The marijuana discovered last week by firefighters in Newton Fire Chief John LaCroix's city-issued car belonged to his grandson and was mistakenly put in the vehicle by his wife, Marlborough police said today.
Sean LaCroix, 19, who lives with his grandparents in Marlborough, admitted to police that he owned the drugs, Marlborough police captain Paul Valianti said. Police will determine whether to file charges this week.
"It's extremely clear as to whose marijuana it was," said Valianti, adding that it was an "extremely small amount" of marijuana.
The drugs fell out of Sean LaCroix's pocket on Wednesday night inside the LaCroix home, Valianti said.
LaCroix's wife found the drugs, and they decided to put the drugs in her car with the intention of taking it to the police station the following day, Valianti said. LaCroix's wife mistakenly placed the marijuana in the the fire chief's car without his knowledge, he said.
Firefighters doing a "routine" cleaning of the chief's car on Thursday discovered the drugs under the driver's seat and alerted LaCroix, who then went to city hall and informed officials there, city spokesman Jeremy Solomon has said.
After hearing LaCroix's explanation, officials from the city's human resources, legal and executive department advised the chief to go to his hometown police station.
In a written statement on Friday, LaCroix said, "The discovery came as a shock to me...I have never imperiled the safety of Newton firefighters or the general public by using or possessing illegal drugs."
Solomon said today that the 62-year-old LaCroix voluntarily took a drug test at a hospital nearby to "eliminate any question about his fitness for duty." The drug test, however, was "not at the city's behest or recommendation," Solomon said.
-- Rachana Rathi
The principal of Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough, Mary Jo Nawrocki, has been selected as one of two Massachusetts Principals of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Met Life corporation.
Nawrocki has worked at Assabet for 30 years. She has served as principal since 2003. The award includes a attending a three-day Principal's Institute in Washington, DC.
In granting the award, the association in a statement said Nawrocki had improved the academic quality of the technical school significantly.
-- John Dyer
In the wake of Governor Deval Patrick's recently veto of a $75,000 state budget earmark to fund economic development groups Marlborough 2010 Corporation Executive Director John Riordan said he is seeking a more permanent state funding mechanism for quasi-public organizations that promote growth.
Riordan said that while he was thankful that the legislature has helped fund Marlborough 2010 in the past, he said it would be better if the corporation's funding was secured as a recurring line item rather than an earmark that can be caught up in Statehouse political wrangling.
The earmark vetoed by Patrick represents about was one-third of the corporation's annual budget, Riordan said.
-- John Dyer
Marlborough officials are asking boaters and swimmers to stay out of the Ft. Meadow Reservoir tomorrow, when it will be treated with an herbicide to control the invasive milfoil plant that is already starting to clog the waterway.
|Milfoil: The uninvited guest that just won't leave. (Globe file image)|
Anyone seeking more information is urged to contact the Conservation Commission at 508-460-3768.
-- Lisa Kocian
Several local banks and the city's redevelopment authority, Marlborough 2010, have established a new $700,000 development loan fund, which the city hopes will boost the downtown and French Hill neighborhood, officials said.
"In an environment where there is a daily drumbeat of negative news about lending and credit availability, this is a remarkable commitment by the participating financial institutions to provide much needed gap financing for challenging but important projects that will enhance the commercial vitality of the city," said John Riordan, Marlborough 2010's executive director, in a press release.
Sovereign Bank, St. Mary's Credit Union, Middlesex Savings Bank, Marlborough Savings Bank, Avidia Bank, and Marlborough Co-Operative Bank, have all contributed to the fund, the group announced.
-- Lisa Kocian
Special Olympics Massachusetts will be moving its headquarters from Danvers to Marlborough with the help of a $2.5 million grant from the Yawkey Foundation, officials said.
The new 25,000-square-foot building will be named the Yawkey Sports Training Center, thanks to the large grant, which will fund nearly a quarter of the estimated $10.5 million cost for the facility. Groundbreaking is expected some time this fall.
"Marlborough is central to all of Massachusetts and all of New England," said Bob Johnson, the president & CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts. "We’re very excited about this."
The organization has now raised $5.8 million for the center, he said. Slated to open in the Fall of 2009, the facility will serve more than 10,000 athletes, 11,000 volunteers, and 1,600 coaches.
-- Lisa Kocian
Mary Carlson, who has been serving and Marlborough's interim superintendent and high school principal since January, has been appointed superintendent of schools for a two-year term beginning July 1.
Carlson has been interim superintendent since January, when her predecessor, Barbara McGann, unexpectedly resigned. Mayor Nancy Stevens cited a sellers' market for superintendents as one reason for the move.
"Currently, 48 school superintendent searches are underway in the commonwealth, which results in a particularly competitive climate, making it difficult to find qualified candidates," Stevens said in a press release. "We had only to look internally to find a great and wonderfully qualified administrator."
Carlson is a 1970 graduate of Marlborough High School and has a master's degree in Education Leadership from Framingham State College. She has worked in the Marlborough school district since 1975, serving as Marlborough High School's principal for the last seven years.
The School Committee will launch a search in June 2009 to find Carlson's successor, the mayor said.
-- Lisa Kocian
A state Department of Corrections employee has been suspended with pay after being arrested Sunday night for driving through a Marlborough Dunkin' Donuts drive-through window while naked, WHDH/Channel 7 is reporting on its web site.
Police said that Steven Gerrior, 25, allegedly pulled up to the window around 6:30 p.m. Sunday and fondled himself while waiting for his coffee.
Gerrior was arrested for open and gross lewdness. He was arraigned Monday morning and released without bail. State Department of Corrections officials said they are investigating the incident.
Mayor Nancy Stevens announced this week that she will not run for state representative or state senator, two posts that will soon be open.
State Sen. Pam Resor, an Acton Democrat, recently announced her retirement at the end of this term. State Rep. Stephen LeDuc, a Marlborough Democrat, is resigning his Beacon Hill seat to take a job as assistant clerk magistrate at the Marlborough District Court.
“I truly love what I do as mayor," said Stevens. "I do not want the residents of Marlborough to assume that my having even considered the possible opportunities was reflective of the job as mayor or my commitment to the community. I considered the potential options only to evaluate if I could better serve the residents of the city in another capacity.”
-- Lisa Kocian
State Rep. Stephen P. LeDuc, a Marlborough Democrat, has announced that he is resigning his Beacon Hill seat to take a job as assistant clerk magistrate for the Marlborough District Court.
LeDuc, 39, has been a state representative for 11 years in a district that now consists of Marlborough, Berlin, and part of Southborough. He was first elected at the age of 21 to the Marlborough City Council, on which he served six years.
LeDuc had said earlier this month that he was considering a senate run to fill the seat that will be vacated by state Sen. Pam Resor, who just announced her retirement. Two other candidates have announced their intentions to run for the senate seat: State Rep. Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, and Marlborough City Councilor Steven Levy, a Republican.
Marlborough Mayor Nancy Stevens, a Democrat, has also said she is considering a run for Resor's seat.
-- Lisa Kocian
Children are the last people you might think of when planning a heart screening, but one out of every 350 people screened has a cardiac abnormality that could be serious if left untreated.
Those statistics have prompted school officials in Marlborough to offer all students in grades 2 through 12 at Marlborough High School on Thursday evening, March 6.
The screenings, which are co-sponsored by the Marlborough Junior Women's Club, cost $49 per child and are available only by prior registration. Anyone wishing to register may do so either by calling 1-866-722-8008 cq or logging onto the web site of HeartScreen America, which administers the tests.
The last day to register is March 4.
-- Lisa Kocian
Should a new subdivision be named after a movie star or a local veteran?
The Marlborough Planning Board will be tackling that thorny issue at its meeting Monday night in Memorial Hall. The subdivision, which is off Farm Road, includes an old farmhouse that was owned by the family of screen queen Bette Davis.
The neighborhood cannot use her full name because of licensing issues, according to the city planning office. So, the debate now is whether to name it Davis Estates or to name the subdivision after a local veteran.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
-- Lisa Kocian
An immigrant advocacy group that organized over the summer is gathering steam, organizing an ESL class and planning two educational seminars for the new year. .
The first seminar to be offered by the Brazilian Civil Rights Coalition next month aims to educate the Brazilian community about rules of the road. Coalition member Nilton Lisboa said he hears complaints about immigrant drivers, so the group contacted the Registry of Motor Vehicles to come out and give a talk.
The next seminar will focus on American politics, said Lisboa, so immigrants will know how they can get involved even if they can’t vote.
The coalition is also seeking more volunteers. Anyone interested in the new group's offerings is urged to call 508-667-1439.
-- Lisa Kocian
The Massachusetts Special Olympics hopes to start building a new $10 million, 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Marlborough next year, according to Bob Johnson, the organization's president and CEO.
Although the organization has other offices around the state, the new state-of-the-art office and training center would replace the existing state headquarters in Danvers, said Johnson.
"We want to be more central," he said of the move. "We're an organization that's growing pretty dramatically."
Statewide, the organization serves 11,000 people with intellectual disabilities now and projects the number to double over the next five years, he said. The new facility, which will have a full-size gym but is not for competitions, will be off Interstate 495, on Forest Street, said Johnson.
About one third of the $10 million needed has been raised and the plan is to break ground once fundraisers reach the halfway point of $5 million.
-- Lisa Kocian
Skaters, especially beginners, can hit the ice for a cause next weekend in Marlborough.
On Saturday, Dec. 1, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., half of the $4 admission fee to the Navin Ice Skating Rink will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts.
The foundation works to grant wishes to children with life threatening illnesses. Around the state, 23 other rinks operated for the state by Facility Management Corporation will hold similar fundraisers with a goal to raise at least $10,000, the company annnounced.
-- Lisa Kocian
Green Marlborough, a local environmental group, will give away reusable shopping bags at the post office on Saturdays from Dec. 1 to Dec. 22
About 380 billion disposable plastic bags are given out annually around the country, costing retailers – and therefore consumers--about $1 billion a year, a press release from the group states. In addition, millions of barrels of oil and petroleum are used annually to produce the bags, depleting natural resources and producing pollution during the manufacturing process.
Hannaford’s Market in Marlborough has donated 200 of the bags to be distributed, according to the release.
-- Lisa Kocian
City Councilor Maura Navin Webster (far right) has resigned her seat less that two weeks after being elected.
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)
Less than two weeks after being re-elected in an uncontested race, Marlborough City Councilor Maura Navin Webster has resigned her seat to take a job with the American Heart Association in Framingham.
Webster said she is excited about her new post as senior director of communications for the Worcester market but that she has mixed feelings about leaving politics. Both her father and grandfather served as state representatives.
"Public service is what my family does," she said in a telephone interview today. "That's how I was raised. I know nothing else."
The American Heart Association, which has a strong public and government lobbying program, requires that employees like Webster leave elected office as a qualification for employment. Webster, who has been a councilor for four years, said she got the job offer on election night.
The City Council will now have to call a special election to fill her Ward 5 seat. Webster said she said she hopes it can be held in conjunction with the presidential primary early next year to save money for the city. Her resignation takes effect Jan. 6.
-- Lisa Kocian
The accidental release of 6,000 gallons of magnesium hydroxide into the Assabet River in May from Marlborough's Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant will cost the city $1,000 in administrative fees, in addition to the cost of repairs, the Worcester Business Journal is reporting.
On May 7, workers accidentally allowed the chemical to overflow from a storage tank, resulting in elevated pH levels in the river several miles downstream from the plant, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, the newspaper reported.
The City Council could vote as soon as its next meeting Nov. 19 to restrict any casino development from coming to the city.
"I have not heard any opposition to it at this point from any of the councilors," said City Council President Arthur Vigeant, who initiated the measure. "It's basically allowing the city to make a choice. It's a little insurance policy for us. It gives us an option if someone wants to bring a casino to the city."
If the council approves the ordinance, which forbids any uses not explicitly allowed by law already, a casino would then have to request it be changed before a single card could be dealt.
Currently, there is no formal casino development proposal, but Marlborough is rumored to be a potential location if a recommendation by Governor Deval Patrick to allow such gaming is approved by the state Legislature.
-- Lisa Kocian
A conservative Episcopal parish in Marlborough is bolting the denomination, in the latest indication that even in liberal Massachusetts the Episcopal Church is losing congregations over its support for gay rights.
Holy Trinity Church in Marlborough is leaving behind its building, renting space in a nearby Methodist church, and affiliating with the Anglican Mission in the Americas, which is overseen by the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, Globe religion writer Michael Paulson reports today.
The small Marlborough congregation, with about 70 active members, is following a national trend in which conservative Episcopal congregations are leaving the Episcopal Church USA to affiliate with theologically like-minded Anglican provinces in Africa.
The Marlborough congregation is the third local group of Episcopal parishioners to bolt this year. In January, many of the parishioners of All Saints Episcopal in Attleboro left to form All Saints Anglican in Attleboro and in September, most of the parishioners of All Saints Episcopal in West Newbury left to form All Saints Anglican in Amesbury. The new Attleboro congregation is affiliated with the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, the new Amesbury congregation with the Anglican Church of Kenya.
There are also several other Anglican congregations in Eastern Massachusetts - including in Brewster, Brockton, Middleborough, and Sandwich - that have been formed by individuals who are unhappy with the direction of the Episcopal Church.
Read more about the breakaway parish in the online edition of today's Globe.
MetroWest police are trying to figure out if an attempted robbery during which a victim was stabbed was part of a gang initiation, WCVB/NewsCenter 5 is reporting.
Ashland police said a man was stabbed and robbed at the Presidents Row apartment complex on Saturday.
Ronald Dias, 18, of 20 Presidents Row, and Shingirai Murungu, 17, of 346 Mechanic St., Marlborough, face charges of attempted murder in connection with the attack. They also face assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, attempted armed robbery, mayhem and assault with intent to rob charges.
The state will begin feasibility studies for local school projects about a month earlier than anticipated, potentially allowing some projects to be ready for Town Meeting votes next spring, staff writer James Vaznis of the reports in the Globe's City & Region Section today.
On Nov. 2, the state School Building Authority will decide which school districts' proposed projects to study first. Other districts will be selected on a rolling basis after that.
Being selected for a feasibility study doesn't automatically guarantee construction funding, but it is a prerequisite. More than a dozen school districts west of Boston are among 161 districts statewide competing for about $500 million in construction funds this year, the first time in four years the state is doling out school construction money.
In choosing which feasibility studies to pursue first, the state has been dispatching inspection teams to analyze building conditions and enrollment trends, visiting 90 districts so far. Those districts include Berlin-Boylston, Franklin, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Nashoba, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Shrewsbury, Wayland, and Wellesley.
The resulting studies, which should be completed this winter, will give the state the first glimpse of how much it could potentially cost to do all the projects. In all, 161 districts have expressed interest in 422 school projects.
The Raytheon Company has donated $75,000 to the Marlborough 2010 Corporation, to be distributed evenly over the next three years.
The gift represents the largest investment in Marlborough 2010, since the economic development initiative was launched in April 2006, according to a press release from Mayor Nancy Stevens. Raytheon, a defense contractor, has also appointed a representative to the executive board of Marlborough 2010.
"As one of the city's largest employers, and a vital engine of economic activity and investment in the city, we are delighted to have Raytheon join our board," said John Riordan, Marlborough 2010's executive director, in a press release.
-- Lisa Kocian
A controversial sign ordinance has been tabled by the Marlborough City Council after weeks of criticism from the business community.
The ordinance called for free-standing business signs to be phased out gradually in favor of smaller, shorter signs made from wood or wood-like material. Internally lit signs were to be replaced by remotely lit versions.
"It just was missing so many pieces and it still needs work," said Susanne Morreale-Leeber, president and CEO, Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. "I'm pleased that it's tabled at this time. I think the business community should weigh in more heavily on it."
-- Lisa Kocian
With the City Council and the business community at an impasse over a draft sign ordinance, the council's Urban Affairs Committee called for a public hearing Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. at City Hall.
The proposed ordinance calls for existing free-standing business signs to be phased out gradually in favor of smaller, shorter signs made from wood or wood-like material. The Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce has complained that itâ€™s too restrictive and will force most businesses to spend a lot of money to comply.
-- Lisa Kocian
Federal immigration officers will not open an office in Marlborough.
In June the City Council had asked Mayor Nancy Stevens to explore the feasibility of inviting the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to open an office in the city at local taxpayer expense. But in talks with federal immigration officials, it has become clear that the cityâ€™s request will not be granted, Stevens said in a letter addressed to the City Council dated Aug. 23.
Further, Assistant City Solicitor Panagore Griffin issued an opinion saying that local government cannot spend money to support immigration control because it is a federal matter, the letter stated. ICE has had â€śnumerous similar requests,â€ť Stevens continued, and will respond collectively to the communities.
An ICE special agent has agreed to appear before the City Council to discuss how the federal agency can support Marlborough but no date has been set, according to Stevens.
-- Lisa Kocian
With the flood of wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan these days, the annual sale of forget-me-nots by the Disabled American Veterans organization has quickly gone from a quaint annual custom to an activity that is both urgently needed and painfully relevant.
The fund raiser, which begins today, is conducted around the country by local chapters of the Kentucky-based organization. The flowers will be sold at a variety of sites around the city through Sept. 3.
Anyone seeking for more information about the DAV's mission is urged to visit the group online.
-- Lisa Kocian
After the state found the West Nile virus among mosquitoes on Locke Drive cq last week, the city increased spraying in that area last week.
Locke Drive is in the northwest part of the city, west of Interstate 495 and south of 290. It’s near West Hill Road, where a dead blue jay tested positive for the virus the previous week, according to Robert Landry, the sanitarian and administrator for the Marlborough Health Department.
In addition, the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project will continue the weekly spraying and testing it normally does, said Landry.
Officials are urging anyone seeking more information to visit the CMMCP online.
-- Lisa Kocian
Developer Sheldon Adelson
While the Wampanoag tribe presses forward with its plan to build a casino in Middleboro, Sheldon Adelson, majority shareholder and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette he remains interested in building a resort style casino “in the Marlborough area” off Interstate 495.
“It’s up to the government, the governor and the legislature,” Adelson said of the decisions facing the state over whether to allow casino gambling.
His comments came after a two-hour private meeting at the Statehouse with House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, D-Boston, who has opposed expanded gaming in the state in the past, staff writer John J. Monahan reports.
Mr. Adelson, considered the third wealthiest person in the country with more than $20 billion in assets, has a home in Newton. He emphasized that he spoke with Mr. DiMasi about the pending decisions over casinos yesterday both as a concerned resident and a casino developer.
“I care more about what happens in Massachusetts with all my family here. I told the speaker and I’d tell the governor, I put on two hats. One is my resident hat. My other is my commercial hat. They are two different things,” said Mr. Adelson, who grew up in Dorchester.
“I am a Massachusetts resident. I still have a home here. My ex-wife came from Worcester,” he said of his ties to the state.
Asked if he was preparing to develop a full-scale resort casino here at this point, he said, “If the state wants to do it, yeah.”
Read more about this story in the online version of the T&G
For the first time this summer, a bird carrying West Nile virus has been found in Massachusetts. The infected blue jay was detected in Marlborough and tested positive yesterday, staff writer Stephen Smith of the Globe's Health & Science staff reports today.
No human cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported this year in the state. Last year, three people contracted the illness in Massachusetts; all survived.
So far this year, most human cases of the disease have been reported west of the Mississippi River, with California reporting 27 cases, the most in the nation.
In the most severe cases, the infection can cause a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one of every 150 people infected with West Nile develops severe symptoms.
To avoid contact with infected mosquitoes, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recommends limiting outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, peak biting times for mosquitoes. Otherwise, wear as much clothing as comfortable and apply insect repellent such as DEET, permethrin, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
DEET should not be used on infants under the age of 2 months and should be used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.
Click here to see a press release from the Marlborough mayor's office.
The town of Marlborough has received a $10 million grant from the Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion (MORE) Jobs program to help upgrade its outdated and at-capacity water treatment facility, the Worcester Business Journal reports.
"Without upgrading the facility, all major economic development in Marlborough would come to a grinding halt," said John Riordan, executive director of Marlborough 2010, a state-chartered public-private economic development collaborative for Marlborough.
Neighbors of a Massachusetts teenager who died Tuesday when the wall of a barn collapsed on him in New Hampshire described him as a "good guy" who excelled in track and in school.
Travis Desimone, 17, of Marlborough, Mass. was helping renovate the building in Marlborough, N.H., when a 4-by-6-foot section of cement wall fell on him, Globe Correspondent Emily A. Canal reports.
"He was a great guy, just a normal kid," said Glenn Richardson , a neighbor.
Detective Steve LaMears of the Marlborough, N.H., Police Department said the fall could have been caused by Desimone's sawing of pipe that connected to the wall, or the vibrations of the tool he was working with.
"All the walls of the barn are free-standing, only connecting to the roof," LaMears said. "It is possible that with Mother Nature and time the cement became loose with the vibration inside."
Read more about the tragedy in the Globe's City & Region section online.
-- Globe City & Region section
Twelve jobs in Marlborough will be cut after Authorize.net, an Internet payment company, was bought out by a California competitor.
The buyout will increase the presence of CyberSource Corporation in the Northeast, but will cut all of the positions at Authorize.net's Massachusetts location. Their locations in Utah and Washington state will not lose any employees.
-- Hiawatha Bray
St. Mary's, circa Palm Sunday 2004
(Photo by Sean Dougherty for the Boston Globe)
A City Council subcommittee has approved a special permit to allow a developer to construct 36 residential units at the site of the former St. Mary’s on Broad Street.
The five-member Urban Affairs Committee approved allowing the developer to construct 10 units in the church building, 10 units in a former school on the site, and five units in the former rectory. Eleven new townhouse units will be built in the rear of the premises.
The special permit must be approved by at least eight members of the full 11-member Council, which will vote on the permit at its June 11 meeting.
-– Calvin Hennick
City councilor Richard Towle proposed the freeze as a way to help seniors pay their tax bills as housing values have soared.
(Globe staff photo by John Blanding)
A proposal to freeze the property taxes of nearly 500 city residents age 75 and older will now go to the state legislature after gaining city council approval.
The rule applies only to residents who have lived in Marlborough 25 years or more and those who qualify for the state's senior "circuit breaker" tax credit.
City councilor Richard Towle -- who is not old enough to qualify for the exemption -- said he proposed it as a way to help seniors pay their tax bills as housing values have soared. Towle also recently announced he would not seek reelection.
-- Megan Woolhouse
An accounting miscalculation gave the Marlborough schools an extra $788,000 in next year's proposed school budget, but city officials are not about to let the school department hang onto the extra money.
This week, city councilor Richard Towle, a retired English teacher, proposed restoring $288,000 of the money to the schools budget, citing numerous programs where the money could be used. He also said a growing number of children are opting out of the public schools to attend the Advanced Math & Science Academy charter school in the city.
The measure failed to pass. Finance Committee chairman Mike Ossing, who discovered the accounting error, said that every department in the city could "find a use for the money."
-- Megan Woolhouse
Gina Gallagher of Marlborough is a mom who wants the other moms to shut up about their perfect kids.
In fact, that's the name of her new book "Shut Up About ... Your Perfect Kid!.
Gallagher, who wrote the book with her sister Patricia Konjoian, has a daughter with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, the Fresno Bee reports.
The two are trying to kickstart a "movement of imperfection." They want to speak for parents of children with developmental disorders and mental conditions who think their kids are wonderful, too.
-- Adam Sell
Berlin is the latest of three communities along Route 495 to be hit by a robber wielding what is believed to be a blood-filled syringe.
A man wearing a black ski mask and black jacket and brandishing the syringe walked into the Shell gas station on Central Street last Wednesday evening and screamed for money, Police Chief Otto F. Rhode Jr. said. The man grabbed the entire cash register drawer and ran away. A state police K-9 unit tracked his cent to a Rte. 495 on-ramp, where police believe a car was waiting.
Rhode said the robbery may be linked to similar thefts in Marlborough and Hudson last month.
-- Jennifer Rosinski
Massachusetts utility regulators have approved a plan to let the City of Marlborough buy electricity for residents and businesses through a buyer's cooperative that might get better rates than National Grid USA offers.
The plan is similar to the Cape Light Compact, a group that buys electricity for 200,000 Cape Cod residents unless they opt out. The Marlborough plan will pool 14,000 customers who get "basic service" as soon as May.
Customers will continue to pay National Grid for delivering electricity but pay Marlborough to contract with a competitive supplier for power, as long as it can get a lower rate than National Grid's.
Department of Telecommunications and Energy officials hope other local cooperatives will emerge.
-- Peter J. Howe
Authorities are investigating a student's fall from a balcony yesterday at Marlborough High School, School Committee member Robert Seymour told the Globe.
Seymour and city officials did not identify the teen or release her condition. Seymour said she was being treated at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
Superintendent Barbara E. McGann wrote in an e-mail to parents that a "medical incident" had occurred and that a student was transferred to a medical facility and was receiving treatment. At a press conference yesterday, an aide to Mayor Nancy Stevens said the city would release no additional information.
Several students said they were detained in class for about an hour afterwards. A school crisis team offered support to parents and students last night at the high school library.
-- Boston Globe staff
Developers who want to convert a factory into 95 apartments told officials last week that they are willing to create 10 below-market units elsewhere in the city.
The Maple Street building, known locally as Design Pak and topped with a distinctive water tower, has been largely vacant for years except for a print shop. Two Acton natives, Joe Pittorino and David Nyberg, bought the building for $2.3 million last year.
Their lawyer, Arthur Bergeron of Marlborough, said they expect the project to increase the building's assessed value from $1 million to $10 million. The developers asked the City Council's Urban Affairs committee to approve the off-site units as a way for them to comply with the city's affordable housing rules.
Bergeron said the money could be used to renovate existing housing. The city has asked the developers to install 700 feet of granite curbing in front of the building and to chip in $20,000 for traffic measures.
A union lawyer in a contract battle with with Mayor Nancy E. Stevens says that the city does not have a $4.2 million health care trust fund debt as officials have claimed.
Jack Canzoneri, lawyer for the Marlborough Police Patrol Officers Association and the city's Public Works Equipment Operators Association said union and city consultants now agree that the $4.2 million figure long cited in discussions about the debt in the city employees healthcare fund should actually be much less -- about $850,000.
City officials have said the deficit and rising health care costs were forcing them to raise city employee healthcare premiums for the next three fiscal years. A federal mediator has been named to facilitate the talks between the mayor and the 120 city employees who would be affected by a healthcare increase.
"The city offered no explanation at the arbritration as to how its comptroller and the mayor could be off ... " Canzoneri wrote in a press release.
A spokeswoman for the mayor said she would review the information before commenting.
-- Megan Woolhouse
The developers of a proposed 95-unit luxury apartment complex in the old Design Pak factory building have offered city officials a new plan to meet the city's affordable housing criteria.
Instead of giving the city $190,000 -- or $2,000 for every new unit they build -- the developers will create 10 affordable housing units elsewhere in the city. Exactly where has not yet been determined, according to Arthur Bergeron, a lawyer for the developer.
City officials also want the developers to install 700 feet of granite curbing along the building's Maple Street frontage (worth $50,000) as well as pay for added traffic enforcement ($20,000-worth).
The deal will be voted on by the city council's Urban Affairs subcommittee before going to the full City Council. The developers, Joe Pittorino and David Nyberg, are Acton natives who bought the building for $2.3 million last year.
The big stinker himself
(Photo: Laurie Swope for the Boston Globe)
Anyone checking out marlboroughforum.com, an on-line forum for comments on all things Marlborough, will find that the actions of former pro wrestler Christopher "The Skunk" Antal, written about in Sunday's Globe West, have caused a stir.
The Skunk made news recently by calling Brazilians "lazy" and appearing to urinate on a the country's flag on his local cable access program.
The incident garnered international attention after it appeared on the program Fantastico in Brazil. Dozens of Marlborough residents also had much to say about the video and illegal immigration in the city. One forum member using the name "Doc S." wrote that he saw the Skunk in the grocery store complaining about illegals.
"He was saying the things that so many felt, but would not dare to say. And it cracked me up."
Another forum participant, Geo, wondered if the Skunk could "be deported someplace?"
A city councilor and the director of the city's food pantry also weighed in. And even the Skunk himself has posted comments.
"I am not a racist!" he wrote. "I have not broken any law whatsoever."
-- Megan Woolhouse
The city must release information disclosing the amount it has spent on legal bills and to retain lawyers from the Mirick O'Connell law firm between 2003-2006. That's according to a Jan. 24 decision by the Secretary of State's office, which found that the city could not withold it from the president of the police patrol officers' union.
Union president Patrick Hogan had requested the information but was denied access to it by city Solicitor Donald Rider, who said the request was motivated by the union's collective bargaining effort. The city is currently in federally mediated contract talks with its largest employee union.
State officials at the Secretary of State's office said that didn't matter.
"This office finds that your response is not adequate and violates the tenets of the Public Records Law," Supervisor of Records Alan N. Cote wrote in a letter to Rider. "Please be advised that the Public Records Law does not distinguish between requesters. The right of requesters to inspect and obtain copies of public records is a clear and statutory mandate."
Upon receiving the letter, city officials have 10 days to provide the information.
A 16-year-old Hudson girl has been arraigned on charges she threatened to stab two 13-year-old Northborough girls during an online chat last weekend.
The alleged victims, students at Melican Middle School, were chatting with a Hudson boy Sunday evening when the girl butted into the conversation and began making the threats, including stabbing the girls with a knife, Northborough Det. Sgt. William Lyver said.
Police do not know the motive for the threats, but say it has nothing to do with the boy. The 16-year-old girl, who is not enrolled in any school, does not know the 13-year-olds.
One of the Northborough girls was chatting from her stepfather’s Marlborough home. She told her stepfather about the threats and he in turn notified Marlborough police. Marlborough police passed the information on to Northborough about 9 p.m. that night.
The girl was arrested at 2 p.m. yesterday outside her Hudson home and was arraigned in Worcester Juvenile Court later that afternoon on two counts each of threatening to commit a crime, assault and battery, and threatening to commit a crime, murder, Lyver said.
A uniformed officer was stationed at Melican Middle School yesterday as a precaution.
-- Jennifer Rosinski
City Councilor Steven Levy said erratic and excessive water bills from the city have frustrated Marlborough residents for too long, but when asked whether a city meter reader with dyslexia contributed to the problem, he had no comment.
"Under the city solicitor's advice, I probably shouldn't be talking about that. It's potentially a legal matter," he said.
Levy is now trying to help about a half dozen constituents resolve their bills, including one resident who had an $11,000 credit simply disappear suddenly from his bill without any explanation.
The Metro West Daily News last week quoted Levy as saying the problems stemmed from faulty billing software and the fact that "one of two city meter readers may be dyslexic."
Levy asked city comptroller Tom Abel to explain the billing problems at the next city council meeting on Jan. 22.
Mayor Nancy Stevens, meanwhile, has already shifted the city's water billing process to the department of public works. Levy said this week that he doesn't know how the change will improve billing.
-- Megan Woolhouse
A squirrel caused a brief power outage for an estimated 3,500 National Grid customers yesterday.
The power failed about 9 a.m., caused by a squirrel on the lines on Church Street, said Amy Atwood, spokeswoman for National Grid.
Power was restored to most customers by 9:30 a.m., and to all customers by 2:40 p.m., Ms. Atwood said.
-- Telegram & Gazette of Worcester
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled earlier this week that the City of Marlborough did not commit disability discrimination when it didn't hire a firefighter who is hard of hearing.
Christopher Carleton argued that by not allowing him to take the hearing exam with use of his hearing aids, he was denied reasonable accomodation. The court, however, disagreed.
Since hearing is such a crucial qualification for a firefighter, the court said, the use of hearing aids is not considered a reasonable accomodation, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports.
-- Erica Tochin
Mayor Stevens vetoed the ordinance
(Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)
The City Council voted to send an ordinance banning sex offenders from living in most of Marlborough back to a subcommittee for review.
The council last month voted 8-3 to restrict offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school, playground, or other places where children congregate.
Mayor Nancy Stevens vetoed that ordinance, citing concerns over its fairness and how it would be enforced.
Rather than holding an override vote, the council followed member Scott Schafer's request to have a subcommittee address the mayor's concerns.
Schafer said he was disturbed that the mayor had not raised her concerns last summer when the issue was first under consideration.
The mayor's aide, Karen Kisty, said Stevens would meet with department heads after the holidays and then issue a response.
Two men wanted in a stabbing in Marlborough have been arrested in New Hampshire.
Police say the men were hiding out in Greenville.
Twenty-one-year-old Yansie Atocha and 18-year-old Marco Abreu are being held on fugitive warrants and are due in court today.
They were arrested Friday in connection with a stabbing in Marlborough on Nov. 20.
Atocha faces charges in Massachusetts of assault and assault with intent to murder. Abreu is wanted on assault and destruction of property charges.
A Marlborough man has been sentenced in federal court for dealing in counterfeit U.S. currency, the U.S. attorney's office announced today.
Anthony Parreira, 19, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf to 1 year and 2 months' probation, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release, and a $1,000 fine.
Parrreira had pleaded guilty in August to two counts of dealing in counterfeit currency.
Prosecutors say that Parreira twice in 2005 sold or helped to sell counterfeit $20 bills to a government witness. The total face value of the counterfeit bills was $26,000. Parreira sold the notes for about half that price, or about 50 cents for every fake dollar.
The case was investigated by the Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Reader Pattie Campana recently emailed to express her concerns about a controversial proposed ordinance that would ban sex offenders from living in most of the city.
The ordinance prohibits serious sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, day care centers and any place where children congregate, effectively banning them from 97 percent of the city.
City Councilor Steven Levy said he proposed it after police arrested a man earlier this year for lewd behavior in front of children at a city bus stop.
Campana emailed to say that she is the mother of one of the students who witnessed the display. Yet she has her own reservations about the ordinance.
She noted that the man who was arrested was not a Marlborough resident (he's from Southborough), and wouldn't have even been affected by the ordinance.
"Although I think the idea has merit ... it would be hard to administer," she wrote. "He went out of his way to come to Marlborough."
Mayor Nancy Stevens vetoed the proposal last week; the city council will vote on the measure again later this month.
-- Megan Woolhouse
As a teacher, Leonard A. Walsh Jr. used any available means to get his sixth-grade students interested in science.
"He would play songs from the 1960s for a unit on global environment," said Ava Kelberman, a special education teacher at the school. "Nature was really important to him -- he loved the environment."
Mr. Walsh, a teacher at Marlborough public schools and a Boy Scout leader, died Friday on his 64th birthday of complications of liver disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the Globe reports in an obituary today.
-- Sarah Kneezle
The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester weighed in today on the proposed sex offender ban in Marlborough. Here's an excerpt:
Marlborough Mayor Nancy E. Stevens acted properly in vetoing an ordinance billed as a measure to protect children from sexual predators. In fact, the ban on registered offenders in virtually all of the city, constitutionally dubious at best, would provide little more than a false sense of security.
... While the ordinance is well-intended, it offers only an illusion of safety. The vast majority of sexual assaults on youngsters are not by shadowy strangers but by relatives or others well-known to the child. A sexual predator intent on assaulting a child is not likely to be deterred by a buffer zone.
No child protection measure is fail-safe, but initiatives on the state level — to improve the sex-offender registry, for example, and specify longer sentences for individuals deemed likely to re-offend — are apt to be more effective than dubious buffer zones.
The City Council should uphold Mayor Stevens’ veto.
Saying she had concerns about the legality and enforceability of her city's highly restrictive ordinance banning sex offenders from living in virtually all areas of Marlborough, Mayor Nancy E. Stevens vetoed the ordinance.
The ordinance, which would have gone into effect today, restricted sex offenders deemed most likely to re-offend from living within 2,500 feet of a school, day care center or any place where children congregate. Those restrictions would have banned virtually all residential neighborhoods.
Stevens said the issue is one that needs to be addressed statewide, rather than on a patchwork basis. She challenged city council to address some of her concerns in a new ordinance.
City Councilor Steven Levy, who drafted the ordinance, said he proposed it earlier this year after Marlborough police officers arrested a convicted sex offender from Southborough near a school bus and charged him with lewd behavior.
He said individuals who commit such crimes lose some rights. He noted that Iowa enacted one of the toughest sex offender laws in the country last year, banning convicts whose victims are minors from living within 2,000 feet of a school or licensed day care provider.
Levy said he was surprised by the mayor's action.
-- Meg Woolhouse
Former Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps was in Marlborough last week, shopping at the Vin Bin wine shop with his sister, Diane, of Sudbury.
Rick Lombardi, co-owner of the Vin Bin writes in his monthly e-newsletter that Phelps bought three bottles: a 2003 St. Emilion Chateau Franc LaPorte, a Simi Alexander Cabernet and a 2000 Mondavi Oakville Cabernet.
He also notes that Phelps will go down in history for coaching the Fighting Irish to an upset victory over the UCLA Bruins in 1974, "ending the longest winning streak in modern sports."
He'll also have us know that the sometime-ESPN commentator played Bacchus, the god of wine, in a Notre Dame performance of "Orpheus and the Underworld" last spring.
Patrick Hogan, president of the police patrolmen's union, is contemplating a run for mayor of Marlborough in 2007, saying he is upset over the way the city is run.
Hogan has been at odds with Mayor Nancy Stevens for months over police officer contract talks. The talks have stalled and a federal mediator was recently called in to help the process. Rising health care premiums appear to be a major point of contention.
For now, Hogan is headed to Brazil to get married and said he will have made a decision by the time he returns.
"I feel our best public servants are those who sacrifice a few years of their lives to make a positive difference," he wrote. "Not politicians who sell out their communities and themselves to ensure they win another election."
-- Meg Woolhouse
Under a Vatican rule, priests are supposed to remain celibate and are not allowed to marry.
But there are a number of people who are fighting that rule.
Ed Minderlein of Marlborough is one of those people. A married priest himself, Minderlein says the celibacy rule hurts the church.
The rule is "denying people of the God-given right that is essential to human nature, the right to companionship and the right to procreate," he told the Portland Press Herald in a story today about priestly celibacy and those who question it.
-- Erica Tochin
Look for a special ceremony tomorrow at the halftime of the 103rd Marlborough-Hudson game at Marlborough's Kelleher Field.
The newest inductees into the Marlborough High Athletic Hall of Fame will be introduced.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on Sunday morning at the Holiday Inn on Route 20, starting at 10 a.m. For tickets ($40), contact Marlborough AD Rich Riley at 508-460-3500x7410.
The inductees: Robert Brennan (Class of 1954), Colleen Milliken-English (1990), Stephen O'Brien (1956), Paul Phaneuf (1964), Phillip Nettleton (1987), Shawn O'Malley (1989), Denise Ledoux-Rudinsky (I984), Paul Sharon (1980), Brian Snow (1978), Stephanie Tunnera (1983) and the 1967 state champion golf team.
-- Craig Larson
Many people who came into Eleanor Roy's salon to get their hair done ended up staying longer than anticipated, because the owner and stylist loved to chat with her customers.
"Everybody loved to come to her," her niece Susan Vachon of Marlborough says in a Globe West obituary today. "She enjoyed people."
Ms. Roy, who owned and operated her salon for more than 50 years, died last Friday at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She was 91.
-- Erica Tochin
Last week Worcester mayor and lieutenant governor candidate Tim Murray refused to attend a fund raiser in town because he didn't want to cross a picket line of city workers in stalled contract negotiations with mayor Nancy Stevens.
Today union members showed their appreciation to Murray by supporting him during a bus and walking tour of the city.
Marlborough Police union president Patrick Hogan said the Murray campaign contacted them Sunday night to ask union members to attend, also noting that Stevens would not be there.
Congressman James McGovern, State Rep. Stephen LeDuc, Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis and former Marlborough mayor Michael McGorty were in attendance.
"[Murray] said I support labor and I support you guys," Hogan said. "I thanked him for not crossing the picket line and apologized for costing him money."
-- Megan Woolhouse
A Marlborough fundraiser for lieutenant governor candidate Tim Murray has been cancelled due to concerns that he would have to cross a picket line of city workers.
Marlborough Mayor Nancy Stevens and city employees unions have been at odds over the terms of city workers' labor contract for several months. Stevens said earlier this week that talks stalled over employee health care contributions.
Murray has been endorsed by both Stevens and labor unions across the state, including those representing Marlborough city employees.
Stevens announced the cancellation of the event, planned for tomorrow night at Coral Seafoods, in a press release.
"While I recognize their right to protest, putting ... Murray in the untenable position of having to choose not to cross a picket line to attend his own fund-raiser is inappropriate," the statement read.
-- Megan Woolhouse
A Marlborough man was sentenced to life in prison this morning in connection with the 2004 stabbing death of his housemate, officials said.
James O’Neill, a 50-year-old local handyman, was sentenced after a Middlesex Superior Court jury in Cambridge found him guilty of second degree murder in the death of Craig Durand, 50.
Prosecutors alleged that, on the afternoon on January 2, 2004, a neighbor saw O’Neill walking out of the 65 Victoria Lane residence that the two shared. O'Neill claimed that he had returned home to find Durand to be dead. Marlborough Police found Durand’s body in his bedroom.
The State Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds. After a 4-month joint investigation between the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, State Police, and Marlborough Police, a grand jury indicted O’Neill for the murder on May 25, 2004.
During the trial, prosecutors alleged that O'Neill stabbed Durand, who left behind a teenage son, after an argument over finances.
-- Ralph Ranalli
A 36-year-old Marlborough man was fatally injured early yesterday in a fight between two groups outside a Denny's restaurant on Lincoln Street.
The victim, whose name was withheld, and his friends got into an altercation with four Worcester men as they left the restaurant.
The victim was struck in the head with a blunt object and was unconscious when officers responded to a 4:04 a.m. call. He was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
The suspects fled but were apprehended by police. Luis Bravo, 35, Malco R. Caceres, 21, Carlos Terreros, 22, and Armando Caceres, 19, were to be arraigned on murder and related charges today in Worcester District Court.
-- Globe City & Region staff
The story says his bank failed to protect its own interest in Patrick's home for two years with no advantage to Patrick. It also reveals his mortgage debt on two properties and says he meets the payments. The fact that his bank screwed up tells nothing about Patrick. That he pays his mortgage on time is reassuring, but doesn't indicate whether Patrick is qualified to be governor.
Are Patrick's mortgages relevant to his bid for governor? Share your thoughts in the Globe West Message Boards.
Look for a new edition of an old building in Marlborough.
An old printing building near downtown will be converted to 90 luxury apartments, according to a developer who recently bought the building for $2.3 million.
The DesignPak factory building, which sits on Maple Street, is an enormous concrete structure and water tower; at one point, city library officials had hoped to move the public library there. That plan never took off.
College Street LLC, a company that got its start developing factory space near Yale University, recently bought the site. Joe Pittorino, co-owner of College Street with David Nyberg, said he drove by the property last spring and saw the "For Sale" sign. Pittorino and Nyberg are both Acton natives.
No date has been given as to when renovations will start; the project must receive legislative and local approval.
-- Megan Woolhouse
Some Massachusetts residents are upset that the state is planning on cutting down thousands of trees in its forests, including some in Marlborough.
The most heavily targeted areas are in western Massachusetts, the Globe reports today.
But plans call for the harvesting of trees within the next year or two on 228 acres of state land in Leominster, Douglas, Wells, Townsend, and Marlborough.
State officials say the thinning is needed to enhance wildlife habitat and improve the health and diversity of trees.
-- Erica Tochin
The Worcester Sharks will call the DCU Center home this season. But on Friday night, the American Hockey League's newest franchise will skate over to New England Sports Center to put on an early showcase for area fans.
The Sharks, the primary affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, will play an exhibition game against the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs at NESC's Rink No. 1 (seating capacity: 2,000) with an 8 p.m. faceoff. Tickets are $5.
"One of the things we realize, we can't live within just the city limits of Worcester, you have to branch out," said Sharks president Michael Lehr. "And one of our key goals is to be very active in the community. We also know the hockey passion of the fans at (NESC). We wanted to take advantage of that."
One interesting twist: NESC owner H. Larue Renfroe recently purchased the AHL's Providence Bruins, one of the Sharks' chief rivals.
"We already have a partnership with Larue in the AHL and this only enhances our partnership." The Sharks will also utilize NESC as one of their practice facilities. Later in the season, NESC will offer a free public skate with Sharks players.
"We're all working together to promote the game of hockey," said Wes Tuttle, general manager at NESC.
The Sharks open the season Oct. 7 at Portland before playing their first game in the DCU Center Oct. 14 against the same Pirates squad.
The AHL is back in Worcester this season after a one-year absence. The Worcester IceCats departed for Peoria, Ill. after the 2004-05 season.
For information, call NESC at 508-229-2700.
-- Craig Larson
Could it have been those $3 gas prices? Whatever the reason, more people have been taking the bus in Marlborough and Southborough recently.
The Local Connection, a municipal bus service in Marlborough and Southborough, saw the number of requests for rides increase from 606 in May to more than 1,100 in August.
In response to the boom, shuttle operators will now offer riders the chance to reserve a ride a day in advance, instead of two.
Karen Kisty, aide to Marlborough Mayor Nancy Stevens, said in a press release that the improvements bring the service one step closer to a "flexible hybrid service which adds a fixed route option during morning and afternoon peak commuting times."
-- Megan Woolhouse
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deval Patrick and his running mate Tim Murray, fresh off of their primary election victories Tuesday night, visited Marlborough yesterday.
Here's what the scene was like, according to Globe reporter Megan Tench:
With Marlborough mayor Nancy Stevens by their side, they walked down the business district on Main Street and amid a swirl of television cameras and reporters, and they each shook hands with shoppers and business owners who happily peeked outside to see what all the commotion was about.
Inside Marlborough Savings Bank, Patrick was greeted by residents with hugs. And at the senior center a few blocks over, dozens crammed inside the lobby and craned their necks outside the door to catch a glimpse of him.
“We were like, is he coming here?” said volunteer Barbara Parry, 75. “I think he’s coming here. Is he here yet?”
When Patrick finally emerged, he entertained the crowd by calling out bingo numbers. The gals were thrilled, Parry said.
“It was an unexpected treat,” she said after the visit. “It was really nice. He’s so charming and easy to talk to. I shook his hand and I said, ‘I’m so happy you won,’ and he said, ‘Me too.’ Tim Murray seemed like a nice guy too.”
The group then breezed back down Main Street to METROWEST Printng, copying and graphic design store. There they were greeted by more onlookers who couldn’t wait to shake their hands.
“I’m thrilled to have you come visit,” said store owner Stephen K. Hitner, who is also the city’s Chamber of Commerce chairman. Hitner told Patrick and Murray that he believes in the Patrick’s campaign slogan “Together We Can,” and that he hopes Patrick, if he wins, will bring together state government and small business owners.
“Well, you’re gonna have a partners in the two of us,” Patrick said.
Patrick is facing off with Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and independent Christy Mihos in the general election.
Leslie Ruggiero, 48, of Marlborough was at the Rolling Stones concert in Foxborough last night and found them kind of uplifting. Wrinkles and all.
"It is an inspiration to us," Ruggiero told Reuters. "They're the perfect example of your body following what your mind says."
(Mick Jagger last night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Reuters Photo by Jessica Rinaldi.)
Deval Patrick didn't slow down or take a day off after his victory yesterday in the Democratic primary for governor.
Patrick, who will face Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey in the general election, campaigned today at Marlborough's senior center. He even called a few numbers during a bingo game there.
(Patrick takes a bingo ball from Peggy Cahill. Next to him is running mate Tim Murray, Globe Staff Photo by John Tlumacki.)
The fate of the site leased by a popular hot dog vendor evidently proved to hot to handle for the Finance Committee.
Meeting in a special session this month, the panel rejected a pair of proposals for the city to purchase the dirt strip across from Lake Williams.
Mayor Nancy Stevens wants to spruce up the property, which is at a gateway into the city.
By 3-2 votes, the finance panel rejected Ward 5 Councilor Maura Navin Webster's proposal to allow the mayor to spend up to $99,000 and one by at-large Councilor Steven Levy that set the cap at $86,500.
The panel ended up sending the matter to the full City Council without making a recommendation. No word on when action will be taken.
-- Megan Woolhouse
A plan has been sidelined to build a massive indoor and outdoor soccer facility in Southborough and Marlborough.
The Southborough Zoning Board denied Fore Kicks Inc.’s application for two exemptions from the town’s zoning laws last Thursday, building inspector Peter Johnson said.
The company, which operates a similar complex in Norfolk, needed town approval to build in an area zoned residential and to install 10 90-foot light poles, 70 feet higher than allowed by law.
Fore Kicks has since withdrawn the application it submitted to the Planning Board, which also had to approve the project, which called for the construction of four outdoor regulation-sized soccer fields with artificial turf on 30 acres off Rte. 85 that once served as an equestrian facility.
The Marlborough side of the project off Mill Street would include an indoor soccer facility with 274 parking spaces. The Planning Board in Marlborough has to approve that project.
-- Jennifer Rosinski
Evergreen Solar of Marlborough received some kudos in the debate between Democratic gubernatorial candidates last night. Candidate Deval Patrick called it "exactly the kind of business that we should be cultivating" and bemoaned the fact that it is opening a new plant in Germany, rather than locally.
Patrick, who thinks the state ought to become a leader in alternative energy, is vying with Attorney General Thomas Reilly and Chris Gabrieli in the Sept. 19 primary.
Read more of the exchange -- including Gabrieli's little dig at Patrick about Evergreen -- on the Globe's political blog.
Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers will be performing at the Firehouse Center in Marlborough on Saturday night, part of a huge transformation of the building from a problem spot to cultural venue.
The city-owned building has been under renovation by local vocational school students for the last several years and city officials have been at odds over whether to sell it. This summer, the former fire engine bays have been home to live performances by regional musicians.
Neville will appear with the Henri Smith/Nat Simpkins Band, which includes Hudson music teacher David Hearst and Maynard basist Rick Maida. The event is free and starts at 7 p.m. The firehouse is located at the intersection of Main and Bolton streets.
-- Megan Woolhouse
It's been two decades since the Metropolitan Opera toured to Boston, and the company is coming back, sort of. The Met just announced an intriguing plan to simulcast performances from New York into movie theaters across the country. And a Met spokesman said that there are plans to broadcast in two local theaters: The Framingham 16 and the Solomon Pond Mall 15 in Marlborough.
Details on these showings could come as early as next week.
"Clearly, a movie performance is not the same as a live performance," Met spokesman Peter Clark told us. "But this is still a way for the Met to get its product out there to millions of people in the
And, unlike in the opera hall in New York City, you can buy popcorn.
-- Geoff Edgers
Marlborough residents who want a permit to the local dump or a business license may be required to show proof of citizenship first, if the City Council president gets his way.
Arthur Vigeant has proposed requiring any resident who wants a city permit to show their social security card.
Vigeant is adamant that many immigrants in the city are not paying income taxes -- even with fake social security cards. He said he wants government and businesses to crack down.
"I have concerns that we have thousands of people in the city that are undocumented or illlegal or whatever you want to call them, and that needs to be addressed," he said. "The federal and state government has not addressed it so we need to do it locally."
The full City Council has yet to debate the idea.
What do you think of Vigeant's idea? Sound off on the Globe West message boards.
A 61-year-old Marlborough man who had been hunting bear in Maine was found dead in his vehicle Monday night, the Bangor Daily News reports.
The newspaper reports that Maine State Police and medical examiner's office are investigating the death of Charles Fay Jr., who had been hunting bear from Castle Hill outfitter's lodge.
Fay's body was found by a guide and other hunters on the Maine Public Lands Road in the Squapan Lake area, according to Sgt. Tom Pelletier of the Maine State Police.
City Clerk JoAnne Reynolds and City Auditor Barbara Durand will both leave their jobs this fall. The timing is coincidental, the women said. Reynolds wants to spend more time with her granchildren who live throughout New England. Durand plans on taking a new job in Medway.
Reynolds has been a fixture at City Hall for nearly 30 years. She began as a planning board secretary, moved into the job of assistant clerk and became city clerk in 1990. Her last day is Nov. 30.
Durand became town auditor five years ago. She will continue to live in Marlborough, she said. Her last day is Sept. 30.
-- Megan Woolhouse
Eighty-one year old Roland A. Morin crashed a recent party celebrating the 100th birthday of Marlborough City Hall.
The former City Councilor -- who served from 1952-3 -- said he read about the party in the newspaper but never got an official invite from party planners.
"I said to myself, 'Why didn't I get an invite? After all, I'm a former member. I'm still alive. Maybe not ticking so much, but still alive."
City officials meant no snub -- they invited former city councilors dating back to 1975. Attendees included former mayor Mike Hogan, former City Council president Walter Bonin and former City Councilor Joan LeDoux, who briefly filled in for her husband after he died in 1995.
Ward 5 City Councilor Maura Navin Webster also made an appearance with her father, Joe Navin, a former city councilor and state representative. The event even drew former City Councilor Tom Lizzott, who drove in for it from Westford.
Teachers and staff honored outgoing Superintendent Rose Marie Boniface today, on their first day back at school.
Boniface will retire Oct. 8 after 35 years in the school system.
Boniface, who sails as a hobby, was given a glass sailboat sculpture from the staff, as well as a bouquet of roses and an award marking her 35 years in the schools.
Two other school staffers were honored for their 35 years of work in the system. They are Valerie Bruso and Jean Wing.
-- Meg Woolhouse
Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, who is vying for the Democratic nomination for governor, will visit Marlborough Middle School on Monday to talk with returning teachers about the Safe Schools Initiative his office has launched in the public schools there.
The program helps school districts improve their response to racism and bullying.
Will Mayor Nancy Stevens attend the event? She has already endorsed Deval Patrick, who, along with Chris Gabrieli, is competing with Reilly. As of last week, she hadn't said whether she would go.
-- Megan Woolhouse
Leonard Rubin of Marlborough e-mailed today to say he didn't like a recent Globe West story about high levels of arsenic found in the city's water source.
"There is no tainted water in MY neighborhood," he wrote. "It is safe to drink. I'm over 75 years old and I consume at least 8 glasses of water daily."
Some neighborhood residents have speculated that the arsenic came from an old orchard. Tests have shown that the property is contaminated with arsenic, lead, and DDT.
Joanie O'Brien, president of the Glenbrook Neighborhood Assocation, said she watched rain from a recent thunderstorm wash soil from the site into city sewers.
City officials who tested the water supply found a temporary spike in arsenic levels. But they said it was unlikely the contamination came from the site because samples did not also have an elevated level of DDT.
Rubin said the neighborhood association, which sounded the alarm about the water, does not speak for all area residents. And he thinks the story should have reported that.
"We've lived here over 40 years, drank the water daily ... and no ill effects whatsoever," he said.
-- Megan Woolhouse
When the Marlborough City Council votes on whether to buy a parcel of land on Route 20 at Lake Williams, it will be a referendum on hot dogs.
Mayor Nancy Stevens wants the city to buy land where a vendor has sat for decades and give him the boot. The city council has approved allowing the city to enter negotiations with Russell McKinnon, a Westborough developer who owns the parcel.
But City Councilor Mike Ossing has already said McKinnon's $99,000 asking price is too high.
Megan Woolhouse wrote about the situation in yesterday's Globe West. But the picture below is worth a thousand words.
(Chili cheese dogs from the truck, Photo by Bill Polo)
Arlington-based developer Deborah Fairbanks is creating 29 condos in the former Space Age Electronics Building on Lincoln Street and is hoping to lure artists to live there. Work on the project took a step forward today as work crews demolished an old watering hole called the Highland House to create parking for the new complex.
Fairbanks has been working with the Marlborough Community Development Corporation on the effort and units will be priced at $225,000 and up when they go on the market this fall. Under a building agreement with the city, Fairbanks needs to fill 70 percent of the units with working artists.
Painters, writers -- even mimes -- qualify, she said.
-- Megan Woolhouse
City officials have opened up the old fire station in downtown Marlborough for a farmer's market every Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There's just one problem: a lack of farmers.
In recent weeks, just one or two farmers have shown up to sell their wares. This year is the first time the city has allowed a farmer's market to operate inside the old fire station, located at the corner of Bolton and Main streets.
Perhaps business will grow when tomato season comes into full swing.
The empty firehouse in downtown Marlborough is featuring weekend concerts. So far, the shows have been drawing 150 or more people downtown on Friday and Saturday nights. This Friday, the Workingman's Blues Band will perform from 7-10 p.m.
Seating is first-come, first-served, and audience members are encouraged to bring dessert or order in a pizza.
The concert series is sponsored by Marlborough 2010, a new redevelopment campaign in the city, the Marlborough Visitor's Bureau and the city's Community Development Authority at a cost of $22,000. Performances will continue through Oct. 1.
This could be your first and last summer to catch a firehouse concert. The building has been under renovation by students at Assabet Valley Regional Technical School and the city has already announced its plans to put the property up for sale.
-- Megan Woolhouse
The State Scholars program, which aims to prepare students for college and the workforce by encouraging them to take a more rigorous courseload, has selected Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School as one of five participating schools.
Students in the program must take four years of English, three and a half years of social studies, three years each of science and math, and two years of a foreign language, said Linda Noonan, managing director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, which is helping to administer the program.
Students who complete the program will have a chance at scholarship opportunities and other possible incentives, Noonan said.
-- Emily Shartin
Mayor Nancy Stevens is feeling better after a fainting incident outside the Walker Building last week.
Mayor's aide Karen Kisty said the fainting spell was triggered by the heat and the mayor's asthma. The fact that the air conditioning system in the mayor's top floor office in Marlborough City Hall was broken also didn't help.
Stevens went to the emergency room where she was treated and released. She returned to work Friday.
Stevens did take a break today. She traveled to New York City with her daughter and was in the audience at a taping of "Live with Regis and Kelly". Kisty said Stevens bid on and won the trip at a fund-raiser.
-- Megan Woolhouse
Retired Navy Admiral Barbara McGann formally signed a contract with Marlborough city officials today, agreeing to become superintendent of the city's schools starting Oct. 8.
Under the terms of the contract, McGann will earn $140,000 through next June, slightly less than her predecessor, Rosemarie Boniface who was paid $143,000 last year.
The superintendent post is the first for McGann, who will leave her job as an assistant superintendent in the Boston Public Schools.
Under the terms of the contract, McGann will also receive 20 vacation days a year, credit for 30 sick leave days through June 2007 and six additional sick leave days in 2008. After that, she will receive credit for one and half sick days each month.
McGann met with Boniface and Mayor Nancy Stevens for lunch earlier today at Coral Seafood near City Hall.
"I want her to come in and really assess everything," Stevens said afterwards. "I want her to come up with her own plan."
-- Meg Woolhouse
People flocked from all over recently to a Marlborough hotel just to be near a small, smiling woman in a white sari.
Amma - the affectionate name for Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi - is known as the "hugging saint."
The Christian Science monitor reports today on the scene at the hotel and the Amma phenomenon.
Good news for a Marlborough solar power company -- it has landed a $200 millon contract, its largest ever.
Evergeen Solar says it will supply SunEdison LLC, a Baltimore company that sells solar-generated power.
The deal is one of five the company has signed since last November that are worth a total of $600 million over five years, the Globe's business news blog reports today.
Check the blog for news, too, on CMGI Inc. selling its SalesLink unit to Automated Data Processing Inc., the Roseland, N.J. business services firm, for an undisclosed amount.
Residents of Farm Hill Estates in Shrewsbury were alarmed when they learned that a sex offender lived just outside their subdivision.
The situation prompted Republican state Representative Karyn Polito, who lives in the town, to file legislation that would stiffen penalties for sex offenses and impose ``predator-free zones" that would limit where offenders could live.
Meanwhile, Marlborough is considering an ordinance that would ban sex offenders from living in 95 percent of the city; it is one of several communities in the state considering such a measure.
In the map below, the white spaces inside the city boundary line represent the only areas where a sex offender could legally reside in Marlborough if the ordinance passes.
[Map created by the City of Marlborough]
Some experts have questions about whether such residency restrictions work. You can read more about the debate in a story that ran in Sunday's Globe West.
-- Erica Tochin
Marlborough Country Club's Frank Vana Jr. has bowed out of the Massachusetts State Amateur Golf Championship in the round of 16, the Globe reports today. Vana, 43, was vying to win his third straight championship, but was bumped off by 23-year-old Burgess Houston.
The competition continues today at Worcester Country Club.
Vana is perhaps the most well-known amateur golfer in Boston's western suburbs. Paul Harber profiled Vana earlier this week in Globe West.
The Marlborough Community Development Corporation has been looking for ways to improve the Assabet River Rail Trail between Marlborough and Hudson.
The 6-mile stretch is currently a mixed bag of beautiful vistas and littered lots. For the last several months the CDC has been asking residents for ideas for potential improvements.
This is what one section looks like now:
Ideas for improvements have included better markings where trails intersect with busy streets, the installation of emergency call boxes along the trail and the placement of trash cans along the route.
Suggestions have also included using art to combat persistent graffiti. This is a mockup of the same section given an artist's touch:
-- Meg Woolhouse
Mixing a passion for hot air and marketing ...
Marlborough's Bob Martel said he is in the final stages of being hired as a hot air balloon pilot for Federal Digital Credit Union, or DCU.
Readers may recall that Martel was executive aide to former mayor Dennis Hunt. After Hunt's loss to upstart candidate Nancy Stevens last fall, Martel left politics to concentrate on his passion: hot air ballooning. Martel also runs his own marketing firm.
Martel said DCU has already commissioned a corporate balloon bearing its company logo from Linn Strand manufacturers. Martel said he will pilot the balloon at promotional events at various locations within the company's territory, which stretches from Marlborough to Merrimack, N.H.
If you haven’t been reading Globe West online lately, you’ve been missing a lot.
We’ve been busy using the bandwidth, creating multimedia presentations that give you a richer news experience using sound, more photos, and the voices of the people we’re writing about.
Recent examples of multimedia produced by the GlobeWest bureau include audio slideshows about a 37-year-old swimmer from Shrewsbury competing in the nationals against athletes half his age; a Marlborough woman who delivers the mail in city hall at 83 years young; and a remarkable Spanish-language immersion program in Mendon and Upton.
Robert McCauley, of Natick, thinks the Globe may be advocating too soft a position on North Korea.
McCauley asks in today's Letters to the Editor, "Who is writing the Globe's editorials on North Korea these days, Neville Chamberlain?"
James Pehl, of Marlborough, in another letter, sees the situation in North Korea as "a perfect example of the inconsistent foreigh policy of this Bush administration."
She's back for more hugs.
Amma "The Hugging Saint" will return to the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlborough on July 18-24.
Last year, thousands took numbers and waited for hours in the center to hug the South Indian mystic. Followers say her hugs -- usually accompanied with a shower of flower petals -- transmit her healing power.
She has great endurance, too. During last year's visit, she embraced more than 3,000 people in a single day.
The first day of her visit is free and open to the public; the two-day private retreat that follows costs money. Proceeds support Amma's charitable causes. Last year she donated a million dollars to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. That's a lot of hugs.
-- Meg Woolhouse
Bernice Neuhaus, the 83-year-old "mail girl" at Marlborough City Hall, has become something of a celebrity since she was featured in a Globe West story and slide show on June 25.
Her daughter, Carlene DiDonato of Northborough, writes in an e-mail that her mother has been deluged with fan mail from strangers who read the story and felt inspired by Neuhaus' spunk and determination. (The white-haired octagenarian walks up five flights of stairs multiple times each day to deliver mail and conversation.)
How does Neuhaus handle all the attention? According to her daugher, she walks up to friends and coworkers and says with a laugh, "Touch me, I'm a celebrity now!"
-- Megan Woolhouse
Looking for something to do with the kids this weekend? Want to take them to a sporting event but not spend a fortune?
Residents of Boston's western suburbs will be happy to know the Marlboro Shamrocks -- a semipro football team with a rich tradition -- are returning to the field after a one-year hiatus. The team has a mix of new and old players, including former Algonquin Regional and Bentley College stars Marc Eddy and Dallas Mall.
The Shamrocks' season opener is Friday night, July 7 against Eastern Football League foe Charlestown. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Kelleher Field. Read more about the team in today's Globe West.
Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors/students, and free for kids 10-and-under.
-- Mike Reiss
It's been exactly a year since a Marlborough man and a Worcester man died in a rip current at Hampton Beach, N.H. And New Hampshire lifeguards are taking steps to prevent similar tragedies.
Carlos Reyes, 35, of Marlborough, and Alex Tapia Lopez, 26, of Worcester, died trying to save Reyes's stepson.
This year, the Globe reports this morning, lifeguards are starting to fly red flags to warn swimmers of the dangerous currents -- and if you don't get out of the water, lifeguards can call the police.
The number of immigrants to Marlborough from other countries doubled during the 1990s to about 16 percent, and that wave has become a political issue in Marlborough and across the suburbs, according to a front page story in today's Globe.
``You hear it in the coffee shop, your e-mail, or just general discussion," said State Representative Stephen P. LeDuc of Marlborough, a Democrat. ``It definitely hits a nerve."
In the western suburbs, both Framingham and Milford have made news for their ongoing debates over how to deal with their huge immigrant influxes over the last decade. Today's story takes a broader look at immigration as a growing statewide issue.
Marlborough Mayor Nancy Stevens says she's amazed by Bernice Neuhaus, the unsung hero of mail delivery at city hall. For 16 years she has delivered the mail to and from offices on five floors. And at age 83, she shuns the elevator in favor of the stairs.
Meg Woolhouse wrote about Neuhaus in Sunday's Globe West, and there's a slide show, too, with more pictures and audio of Bernice.
From her basement office in Marlborough City Hall, 83-year-old Bernice Neuhaus keeps the city running. Every weekday for the last 16 years she has hand delivered mail to city officials and numerous mayors. And even blizzards don't stop her. Read about the matriarch of the mailroom in Globe West on Sunday, June 18.