Tuesday, when prosecutors plan to provide more details about the attack, said Corey Welford, spokesman for District Attorney Gerry T. Leone Jr.

In a prepared statement, the district attorney's office described the attack as "planned" and "unprovoked." Welford declined to more specific.

Odgren is accused of coming to the high school on Jan. 19 with a knife and attacking James Alenson, 15, in a boys bathroom. Alenson was found lying on his stomach and pronounced dead at Emerson Hospital.

-- Maria Cramer

Parents, advocates hope for more special ed funding after Lincoln-Sudbury slaying

Posted February 4, 2007 01:17 PM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

In the wake of the stabbing death of a Lincoln-Sudbury High School student, allegedly by a Princeton student with Asperger syndrome, parents and advocates are hoping that increased awareness about the condition will lead to an infusion of money into the special education budgets of Massachusetts school systems.

John Odgren, 16, of Princeton is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 19 attack on James Alenson, 15, in a boys’ bathroom at the school.

“I think one of the problems sometimes you see in a school system is a child with Asperger’s may do well academically, and so some of the schools don’t really understand the need for children who are very bright to also have the social and communications skills they’re going to need later on in life. It’s a hidden disability,” Dania Jekel, director of the Watertown-based Asperger’s Association of New England said.

-- Telegram Gazette of Worcester

Evidence gathered "worldwide" in Lincoln-Sudbury slay case

Posted February 2, 2007 06:38 PM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

The prosecutor in the murder case against a Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School student suggested today that the teenager's computers have become one focus of their investigation and evidence is being gathered "worldwide."

The comments came during a hearing today in Framingham District Court in which attorneys for GateHouse Media -- owner of the MetroWest Daily News -- argued that the search warrants issued in this case should be made public. Middlesex County assistant district attorney, Daniel Bennett, argued the warrants should remain impounded because they reveal much about the investigation's direction and could compromise evidence.

Bennett said his investigation could "center on computer information," and disclosure about the specifics of that could give people reasons to destroy or alter evidence.

"We're attempting to gather evidence worldwide," he said.

District Court Judge Paul Healy said he would review the issue and decide Monday afternoon.

-- Patricia Wen

Answers sought at Lincoln-Sudbury

Posted January 26, 2007 09:31 AM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

An overflow crowd of somber residents came to Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School last night, seeking to understand how the school's seeming safety was shattered when a 15-year-old freshman was stabbed to death last week and a special needs student was charged in the killing.

But school and town officials had no ready answers, only promises to conduct a thorough investigation of school policies as they analyze what led to the Jan. 19 killing of James Alenson, the Globe reports today.

Fellow student John Odgren, 16, of Princeton, who was enrolled in a program monitoring special education students with emotional or behavioral problems, was charged with fatally stabbing Alenson in a boys' bathroom.

-- By Maria Cramer and Kristen Green

Task force to search for answers in Lincoln-Sudbury slaying

Posted January 25, 2007 02:48 PM

NewRitchie.jpg
Superintendent and Principal John Ritchie wrote a letter to parents at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School saying he was ready for "tough questions" about last Friday’s fatal stabbing at school.
(Globe Staff Photo by Janet Knott)

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

Principal John Ritchie plans tonight to announce the formation of a team of town officials, school administrators, and local police to review last week's fatal stabbing at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School that left one student dead and another facing a first-degree murder charge.

Ritchie, who is also superintendent of the regional high school system, sent a letter home to parents that said that the school must, "review this tragedy, and determine what we need to, or can, learn from it."

Officials plan to make the announcement at a community meeting that will include school committee members, public safety officials, and Middlesex District Attorney Gerald T. Leone Jr. The meeting, at 7:30 p.m. at the high school auditorium in Sudbury, promises to bring difficult questions about school safety and early warning signs the accused killer may have shown when he attended Caldwell Alternative School in Fitchburg.

"Don't hold back your questions, even if they are tough ones," Ritchie wrote in the letter to parents. He added: "I don't view people asking tough questions of us, or wanting answers, or wanting to know clearly what steps we are planning on taking, or expressing anger, as being unsupportive.

"It is natural, understandable," Ritchie continued. "I -- as a parent myself -- would feel I'm sure many of the same fears and doubts as you may be feeling after what happened on Friday."

Prosecutors charged 16-year-old John Odgren with first-degree murder after they allege he stabbed James F. Alenson, 15, in a bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury early last Friday morning. Odgren pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The community and the students have rallied together, Ritchie told parents in the letter, and have leaned on each other.

"In profound ways, your children have helped me and us get through these past days, and I am deeply sorry that they have had to deal with something that no one should have to deal with," the letter says.

Regardless, Ritchie wrote that the school needs to examine its programs, policies, practices, and procedures with "unblinking eyes to determine what, if anything we've learned, and what we can or should do differently."

-- Andrew Ryan

Traipsing through the woods

Posted January 23, 2007 04:42 PM

snow3.jpg

LINCOLN

Rose LaPiana of Somerville and Claudia Owens of Hampstead, N.H. took a break from their jobs in Lincoln to walk on the snow-dusted Battle Road Trail today. Globe staff photographer Joanne Rathe caught the moment.

Emotions run high as Lincoln-Sudbury Regional reopens

Posted January 22, 2007 01:54 PM

Ritchie.JPG
Lincoln-Sudbury Superintendent John M. Ritchie meets with the media.
(Globe staff photo by Janet Knott)

SUDBURY

Students broke into a spontaneous and sustained applause today inside Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School auditorium, the first gathering since last week's murder of a student by a classmate inside a school bathroom.

"It wasn't for me," school Superintendent John M. Ritchie said to reporters, referring to the applause. "They wanted the school to feel they really love the place."

Last Friday, 16-year-old sophomore John Odgren allegedly stabbed fellow student, 15-year-old James Alenson, to death in a bathroom. Odgren is charged with first degree murder as an adult, has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held in a Department of Youth Services facility in Plymouth. His defense attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, has said Odgren was taking medications for a Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, and hyperactivity.

Police kept reporters off school grounds this morning, but officials met with the media. The press conference included the police chiefs of Sudbury and Lincoln.

Without going into specifics, Ritchie was skeptical of claims by students that Odgren had spoken of a desire to commit violence. He suggested the school staff did not hear of that kind of information before last Friday. "Who knows what he said to other students,'' Ritchie said.

Ritchie said he expects the school's security policy and its involvement in the special needs program utilized by Odgren to be closely scrutinized, a process he said he welcomes and supports. "It's totally expected for people to have questions, concerns and fears," he said.

Ritchie said attendance appeared close to normal for the 1,600 student body and that grief counselors, parents and police officers were spread throughout the school's campus. He described the mood as "somber ... right now, we are into grieving."

As he walked the halls, Ritchie said he was frequently embraced by students. "I've gotten more hugs today," he said. "I'm glad I am not germophobic."

Dismissal will be at the regular time today and a regular class schedule is planned for Tuesday. He said the school is still trying to figure how when to begin mid-term exams, originally set for this Thursday.

-- John R. Ellement

Listen to an audio clip of a classmate describing murder suspect John Odgren

Posted January 20, 2007 02:17 PM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

Classmates yesterday described 16-year-old murder suspect John Odgren as a social outcast who seemed obsessed with violent crime and weapons and whose questions and comments managed to seen inappropriate even in a class about crime scene forensics at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.

Odgren, who called himself "Jack" at school, sometimes wore trench coats and a fedora and small, round black sunglasses indoors. He appeared to have few friends, but would boast that he had a collection of weapons and that he knew about internet sites were weapons could be purchased, said a classmate, 16-year-old junior Brianna Hodge.

Listen to an audio clip of Brianna Hodge describing John Odgren.

-- Ralph Ranalli

Update: DA reassures Lincoln-Sudbury school community school is safe

Posted January 20, 2007 12:46 PM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

Middlesex district attorney Gerard Leone says he told parents and students gathered at the school today that yesterday's slaying at the school was an isolated incident and the school is safe.

"There's no reason to believe, based on everything we know, that this isn't a safe school," he said, after meeting with about 200 parents and students this morning.

Grief counselors were on hand at the school to help people cope with the incident. Another meeting will be held tomorrow.

John Odgren, 16, of Princeton is facing a murder charge in the killing of James Alenson, 15, at the school yesterday at about 7:20 a.m. after an argument erupted in the boys' bathroom.

-- Brian Ballou

Crisis counseling offered after Lincoln-Sudbury slaying

Posted January 20, 2007 10:38 AM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

Crisis counselors are meeting with Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School students and their parents this morning, a day after a 16-year-old student allegedly brought a long knife to school and fatally stabbed another student.

The students and parents walked past a makeshift of memorial candles on the ground in front of the school and a sign on the front entrance that read "In Memory of James Alenson -- Our Thoughts Are With You and Your Family."

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone was expected to give a brief speech to the assemblage.

John Odgren, of Princeton, is facing a murder charge in the killing of the 15-year-old Alenson, which happened at about 7:20 a.m. yesterday after an argument erupted in a boys' bathroom. Students were just arriving for classes.

The tragedy also generated an outpouring on blogs and message boards, the Globe's Local News Updates reports today.

-- Brian Ballou

Update: Fellow students say slaying suspect was an outcast

Posted January 19, 2007 08:56 PM

odgren.JPG
John Odgren dusts fingerprints during a summer crime scene forensics class at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner
(Worcester Telegram & Gazette file photo)

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

Sixteen-year-old John Odgren earlier this school year participated in a lab experiment for his forensic sciences class in which students used lead pipes and toy knives to splatter red corn-syrup ‘‘blood’’ against pieces of paper.

Yesterday, investigators from the State Police Crime Laboratory in Sudbury were conducting similar tests on the blood of Odgren’s 15-year-old classmate, James Alenson, which was spattered in a boy’s bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

‘‘It’s so strange thinking about that now,’’ said one of Odgren’s lab partners for the experiment. ‘‘It’s real.’’’

Odgren appeared to have few friends, but would boast to anyone within earshot that he had a collection of weapons and that he knew about Internet sites where weapons could be purchased, said Brianna Hodge, 16, a junior.

Odgren, who called himself ‘‘Jack’’ at school, sometimes wore trench coats, and often wore a fedora and small, round black sunglasses indoors, schoolmates said.

Katie Crowley, also a junior, said that Odgren’s manner of dress — especially his trenchcoat — made him the object of frequent jokes students told about the possibility that he might go on a rampage similar to the Columbine High School massacre. The Columbine killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, often wore long overcoats and had dubbed themselves the ‘‘Trenchcoat Mafia’’ before killing 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounding 23 others at the Colorado high school in 1999.

No one is laughing now, Crowley said.

‘‘Who would honestly be like, ‘I want to go out and kill someone,’’’ she said.

Hodge said Odgren would follow girls around and make inappropriate comments.

‘‘He wasn’t quite a stalker, but he kept asking my friend out, very persistent, very creepy,’’ Hodge said. ‘‘He just wouldn’t take no for an answer.’’

Odgren’s lab partner said he had frequently asked her out to lunch, but that his frequent questions to their forensic science teacher about ‘‘the best way to cover up a murder’’ and his talk about weapons had put her off. She mostly tried to avoid him, she said.

At Odgren’s arraignment in Framingham Juvenile Court yesterday, defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro of Boston said his client suffered from Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, as well as a hyperactivity disorder and that he had been taking medication for both in recent years.

Children with Asperger’s are often bright and articulate but often have trouble relating to peers because they become fixated on seemingly random topics and talk about them obsessively.

That tendency, known as ‘‘monologuing,’’ combined with an inability to read the facial cues for boredom or annoyance of those they are talking to, often results in Asperger’s children being unable to form peer friendships, specialists said.

Although friends said that Odgren’s fixation seemed to be on killing and weapons, specialists said children with Asperger’s are not generally violent.

Yesterday, two police cars were parked in front of the driveway of the Odgren home on Ball Hill Road in Princeton. Police officers said the family was not speaking to the media.

-- Ralph Ranalli

Update: teenager pleads not guilty in Lincoln-Sudbury slaying

Posted January 19, 2007 03:55 PM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

A 16-year-old student pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges today after prosecutors accused him of stabbing a classmate to death inside a bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.

John Odgren appeared in Framingham District Court wearing a white hooded jump suit and black wire-rim glasses. His father stood motionless in the front row of the public gallery as his wife, dressed in a nurses uniformed, leaned against her husband.

Middlesex County prosecutor Daniel Bennett told the judge that Odgren attacked 15-year-old James Alenson inside a school bathroom with a long knife just after 7 a.m. Bennett alleged that Odgren stabbed Alenson twice and said the blade pieced the freshman's heart. Thirty minutes after the attack, Alenson was found in a hallway in a pool of blood without a pulse, Bennett said.

In the principal's office, Bennett said that Odgren told investigators: "I did it. I did it."

Odgren also pleaded not guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and carrying a dangerous weapon on school grounds.

Outside court, defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro said Odgren had been under the care of doctors for psychological illnesses for years and took numerous medications.

"I know my client and his family feel for the victim and his family," Shapiro said.

Alenson, a freshman from Sudbury, was rushed to Emerson Hospital in Concord and pronounced dead at 8:12 a.m., said Bonnie Goldsmith, a hospital spokeswoman.

At a press conference earlier in the day, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone Jr. would not discuss what investigators suspect may have motivated the stabbing.

"What we believe now is that this is an isolated incident between these two students," Leone said. "There is no thought or belief that anyone else is in danger at this time."

Dozens of parents rushed to the school on Lincoln Road where there are about 1,600 students. The school went on lock-down for the next few hours as students were brought to the gymnasium. At about 10 a.m., all the students were sent home for the day, according to an e-mail school officials sent to parents in Sudbury.

High school Superintendent and Principal John Ritchie said at the press conference that teachers and staff were "obviously heart broken dealing with this." As recently as Wednesday, the faculty had met with police from Sudbury and Lincoln to discuss the high school's emergency safety response plan.

"That didn't prevent this from happening," Ritchie said. "But it did help us have a sense of how to respond, how to be calm, how to reassure students, where to go, how to listen to announcements. For me, that's a small consolation right now obviously what we are dealing with is the heartbreak of this student dying."

The response drew praise from State Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll, who extended his condolence to the victim's family in what he called "everyone's worst nightmare."

"Fortunately, the school and local authorities were well prepared and responded immediately," Driscoll said. "As a result, no one else was injured, the school was put into temporary lockdown quickly, and the entire student body was sent home safely soon after."

Grief counselors will be available today and through the weekend for students at the high school, Leone said.

At the time of the stabbing, Dr. Robert Sackstein, a physician at Harvard Medical School, had just dropped off his two twins, who are both freshmen at the high school. Sackstein didn't know someone had been stabbed at the time and was frustrated because he said he could have offered some medical assistance.

Several hours later he got a frantic phone call from his wife and rushed back to the school to get his children.

"The fact that it happened in Sudbury, Massachusetts," Sackstein said, "means that it can happen anywhere."

Update: 16-year-old to face first-degree murder charge in L-S stabbing

Posted January 19, 2007 02:01 PM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

The 16-year-old student accused of fatally stabbing a classmate inside a bathroom this morning at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School will be charged as an adult with first-degree murder, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

The suspect, who has not been identified, is scheduled to be arraigned in Framingham District Court at 2 p.m.

"What we believe now is that this is an isolated incident between these two students," Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone Jr. said earlier today at press conference at the school. "There is no thought or belief that anyone else is in danger at this time."

The victim, identified as 15-year-old James Alenson of Sudbury, was rushed to Emerson Hospital and pronounced dead at 8:12 a.m., said Bonnie Goldsmith, a hospital spokeswoman.

There was an altercation in a hallway connected to a bathroom and the 16-year-old suspect stabbed the Alenson with a knife, Leone said.

School officials sent an e-mail notice to parents in Sudbury this morning that said that the stabbing took place at about 7:20 a.m. The other 1,600 students in the school were placed on lock-down for safety reasons and then sent home at about 10 a.m.

Curtis Middle School and all Sudbury elementary schools will continue on a regular schedule today, according to the notice. Staff at those schools have been told about the stabbing, but they will not be telling the students.

"We are obviously heart broken dealing with this," said high school Superintendent and Principal John Ritchie at the press conference.

At the time of the stabbing, Dr. Robert Sackstein, a physician at Harvard Medical School, had just dropped off his two twins, who are both freshman at the high school. Sackstein didn't know someone had been stabbed at the time and was frustrated because he said he could have offered some medical assistance.

Several hours later he got a frantic phone call from his wife and rushed back to the school to get his children.

"The fact that it happened in Sudbury Massachusetts means that it can happen anywhere," Sackstein said.

Grief counselors will be available today and through the weekend for students at the high school, Leone said.

State Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said in a statement that "a tragedy of this magnitude defies explanation."

"It is critical that we do more to protect our children from experiencing or witnessing violence of this magnitude in their schools and communities," said Driscoll.

He extended his condolences to the victim's family and praised local authorities, who he said were "well prepared" and acted quickly to keep other students safe.

For updates on this story, check The Boston Globe's Local News Updates section on boston.com.

-- Andrew Ryan and Brian Ballou

Update: student to face murder charge in Lincoln-Sudbury stabbing

Posted January 19, 2007 12:13 PM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

A 15-year-old ninth grader at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School was stabbed to death early this morning in a school bathroom and another student has been arrested and will be charged with murder, according to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone Jr.

"What we believe now is this is an isolated incident between these two students," Leone said at press conference at the school. "We do not believe that any one else is in danger at this time."

There was an altercation in a hallway connected to a bathroom and the 16-year-old suspect stabbed the victim with a knife, Leone said. The suspect, who was not identified because he is a minor, will be arraigned on a murder charge in the juvenile session of Framingham District Court. He could be tried as an adult, Leone said.

The victim, identified by Leone as James Alenson, was rushed to Emerson Hospital and pronounced dead at 8:12 a.m., said Bonnie Goldsmith, a hospital spokeswoman.

School officials sent an e-mail notice to parents in Sudbury this morning that said that the stabbing took place at about 7:20 a.m. The other 1,600 students in the school were placed on lock-down for safety reasons and then sent home at about 10 a.m.

Curtis Middle School and all Sudbury elementary schools will continue on a regular schedule today, according to the notice. Staff at those schools have been told about the stabbing, but they will not be telling the elementary school students

A school administrator who spoke at the press conference said: "We are obviously heart broken, dealing with this."

A 15-year-old ninth grader at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School was stabbed to death early this morning in a school bathroom and another student has been arrested and will be charged with murder, according to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone Jr.

"What we believe now is this is an isolated incident between these two students," Leone said at press conference at the school. "We do not believe that any one else is in danger at this time."

There was an altercation in a hallway connected to a bathroom and the 16-year-old suspect stabbed the victim with a knife, Leone said. The suspect, who was not identified because he is a minor, will be arraigned on a murder charge in the juvenile session of Framingham District Court. He could be tried as an adult, Leone said.

The victim, identified by Leone as James Alenson, was rushed to Emerson Hospital and pronounced dead at 8:12 a.m., said Bonnie Goldsmith, a hospital spokeswoman.

School officials sent an e-mail notice to parents in Sudbury this morning that said that the stabbing took place at about 7:20 a.m. The other 1,600 students in the school were placed on lock-down for safety reasons and then sent home at about 10 a.m.

Curtis Middle School and all Sudbury elementary schools will continue on a regular schedule today, according to the notice. Staff at those schools have been told about the stabbing, but they will not be telling the elementary school students

A school administrator who spoke at the press conference said: "We are obviously heart broken, dealing with this."

For updates on this story, check The Boston Globe's Local News Updates section on boston.com.


Update: Lincoln-Sudbury students describe shock, confusion

Posted January 19, 2007 11:39 AM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

Shocked students at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High said this morning they were told that there had been a stabbing and that a student had died. They were ushered to classrooms or to the school gym, where teachers told them that they were “safe” and would be released for the day.

None of several students interviewed after they were dismissed at about 10:15 a.m. said they knew who the victim was or the identity of the alleged stabber. Several students said they were told by school officials not to talk to the news media.

“There is just a lot of confusion right now,” said one sophomore, who said he saw the victim's body being taken out of the school on a stretcher but declined to give his name for publication. “People had a lot of different reactions, they didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or how to feel.”

The Middlesex County District Attorney's office was scheduled to have a press conference at the school before noon.

For updates on this story, check The Boston Globe's Local News Updates section on boston.com.

-- Ralph Ranalli

Fatal stabbing at Lincoln-Sudbury High School

Posted January 19, 2007 10:44 AM

LINCOLN-SUDBURY

A ninth grader at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School was stabbed early this morning in a school bathroom, according to an e-mail notice officials sent to parents.

An unidentified stabbing victim was brought to Emerson Hospital in Concord early this morning and pronounced dead at 8:12 a.m., said Bonnie Goldsmith, a hospital spokeswoman, who would not say if the victim came from the high school. Goldsmith referred all additional questions to the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

Corey Welford, a spokesman for the district attorney, would only say that an "incident" took place and both police and investigators from the district attorney's office responded to the school. Sudbury police also referred all questions to the district attorney.

The notice sent out by school officials said that stabbing took place at about 7:20 a.m. The other student involved in the incident has been identified, school officials said. School officials did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

All of the 1,600 students at the high school were sent home at about 10 a.m. after the school was placed in lockdown following the stabbing, according to the notice.

Curtis Middle School and all Sudbury elementary schools will continue on a regular schedule today, according to the notice. Staff at those schools have been told about the stabbing, but they will not be telling the elementary school students.

For updates on this story, check The Boston Globe's Local News Updates section on boston.com.

-- Andrew Ryan

Matsuzaka mania hits Globe West

Posted December 14, 2006 03:01 PM

LINCOLN

matsuzaka.jpg

The man of the moment
(AP Photo)

A small crowd of fans showed up to welcome Red Sox Nation's newest member, Daisuke Matsuzaka, when his plane landed yesterday at Hanscom.

Mark Fairweather of Lincoln was one of them. He came to greet the Japanese star with his eight-year-old son.

"We thought we'd just come out here to take a look at him," he told the Associated Press. "I'm glad they're getting some good pitching."

-- Erica Tochin

Do they ever allow anything in Lincoln?

Posted December 14, 2006 02:54 PM

LINCOLN

Lincoln is "famous for not allowing anything," according to Charles Griffith, an architect out of Newburyport.

Griffith was quoted in a newspaper in New Jersey, where he is helping out with a proposal for a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Far Hills.

Griffith, who designed a CCRC project in Lincoln, said town officials there liked the concept because it would help them solve their affordable housing problems, the Bernardsville News reports.

-- Erica Tochin

Drumlin Farm a jewel in Lincoln

Posted November 30, 2006 09:40 AM

LINCOLN

drumlin.jpg

(A draft mule is all ears at Drumlin Farm, AP Photo by Mary Schwalm)

Craig Furman enjoys walking the trails and taking in the spectacular scenery at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. His 3-year-old daughter, Maia, loves the foxes and wild birds.

"This is why we moved here. This is our backyard. We come here almost every day," said Furman, gesturing over the Massachusetts Audubon Society property during a recent visit as Maia excitedly ran from pen to pen looking at the animals.

"There's just a sense of agriculture and history here that has been maintained in this suburban environment," Furman said. "It's so valuable to have something like this."

A working farm, a wildlife sanctuary, and an educational institution, the 232-acre property is one of the jewel's of Mass Audubon's 43 facilities, the Associated Press reports today.

Two injured in Route 2 crash

Posted November 18, 2006 09:02 AM

LINCOLN

A three-car accident on Route 2 sent two people to hospitals with serious injuries and closed the road for more than three hours last night, State Police said.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the driver of a Volkswagen Jetta traveling eastbound, crossed over the median around 8:30 p.m., striking a Mazda 626 and a Honda Civic. The driver of the Jetta was taken by ambulance to Lahey Clinic, and the driver of the Mazda was airlifted to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, both with serious injuries.

The driver of the Civic, Andrew Wedlake, of Westford, was uninjured. The names of the injured drivers were not released last night.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Verizon offers TV in more towns

Posted October 30, 2006 02:51 PM

REGION

Verizon Communications Inc. said today that it is offering its FiOS TV service to five new Massachusetts communities, including two in the Globe West area, and that the service is now available to just over 100,000 Bay State households.

Verizon said the service is now available in Acton, Andover, Hopkinton, Lincoln, and Nahant; Verizon describes the FiOS TV as "an alternative to monopoly cable giants."

"FiOS TV gives consumers an outstanding, superior alternative for their video entertainment," Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, said in a statement.

-- Chris Reidy

Nancy Bower, 66, research assistant at Harvard

Posted September 26, 2006 09:45 AM

Nancy Bower, who grew up in Newton and lived for a long time in Lincoln, died last Tuesday in her Cambridge home. She was 66.

Mrs. Bower mixed her academic and family life with grace, her family told the Globe. She married her husband, Joseph Bower, when she was a freshman at Radcliffe. A few years later, when her husband was named to the faculty at the Harvard Business School, she started working as a research assistant. By then, the couple already had two children.

"She had an astonishing ability to manage the people who worked with her," said her husband.

bower.jpg


Dr. Albert C. England, 94

Posted September 18, 2006 04:31 PM

LINCOLN

Albert C. England remembered riding around in a horse and buggy while his father made house calls during his childhood in Pittsfield.

Many years later, Dr. England made house calls himself in Lincoln, often with one of his three children in tow.

Dr. England, a neurologist who specialized in Parkinson's disease and epilepsy, died August 27 at Clark House. He was 94 and had been living in Lincoln for 50 years.

As a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. England had his own private practice. He was also an assistant to the late Dr. Robert S. Schwab, who pioneered treatment for Parkinson's.

The two developed the Schwab and England Activity of Daily Living Scale, a series of questions which helped numerically rate patients and the functions they could perform.

The scale is still in use today.

Next stop: environmental conservation

Posted September 9, 2006 09:34 AM

LINCOLN

Andrea Silbert, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, will go on a two-day "whistlestop kayak tour" starting today, and she's bringing her act to Lincoln tomorrow.

The tours will focus on environmental conservation. Silbert, her husband, and her supporters will kayak and canoe down the Sudbury River in Lincoln starting at 9 a.m.

Silbert is running for the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 19 election against Deborah Goldberg and Timothy Murray.

-- Erica Tochin

Rufus Grason, 88, of Lincoln

Posted September 6, 2006 08:24 AM

LINCOLN

Rufus L. Grason of Lincoln, a pioneer in the field of hearing tests, has died. He was 88.

"He was enormously inventive technically," his longtime business partner, Steven Stadler says in a Globe obituary today. "He had great authority when he spoke with scientists."

In 1952, he helped develop one of the first audiometers, and between 1970 and 1978, he came up with five new audiometer models and two middle-ear analyzers. The hearing test devices became mandatory in many elementary schools.

"He was a very quiet, family-oriented man, and yet he was known around the world in his specific area of specialty," said his daughter Kathryn Ramon of Lincoln.


Gropius House lit up

Posted August 28, 2006 04:44 PM

LINCOLN

Fans of architecture and landscape can see one of the great 20th-century houses shine at night this week.

The Walter Gropius House (1938) in Lincoln lights up Friday for an end-of-summer evening to show off the artful interior lighting effects designed by Gropius (1883-1969), founder of the Bauhaus art and architecture school in Germany, who emigrated in 1937 to teach at Harvard.

The program, hosted by Historic New England, includes a slide show with an in-depth biography of Gropius and an introduction to the Bauhaus school, a house tour, and dessert and coffee on the back porch.

Illuminating evening tours will continue on the first and third Fridays of the month through November and resume in April. A limit of 10 people makes for an intimate evening -- and mandatory advance reservations, even if it's the day of the tour.

-- Jane Roy Brown

Anger and management

Posted August 9, 2006 08:42 AM

LINCOLN

Sandy Millar remembers the days when she could set her watch by the Commuter Rail train service on the Fitchburg line.

"You can't do that anymore," said the Lincoln resident. And worse: "Frequently the toilets are not in good operating use."

Millar was one of a number of Commuter Rail riders who vented their frustration at the rail line management's response to the Big Dig crisis at a North Station meeting yesterday, Globe correspondent Ari Bloomekatz reports in today's City & Region section.

Farmers' Bounty

Posted August 5, 2006 10:55 AM

FOOD/REGIONAL

With surging interest in organic and locally grown food, many of us are stealing a few minutes to pull over at stands operated by local growers such as Land's Sake in Weston, Hanson's Farm in Framingham, the Natick Community Organic Farm in South Natick, Applefield Farm in Stow, Blue Heron Organic Farm, and Drumlin Farm in Lincoln.

The western suburbs also host more than a dozen weekly farmers' markets, which are rapidly growing in popularity.

Find out why, and learn how to get fresh produce close to home in Sunday's Globe West

-- Erica Noonan

Down on the farm

Posted July 10, 2006 01:12 PM

LINCOLN

I spent yesterday morning under the hot sun weeding rows of chard and cabbage at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. I'm a member of their community-supported agriculture program, which provides me with a weekly ration of fresh, locally-grown produce throughout the summer and fall. Members are invited to volunteer at the farm to see first-hand how their food is grown, and get a sneak preview of the coming weeks' supply.

Interested in finding a CSA program near you?

--Emily Shartin

Memories of a war-torn country

Posted July 6, 2006 04:44 PM

LINCOLN

U.S. Marines stormed yesterday through Ramadi General Hospital, the largest in western Iraq, taking control of a facility allegedly used by insurgents, the AP reported.

Thomas Risser was there just recently. Risser, a doctor from Lincoln who sent us dispatches about his deployment with the Marines, was profiled on Sunday in Globe West.

Risser wrote in an email today that he visited the hospital in February and even then it was thought to be a "node" for the insurgency. His tour of the facility and inspection of sites where the U.S. was planning to install a medical waste incinerator and a generator, required a lot of security: eight gun trucks, 50 Marines, a bomb disposal team, 3 warplanes and a truckload of Iraqi Army soldiers -- even though the hospital was visible from a U.S. base.

"Denying the insurgency of a haven in the form of the huge complex which is Ramadi General Hospital, which includes a medical school, seems like prudent policy. ... With luck, no facilities of the hospital complex will be damaged, but the insurgency will be evicted from its premises," Risser wrote.

Lincoln couple gives $12.35m to Harvard

Posted June 29, 2006 05:23 PM

LINCOLN

Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport of Lincoln have given $12.35 million to permanently endow Harvard’s Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.

The Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation and Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers announced the gift today.

The Rappaport family and foundation have provided more than $2.75 million in grants to fund the Institute since its founding in 2000. Today’s endowment gift will increase that support to more than $15 million.

Phyllis Rappaport said in a statement that the institute has created "opportunities for critical dialogue on tough issues. It has forced people to step outside of the box and has established powerful mechanisms for corrective and constructive feedback and advice.”

About globe west updates Welcome to Globe West Updates, the news blog of the Globe West regional section of The Boston Globe. Check in with us often to see updated items about Boston's western suburbs from our staff reporters and correspondents. Give us your reaction to our stories in the print editions or on the blog by using the form below. Get involved — with Globe West!
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