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Norfolk

Norfolk parents get temporary reprieve from bus fee

Posted August 27, 2008 07:58 AM

Norfolk parents will get a one-month reprieve from a new $90 bus fee while school officials determine which households are required to pay.

The fee, designed to help to close a gap in the 2009 school budget won't be implemented until Oct. 1, school officials said. That will give them a time to determine which families live less than two miles from their school and will be required to pay the new fee. According to the state, the eligibility radius is determined by measuring the distance from home to school, using the shortest route.

Any student who is riding a bus is required to register with the district and carry a pass.

-- Michele Morgan Bolton

No sale for contaminated former hospital site

Posted July 23, 2008 08:41 AM

Despite a high bid of $2 million, the former Caritas Southwood Hospital property in Norfolk failed to sell at auction recently because the bidding did not reach the seller's reserve price.

The almost-90-acre facility, which opened in the 1920s and was once known as the Pondville State Hospital, was rezoned in recent years for a development as a senior housing complex but the plan fizzled when environmental contamination was discovered at the site. Any new owner of the site would be required to clean up an oil spill on the property, officials said.

The Town of Norfolk has assessed the Route 1A campus at $15 million. The owner, Caritas Christi Health Care, is New England's second largest health care system.

-- Michele Morgan Bolton

Norfolk teen is influential beyond her years

Posted February 11, 2008 07:02 AM

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NORFOLK

Tara Stetter, a seventh-grader at King Philip Regional Middle School in Norfolk, has been chosen as the Boston-area winner of the "Influenza Ambassador Award," for her print
public service announcement about the flu, entitled "Forget Everything Your Parents Told You About Being a Good Host."

Stetter's entry will be posted on SpreadtheWordNotTheFlu.com, an informational web site sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, a leading maker of flu vaccines. The award also netted Stetter with an Apple Macbook laptop computer.

-- Calvin Hennick

Hats in the ring in Norfolk

Posted January 28, 2008 07:00 AM

NORFOLK

Sixteen elected posts are spots are up for grabs in the upcoming May election, including the town moderator's position and slots on the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, and Planning Board, the Town Clerk's office has announced.

Nomination papers for the May 6 vote are available beginning today in the Town Clerk's office.
The last day to take out papers is March 13, and they must be returned by March 18.

Anyone interested in more information is being urged to call the clerk's office at 508-528-1400.

-- Calvin Hennick

A capital idea in Norfolk

Posted December 20, 2007 06:52 AM

NORFOLK

Selectmen will meet tomorrow with School Committee members to discuss a capital building
strategy for the town.

Selectmen were set to ask town meeting voters in October to approve design plans for new police and fire headquarters, but delayed the vote until after the town had more information about the potential to build a new school.

Last month, the school district received state approval to conduct a feasibility study for a potential new building -- a sign that state funding support for the project is highly likely.

The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the library at the Freeman-Centennial Elementary School.

-- Calvin Hennick

Norfolk official cheers state school funding decision

Posted November 28, 2007 09:23 PM

NORFOLK

Chris Augusta-Scott, superintendent of Norfolk's elementary school system, said she is excited that the school has been invited by the state to conduct a feasibility study on a new school building that would be built with state assistance.

Classrooms in the Freeman-Centennial Elementary School, which was built in the 1950s, do not meet current needs, she said.

Augusta-Scott said she doesn't yet know whether the district will rebuild the school, which serves students from grades three to six, or consider constructing a K-to-six school at the site. The H. Olive Day School currently houses students in grades K through two, but officials have talked of using that site for fire and police facilities.

-- Calvin Hennick

Public hearing in Norfolk on military food supplier proposal

Posted November 20, 2007 08:53 AM

NORFOLK

Selectmen will hold a public hearing Monday on whether to grant an earth removal permit for the new site of the Elite Food Company.

The company, which negotiates contracts between food suppliers and the military, plans to move from its downtown site and construct a larger building off of Route 1A. Last spring, Town Meeting voters approved a tax break for the company to aid the expansion.

-- Calvin Hennick

Muck-raking author to appear in Norfolk

Posted November 12, 2007 07:37 AM

NORFOLK

Steven Puleo, the author of "Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919," is scheduled to appear at the Norfolk Public Library tomorrow night to share the story of a collapsed molasses tank that flooded Boston's North End and killed 21 people.

The event, which lasts from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., is the last in a series of three lectures
on historical disasters in Massachusetts. Puleo will also sign copies of his books, including his latest, "The Boston Italians."

-- Calvin Hennick

The new math in downtown Norfolk: less parking = more customers

Posted November 9, 2007 08:05 AM

NORFOLK

Norfolk Town Meeting voters last week approved a bylaw change that will reduce the number of parking spots downtown businesses are required to provide for customers.

Selectman Jim Lehan said the move is intended to encourage more business development downtown. Voters also endorsed an update of the town's master plan.

-- Calvin Hennick

Town meeting giveth, and not ...

Posted November 1, 2007 03:52 PM

NORFOLK

Town Meeting voters this week shot down an article that would have paid School Committee members an annual stipend of $200.

Most other elected board members in town receive the stipend, but members of Advisory Committee, which acts as the town’s finance committee, said they wanted to reconsider all stipends in the spring rather than grant more of them.

Voters also approved spending $550,000 of Community Preservation funds to purchase approximately 44 acres of land abutting Highland Lake. The land will be used for open space or
affordable housing.

Town Meeting continues on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.at the H. Olive Day School.

-- Calvin Hennick

Voting about not voting in Norfolk

Posted October 17, 2007 09:29 AM

NORFOLK

Town Meeting voters will decide Tuesday whether the position of Norfolk's town clerk should be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, rather than elected.

If passed, the move would then have to be approved by voters at the ballot box. Town Meeting voters will also decide whether to change the town's bylaws to no longer require a town meeting in the fall. Selectman Jim Lehan said a fall town meeting would still be held in years when one was needed, but the change would give the town more flexibility in scheduling the meetings.

-- Calvin Hennick

Too much Stop, not enough Shop

Posted October 7, 2007 10:41 AM

stopandshop.jpg

NORFOLK

Representatives from a developer who has pledged to bring a Stop & Shop supermarket to the town center will meet with selectmen Oct. 15 about repeated delays that have hit the project.

Town officials have questioned whether Stop & Shop actually intends to build on the land, known in town as the "moonscape" for its unsightly appearance. Selectman Jim Lehan said he would like to see the company take a step that shows it will build a store, such as creating an access road on the property.

"That's the kind of thing that, to me, would show that they're serious," Lehan said.

-- Calvin Hennick

State to begin school project studies early

Posted October 4, 2007 09:51 AM

REGION

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.

Memorial for a fallen soldier

Posted October 1, 2007 07:05 AM

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NORFOLK

A memorial for Adam Kennedy, the 25-year-old Army sergeant from Norfolk who was killed in Iraq in April, will be dedicated at 1 p.m. on November 11, Veterans Day.

The memorial will be placed at the corner of Grove Street and Union Street. A reception at the Norfolk Public Library will follow the dedication.

-- Calvin Hennick

The fine line between used cars and junk

Posted September 11, 2007 11:42 AM

NORFOLK

The Town of Norfolk's attorney, George Hall, says he intends to file a complaint in Norfolk Superior Court alleging that a local business has violated an agreement to clear its property of junk cars and trucks, Town Administrator Jack Hathaway said.

Last year, business owner Paul Waznis and the town signed an agreement that extended Call & Wait Auto Service’s operating license until the end of this month, as long as Waznis agreed to clear the Lincoln Road property.

Hathaway said the business began clearing the land, only to later bring in more material. Officials have charged that Waznis is operating a junkyard under the guise of a used-car lot.

-- Calvin Hennick

Budget down, circulation up

Posted August 17, 2007 11:18 PM

NORFOLK

A reduction in library hours has not led to a reduction in circulation, Norfolk Public Library Director Robin Glasser said. Due to budget constraints, the library now closes at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, instead of 8:30 p.m.

Glasser said circulation for July, the first month the new hours took effect, was actually up by 3 percent from the same period last year. "I haven't heard one complaint" from patrons, Glasser said.

-- Calvin Hennick

Selectmen seek to standardize town hall

Posted July 25, 2007 04:04 PM

NORFOLK

Selectmen this week said they would push to change the town clerk's position from an elected one into an appointed one. The change will require voter approval at both town meeting and the polls.

Marie Chiofolo left the position for a job in Stoughton this month, and Assistant Town Clerk Gail Bernardo will assume her duties for the time being.

Selectman Jim Lehan said the clerk should have the same status as the town treasurer and town administrator, which are both appointed positions. "I really don't see it as a political position," Lehan said. "It's an organizational position."

-- Calvin Hennick

Norfolk to say 'so long' to King Philip Schools?

Posted July 25, 2007 02:30 PM

NORFOLK

The Norfolk School Committee is looking into the possibility of the town opting out of the King Philip Regional School District.

School Committee Chairwoman Kim Williams said she is not dissatisfied with the King Philip schools, which also educate students from Plainville and Wrentham, but she wants to "get better educated about what our options are." The school committee will pay a consultant $2,500 to put on a workshop about the town's options.

However, Williams said, leaving district may be "the least viable option" because Norfolk taxpayers are still helping to pay for major building projects for the regional schools.

-- Calvin Hennick

Car trouble

Posted July 23, 2007 10:29 AM

NORFOLK

Police are warning residents to lock their cars at night to avoid becoming the latest victims in a spate of thefts in town.

At least 13 times since June 25, thieves have broken into automobiles and stolen cash and items such as cell phones, MP3 players, and sunglasses, Detective Kevin Roake said.

Roake said all of the thefts occurred overnight, and only unlocked cars have been targeted.

-- Calvin Hennick

Thrifty superintendent saves school programs

Posted July 18, 2007 12:42 PM

NORFOLK

Chris Augusta-Scott, superintendent of Norfolk's elementary school system, announced last week that the schools would be able to restore cuts made last year to the Spanish and health programs.

Augusta-Scott said the schools would also be able to return to the town $30,000, which officials had added to the school budget to prevent the district from charging a transportation fee to some students.

Augusta-Scott said the schools were able to save the money through better management of resources. "We are able to do more with less," she said. "Norfolk's getting a pretty good bang for their buck."

--Calvin Hennick

Commission succession roils Norfolk

Posted July 17, 2007 12:40 PM

NORFOLK

Succession among members of town boards is usually a smooth process, but not so in Norfolk.

Selectmen plan to appoint two new members to the Conservation Commission next week to replace Jay Talerman and Laurence Harrington, Selectman Jim Lehan said.

Selectmen have accused Talerman and Harrington of pushing personal agendas and failing to work well with other town boards. Talerman, who made a run for Lehan’s seat in the May town election, has said the decision not to reappoint him was based on politics.

--Calvin Hennick

Who's bringing the popcorn?

Posted June 21, 2007 09:21 AM

NORFOLK

The Norfolk Public Library will kick off a series of movie nights July 9 with a 6:30 p.m. showing of "High School Musical."

Youth services librarian Sarina Bluhm said the program started last summer with three movies. This year, the library will show six films, one every Monday at 6:30 p.m. from July 9 until August 13. A full schedule of the movies is available online at library.virtualnorfolk.org.

– Calvin Hennick

They'll be practicing their job interview skills

Posted June 15, 2007 08:11 AM

NORFOLK

Selectmen will interview Monday a number of applicants competing for spots on town boards.

Up for grabs are three positions on the Conservation Commission, two spots on the Community Preservation Committee, and two associate memberships on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Town Administrator Jack Hathaway said he expects selectmen to make appointments to the boards tonight, following the interviews.

– Calvin Hennick

Preparing for the worst

Posted June 12, 2007 07:55 AM

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NORFOLK

About forty volunteers have already signed up for the Norfolk Medical Reserve Corps, but the town is still looking for about 60 more volunteers, said Selectman Jim Lehan.

Lehan, who is also chairman of the council that oversees the corps said the volunteers will assist in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. They met for the first time last week and their next meeting will be July 12, he said.

Volunteers will be trained in CPR, first aid, and how to follow a chain of command in emergencies, Lehan said. Information about joining the corps is available from the Selectmen’s office or the Board of Health office at Town Hall.

-– Calvin Hennick

Norfolk cuts some red tape

Posted June 12, 2007 07:48 AM

NORFOLK

The Board of Public Works, which has overseen the Department of Public Works since it was created in 2004, will disband at the end of this month.

The Board of Selectmen will take control of the department. Members of the public works board met with selectmen last Monday to discuss unfinished business, including the hiring of a supervisor who
will work under the departmental director and oversee day-to-day operations.

The public works department was formed by merging the town’s highway and water departments, and Town Administrator Jack Hathaway said the sharing of equipment and staff has led to increased efficiency. The department’s budget has decreased each year since it was formed.

– Calvin Hennick

A C-note less for C-rations?

Posted June 5, 2007 12:31 PM

NORFOLK

The state last week approved a plan that will give Elite Foods, Inc. a break on its taxes as it expands its operations.

The business, which negotiates contracts between food suppliers and the military, currently leases about 4,000 square feet downtown and has plans to construct a 10,000 square-foot building off of Route 1A.

Town Meeting voters last month approved a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, plan that will give the company a 90 percent discount on its property taxes during the first year.

The discount will gradually be phased out over 10 years, when the company will be required to pay full taxes.

- Calvin Hennick

Fallen Army sargeant honored by Norfolk schoolchildren

Posted June 4, 2007 08:37 AM

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Sgt. Adam Kennedy
(Photo courtesy of Norwich University)

NORFOLK

Norfolk elementary students have dedicated a plaque and a tree to US Army Sgt. Adam Kennedy, a Norfolk native who was killed in Iraq in April.

"This is an opportunity to educate the children about the importance of honoring the fallen soldiers and the importance of not taking our democratic freedoms for granted," Superintendent of School Chris Augusta-Scott said.

Kennedy was killed on April 8 during combat near the city of Ad Diwaniyah, which is located south of Baghdad. Governor Deval Patrick attended his funeral.

-- Calvin Hennick

Faces covered in happiness ... and pie

Posted June 2, 2007 02:57 PM

NORFOLK

A pie-eating contest, pony rides, games, and booths featuring local organizations will highlight the 15th annual Norfolk Community Day celebration this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The celebration, sponsored by the Norfolk Lions Club, will be held at the Holmes Bus Service site at 22 Myrtle Street. A 5K road race sponsored by the Norfolk Community League will precede the event at 9 a.m.

-– Calvin Hennick

Lehan fends off challenge in Norfolk selectman's race

Posted May 2, 2007 03:28 PM

NORFOLK

Voters yesterday returned Jim Lehan, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, to his seat for a three-year term.

Lehan defeated Jay Talerman, 837 votes to 625.

In the moderator race, voters picked Daniel Winslow over Marc Waldman, 1,029-432.

In the only other contested race, incumbent Thomas Burke and challenger David Roche won two seats on the Planning Board, receiving 752 and 860 votes, respectively. Incumbent Arthur Spruch, who
received 575 votes, was booted from the board.

– Calvin Hennick

Selectmen breathe new life into economic development board

Posted March 23, 2007 05:02 PM

NORFOLK

The Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board Monday jointly appointed members to a town committee that had been inactive for years.

Kim Eldred, Jennifer Troutman, Kenneth Squires, Bob Nicodemus, and Mike Kulesza were appointed to the Economic Development Committee. Jim Lehan, chairman of the selectmen, said committee will be in charge of developing a strategy to attract business and expand the town’s commercial tax base.

— Calvin Hennick

Norfolk selectmen to finalize Town Meeting warrant tonight

Posted March 19, 2007 06:36 AM

NORFOLK

The town's selectmen will decide tonight which articles to place on the warrant for the May 8 Town Meeting. When selectmen closed the warrant on March 12, nearly 50 articles had been submitted for consideration.

Among those are items that would approve new goals for the town’s master plan, appropriate $100,000 of Community Preservation money to create an affordable housing subsidy program, and fund the purchase of a fire pumper truck.

-– Calvin Hennick

Norfolk chief: bullet at school should have been reported sooner

Posted March 14, 2007 11:03 AM

NORFOLK

Norfolk Police Chief Charles H. Stone, Jr. says suspicious materials in schools should be reported to police as soon as they are found.

A janitor found a spent shell casing from a .45-caliber bullet in a King Philip Middle School hallway March 6, but the school did not notify police until the next morning. "Always, I would like to have it as soon as they know," Stone said.

However, Stone said he would not "make a big thing about this" because a police search of the school turned up no further contraband. Stone said police still don’t know how the casing got into the school.

-– Calvin Hennick

Budget to be unveiled tomorrow

Posted March 11, 2007 02:31 PM

NORFOLK

Selectmen will present their budget for the 2008 fiscal year tomorrow at the Norfolk Public Library.

Board chairman Jim Lehan said the town's health insurance costs will go up by less than two percent next year, far less than officials had expected. Selectmen are currently projecting a $200,000 deficit. However, Lehan said the board will craft a balanced budget before the presentation.

The town's Advisory Board makes the final budget recommendations to Town Meeting.

-- Calvin Hennick

Call & Wait waiting for a license

Posted March 10, 2007 08:45 AM

NORFOLK

Representatives from Call & Wait Auto Service have told the town they want to continue to operate as a used car lot after all junk materials have been removed from the Lincoln Road property.

The business’s used car license is set to expire in September, the deadline selectmen set for owner Paul Waznis to clean up the site and remove spare parts and tires.

Jim Lehan, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the board would not consider extending the license until Waznis had completely cleared the property. "Until they do that, there’s nothing to talk about," Lehan said.

-– Calvin Hennick

Healthcare contributions discussed in Norfolk

Posted March 9, 2007 09:43 AM

NORFOLK

Jim Lehan, chairman of the board of selectmen, said he doesn’t know whether the town will be able to increase its contributions toward employees’ health insurance plans.

The town currently pays 58 percent of the costs, and the Insurance Advisory Committee asked selectmen Monday to increase that number to 60 percent. "We agree with them philosophically," Lehan said. "The problem is that 2 percent would cost us $40,000."

-– Calvin Hennick

DA: Norfolk school meeting violated law

Posted February 13, 2007 03:52 PM

NORFOLK

The Norfolk School Committee violated state open meeting laws last year, according to the Norfolk County district attorney’s office.

The school committee called an emergency meeting on Feb. 7, 2006, to discuss the controversial firing of a teacher. The committee then went into executive session, where it finalized the superintendent’s contract.

The district attorney’s office ruled that there was not sufficient reason to call an emergency meeting or to go into executive session.

The School Committee has since re-voted on the superintendent’s contract in open session, and a spokesperson for the district attorney said that act remedied the situation.

-– Calvin Hennick

Volunteers sought for government reorganization committee

Posted February 9, 2007 02:54 PM

NORFOLK

Selectmen are seeking five to seven residents to volunteer for a committee that will study how the town can save money by reorganizing.

In particular, the committee will look at ways the town can cut costs by sharing services with nearby communities. Selectman Ramesh Advani said the board is seeking candidates with a background in change management and an understanding of municipal finance.

Because the committee will be looking at restructuring town departments, town officials and employees are ineligible to serve.

-– Calvin Hennick

Call & Wait owner making progress

Posted February 9, 2007 02:53 PM

NORFOLK

The owner of Call & Wait Auto Service has cleared off more than 25 percent of the used vehicles and parts from the Lincoln Road property, Town Administrator Jack Hathaway said.

Owner Paul Waznis agreed last fall to have the property completely cleared off by Sept. 30 of this year. In exchange, the Board of Selectmen allowed the business to retain its used car license until that time. Selectmen wanted the business shut down because they said Waznis is running a junkyard under the guise of a used car lot.

Waznis must have 50 percent of the property cleared by March 31.

-– Calvin Hennick

Norfolk school aides won't know until March if they're going to be laid off

Posted February 7, 2007 04:01 PM

NORFOLK

Schools Superintendent Chris Augusta-Scott said she won’t know until at least May which school aides will lose their jobs.

Augusta-Scott announced last month that the K-6 school system would cut 19 of its 46.5 school aide positions in an effort to restructure the special education department.

At the time, Augusta-Scott said aides would be notified this month whether they would keep their jobs, but she has since decided that timeframe is unrealistic, she said.

Augusta-Scott said the schools would offer resume-writing workshops to help the aides prepare for the possibility of losing their jobs.

"We’re going to do whatever we can to help our people transition," she said. "They’ve been very loyal to Norfolk, and they’re great employees who’ve given a lot to our children."

-– Calvin Hennick

Tough budget seen in Norfolk

Posted January 25, 2007 04:12 PM

NORFOLK

Board of Selectmen Chairman Jim Lehan said that, based on preliminary numbers, Norfolk is projecting a $300,000 budget deficit for next year.

Officials had expected an even larger preliminary deficit, Lehan said, but health insurance costs for the town will go up less than expected.

"We’re cautiously optimistic," Lehan said. "The deficit isn’t as big as we thought it would be." Lehan is hoping the deficit can be made up by some increase in state aid or excise taxes, both of which the town is now assuming will be flat.

If revenues don’t increase, the town will have to make up the money with additional spending cuts.

-- Calvin Hennick

Norfolk school board facing complaint

Posted January 13, 2007 09:11 AM

NORFOLK

School Committee Chairwoman Kim Williams says that the Norfolk County district attorney’s office has received a complaint about the committee.

The complaint came from Citizens for Accountability and Responsibility in Education, or CARE, a local group formed last year after Eric Matez, a popular third-grade teacher, was fired. The CARE complaint alleges that the school committee violated open meeting laws last February when it scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the Matez situation.

Williams said the School Committee complied with the law, convening the meeting in open session and then going into executive session to discuss the personnel matter.

The school district’s attorney is drafting a response to the complaint, Williams said.

-- Calvin Hennick

Norfolk school budget meeting rescheduled

Posted December 15, 2006 04:29 PM

NORFOLK

A presentation of next year’s school budget, originally scheduled for Dec. 19, has been rescheduled for Jan. 9.

Superintendent Chris Augusta-Scott said the School Committee made the change to allow for higher attendance. Some residents had said they would be unable to attend the meeting until after the holiday season.

Read Sunday’s Globe West to find out why some officials in Norfolk think the school budget, which will maintain all existing services, will be unaffordable.


-- Calvin Hennick

Norfolk residents arrested after incident at Foxwoods

Posted December 4, 2006 06:21 PM

NORFOLK

Two Norfolk residents were arrested Saturday after they allegedly pulled an elderly woman from a buffet line at Foxwoods Casino and began yelling at her, Connecticut state police said.

Paul J. Rukstalis and Suanne J. Rukstalis are charged with breach of peace. Both are scheduled to appear Dec. 14 in New London Superior Court.

Suanne Rukstalis grabbed the elderly woman and physically removed her from a buffet line, and Paul Rukstalis yelled at the woman, police said.

Suanne Rukstalis, reached at her home today, declined to comment.


Norfolk officials ponder regionalization

Posted December 2, 2006 11:36 AM

NORFOLK

Norfolk might be able to save money by working with nearby towns to provide services together, selectmen said recently.

They may set up a committee to study regionalizing services as soon as their meeting on Monday night. Selectmen agreed that members of such a committee should be residents who do not serve on any town boards, to avoid any conflict of interest.

Norfolk already shares a middle and high school with neighboring towns, and selectmen said money might be saved by combining other services, such as public safety.

"It’s redundancy across the board," Chairman Jim Lehan said. "Every town does the same thing."

-– Calvin Hennick

Norfolk schools warned to be thrifty

Posted December 2, 2006 11:30 AM

NORFOLK

Keep those purse strings tight. That was the word from the Norfolk selectman chairman recently to the town's schools.

Jim Lehan said at a recent meeting that the schools, like other town departments, should prepare a budget that assumes no increase in funding for next year.

"We know today, short of an override, it’s a level-funded budget," Lehan said. His comments came after Selectman Jonathan Smith, the board’s laision to the school committee, told the board that the school committee was planning to prepare a budget that provided the same services as the current year.

Increased costs, coupled with financial constraints, make such a budget unrealistic, Lehan said.

–- Calvin Hennick

Library fines reduced for those who donate books

Posted November 14, 2006 08:22 AM

NORFOLK

Book lovers, take note.

The Norfolk Public Library is offering to help pay down the fines of patrons who bring in used copies of best-selling books.

The library will give coupons worth $3 off library fines in exchange for one of the top 15 titles on the current New York Times fiction best-seller list.

The books, which must be in good condition, can be brought to the circulation desk. Book donors will also receive a receipt for their tax-deductible donation.

-– Calvin Hennick

Controversial business to shut down

Posted November 9, 2006 06:08 PM

NORFOLK

Paul Waznis, owner of Call & Wait Auto Service, has signed a binding agreement to liquidate his business by Sept. 30, 2007, Town Administrator Jack Hathaway announced at a selectmen's meeting this week.

Under the agreement, Waznis cannot bring any new materials onto the Lincoln Road property and must comply with town regulations for disposal of potentially hazardous waste.

Waznis has a license that allows him to operate a used car lot, but selectmen say that he has been operating a junkyard instead. They had threatened to revoke his license if he did not agree to close his business within a year.

“This has been a long struggle, and it’s come to the right conclusion,” Selectmen Chairman Jim Lehan said.

-– Calvin Hennick

Healey sign ordered to move

Posted November 1, 2006 03:05 PM

NORFOLK

Norfolk Town Administrator Jack Hathaway denies the town is playing favorites when it comes to political signs.

Officials asked the owner of a van with a large sign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey, to move the van after a resident pointed out a bylaw prohibiting the use of vehicles as fixed display advertisements.

The van had been parked in the same location, on property near the corner of Boardman Street and Main Street.

Some residents questioned why officials did not demand that the van be moved during the primary elections, when it held a sign for Democratic candidate Chris Gabrieli.

Hathaway said he wasn’t aware that the signs flouted town regulations until a resident pointed out the fixed-display bylaw. “If we had realized the Gabrieli sign was a violation, we would have addressed it at that point,” Hathaway said.

-– Calvin Hennick

Norfolk moves to boost affordable housing

Posted October 25, 2006 03:14 PM

NORFOLK

Town Meeting voters last night approved a bylaw change that will require affordable housing in certain developments. Under the change, developments of 10 or more acres that create 10 or more single-family
dwellings will have to set aside 10 percent of units as affordable housing.

Although a few items sparked debate, the meeting was relatively non-controversial. All items on the warrant passed, with the exception of two that were indefinitely postponed.

Among measures approved by voters: tax breaks for seniors, shifting more money to a down-payment assistance program for affordable housing, and the acceptance of a local-option law that allows members of certain town boards and committees to vote on an issue if they’ve missed one session of an extended public hearing.

-- Calvin Hennick

Getting the word out in Norfolk

Posted October 20, 2006 05:23 PM

NORFOLK

John Bermingham, founder of the Norfolk Organization for Government Oversight, or NOGO, said members of his group contributed $235 for 12 signs announcing the Oct. 24 Special Town Meeting.

Initially, Bermingham had pledged $75 for one sign, but the group was able to secure a better rate after raising money to purchase additional signs.

The signs have been placed at seven locations around town, Bermingham said.

The NOGO signs are in addition to three signs placed by the town, which officials erected after Bermingham asked Town Administrator Jack Hathaway to help raise awareness about the meeting. The town has also sent the warrant for the meeting to every household in Norfolk.

-– Calvin Hennick

Norfolk activist: I'll make my own sign!

Posted October 17, 2006 03:54 PM

NORFOLK

Norfolk has placed three signs near the center of town announcing next Tuesday's Special Town Meeting, Town Administrator Jack Hathaway said.

John Bermingham, the founder of Norfolk Organization for Government Oversight, or NOGO, had complained because the signs were not up two weeks before the meeting. Hathaway had agreed to place the signs by that date to raise awareness about the meeting, Bermingham said.

Bermingham said that town officials repeatedly offered “reasons to fail,” and Hathaway responded by asking Bermingham what he does to help.

Bermingham said that he would purchase a sign with about $75 of his own money. The Special Town Meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday at King Philip Middle School.

–- Calvin Hennick

A sanctuary in Norfolk

Posted October 11, 2006 06:31 PM

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Tom McKenna and his two sons, Evan, 9, and Owen, 7, are reflected in the waters of Teal Marsh at the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk. (Photo: Greg M. Cooper/AP)

NORFOLK

Frances d'Entremont doesn't "walk" or "hike" in the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.

"This is a place where you mosey along," she said. "You stroll."

Frances and Richard d'Entremont, who retired to Maine after raising three children in Walpole, returned recently to the sanctuary for the first time in about a decade. Years ago they often brought their children here to see swans, snapping turtles, or cardinals.

"It's very peaceful -- the birds, there's the waterfall," Richard d'Entremont said, extending his right arm around his wife's back and smiling. "It's romantic."

Indeed, Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk has a little of everything for anyone who likes nature. The 245-acre sanctuary, managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, is located about 30 miles southwest of Boston. It's open year-round and offers adult and children's' classes such as "How the Skunk Got its Stripe" and "Sounds in the Night." ...

The Associated Press takes a look at the sanctuary in a feature story today.

The souped-up Hasselbeck family

Posted September 28, 2006 04:43 PM

NORFOLK

Betsy Hasselbeck, no doubt, has served up a few bowls of soup over the years to her three football-playing sons -- Matt, Tim and Nathaniel -- along with her husband, Don, the former New England Patriots tight end.

Now, the Norfolk mom and son Matt, the starting quarterback for the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, will be featured in Campbell's Chunky soup "Hungry Boys" ad campaign, with 15-second spots airing during National Football League broadcasts.

Players' real-life moms first appeared in the cutesy campaign in 2002, featuring Wilma McNabb, the mother of Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.

Tim Hasselbeck, who followed in his brother's footsteps as a star QB at both Xaverian Brothers in Westwood and later at Boston College, is currently a backup QB with the New York Giants. His wife, Elisabeth, is a co-host on ABC's daytime show, "The View."

-- Craig Larson


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(Hasselbeck in practice yesterday, AP Photo by Kevin P. Casey)


Norfolk votes to join regional bus authority

Posted September 12, 2006 05:22 PM

NORFOLK

The Norfolk Board of Selectmen voted yesterday to join the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority, or GATRA.

The vote means that Norfolk could see buses rolling through the streets of Norfolk as soon as this spring, said Jim Lehan, chairman of the Selectmen.

Lehan said that contracts and bus routes still need to be worked out, and that GATRA’s board needs to vote to accept Norfolk’s bid to join.

Town officials have wanted bus service for years, Lehan said, but it was only made possible this June when the state passed legislation allowing towns to redirect to regional transit authorities a portion of the fees they currently pay to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

In effect, Lehan said, Norfolk has been paying the MBTA for bus service it does not receive. "We used to call them the phantom
buses," he said. GATRA currently serves 17 communities. Franklin also recently voted to join the authority.

-– Calvin Hennick

Commuter service slammed

Posted July 22, 2006 09:45 AM

NORFOLK

Commuter rail service gets slammed in a Letter to the Editor from a Norfolk man in today's Boston Globe.

Here's the letter:

MAC DANIEL'S July 19 article "Commuter rail struggles to meet surge in ridership" (City & Region) misleads readers to conclude that service failures are related to extra riders from Big Dig road closures. The truth is that commuter rail riders have sufffered overloaded trains, failed air conditioning (and heating), and chronic lateness and delays -- all served with a series of outrageous fare increases -- long before recent events concerning the Big Dig.

Chronic service deficiencies and failures that inexplicably worsen with every fare increase -- now, there's a story that needs to be told.

GLENN HILL, Norfolk

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