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Weston

Candidates square off in Weston

Posted April 27, 2008 09:24 AM

The Weston League of Women Voters is holding a Candidate's Night this Wednesday to give residents a chance to question and meet with the contenders for the two contested races in this year's May 10 Town Elections.

The two races are between incumbent Selectman Michael H. Harrity and challenger John J. Noone, and between Diana Chaplin and Gary R. Lee for a five-year seat on the Planning Board.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Weston High School's Media Center.

In other town government news, this year's Annual Town Meeting will likely be spread over two nights, according to a press release from the Town Clerk's office.

The first session will be held May 12 at 7:45 p.m. in the Weston High School Auditorium, with the second session on May 14. This year's warrant is posted on the town's website.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

There's something in the air in Weston, it's ... fiscal responsibility!

Posted February 26, 2008 10:38 AM

WESTON

For the second year in a row, Weston taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief. Town Manager Donna VanderClock said recently that the town will not need to request a Proposition 2 1/2 override this year.

In a cover letter attached to her recommended budget for the upcoming fiscal year, VanderClock says this is in part due to renegotiated contracts with town employees in which most agreed to pay 20 percent of their health care premiums instead of the 10 percent that had long been the norm.

For fiscal year 2009, this move saved the town almost $900,000, she said. The $58.79 million recommended budget for town government and school departments is about 4 percent higher than what was appropriated for the town's budget last year.

Residents can see the full recommended budget and financing plan for fiscal year 2009 on the town website.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Arsenic and slowed pace

Posted December 23, 2007 08:37 AM

WESTON

Recent snowstorms and icy weather have delayed cleanup work on a parcel of town-owned land contaminated with arsenic, said Town Manager Donna VanderClock.

The work to remove the layer of polluted soil on the field near Land's Sake Farm was nearly finished last week, but workers are still trying to clean up an area around a large tree in the field, VanderClock said. The field lies north and east of the intersection of Wellesley, School, and Newton streets.

The community farm has never grown crops on the land. The contamination was discovered earlier this year during testing on the nearby Case Estates property, a historic farm that the town voted to buy from Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum last year.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Verizon bids to be cable provider for Weston

Posted December 22, 2007 08:04 AM

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WESTON

Verizon has applied to become Weston's newest cable provider, requesting a license from the Board of Selectmen earlier this month.

Town Manager Donna VanderClock said that the town's Cable Advisory Committee is in the process of negotiating the license renewal of a current cable provider, Comcast. VanderClock said that whatever terms and conditions Comcast agrees to will also be required of Verizon, which could include an increased budget for staff, to maintain the local cable access station, and to buy more equipment.

Before the town can grant Verizon a license, the company also has to undergo a public hearing.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Honey, I shrunk the municipal garage

Posted December 13, 2007 11:51 AM

WESTON

The Department of Public Works and the Permanent Building Committee will be reducing the scope of the planned DPW facility by 15 percent, in accordance with a goal set by the Board of Selectmen.

Town officials had asked for a $995,000 appropriation for engineering and architectural costs in an article that was defeated at last month's Special Town Meeting. DPW Director of Operations Robert Hoffman said following the selectmen's guidelines would mean reducing the original $18million price tag for a new facility to somewhere around $15 million.

"It seemed like the overwhelming conversation at the town meeting was that we didn't need a garage to house all the vehicles that the town has, so that will probably be the first place we'll think of cutting," Hoffman said.

He said that the town has to try and provide shelter for its more expensive and important vehicles, like the sanders, front end loaders and street sweepers, but other vehicles, like small pickup trucks, might be parked outside. But keeping vehicles outside increases wear and tear and can reduce efficiency in cold weather, as workers have to wait for their engines to warm up before they can get going, Hoffman said.

Hoffman also said that long-time DPW workers were disappointed that, upon completion of the facility, they would still be starting up some of their public works vehicles in the cold.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston officials hope poll-sitting is back in style

Posted December 12, 2007 07:50 AM

WESTON

Weston needs people to work as poll workers during the presidential primary held Feb. 5.

Workers must be registered voters in Weston to apply, but most positions don't require previous experience as an election worker, said Assistant Town Clerk Deborah Davenport.

Training sessions will be provided before the election. Workers earn $10 per hour, and can work in shifts between 6:30 a.m. to shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m. For more information or to sign up, contact Davenport at 781-893-7320, ext. 303.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

DPW will have to re-tool building request in Weston

Posted December 4, 2007 12:23 PM

WESTON

The Department of Public Works and the town's Permanent Building Committee will spend the next few months retooling plans for a new DPW facility after an article requesting more money for its design failed at Special Town Meeting.

"We're just going to have to regroup - maybe downsize the project or do it in phases, I'm not sure," said DPW Director of Operations Robert Hoffman.

The item was among the most extensively discussed at last Wednesday's meeting, which lasted over three hours. The request for the town to appropriate $995,000 for engineering and architechtural services was soundly defeated, with 160 votes against and 59 in favor. Because it required the town to borrow the money, the article would have needed 107 votes to pass.

Another hot topic at the meeting was an article that would amend the town bylaws to allow designated town officials to give citations for environmental, health and some other violations.

The measure passed 82-61, after the meeting members revised the fine structure so that instead of a $100 fine on the first offense, a violator would be issued a warning. Second violations will earn a $100 fine, third violations a $200 fine, and fourth and subsequent violations will earn a $300 fine.

The meeting members also approved eight other articles, including an appopriation of $50,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to study preservation and re-use of the Old Library and Josiah Smith Tavern buildings and to re-zone the parcels on which they stand.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Wrentham police won't support interim chief's bid to serve beyond age 65

Posted November 18, 2007 12:07 PM

WRENTHAM

Detective Sergeant William McGrath, the former president of the Wrentham Police Association, said Wrentham officers oppose allowing the town's police chief to serve beyond the age of 65 because "it would compromise the promotional process that is in place."

Town Meeting voters last week voted down a proposal to ask the state for permission to allow the chief serve beyond the mandatory retirement age.

McGrath said the officers' stance against the change is not a reflection on Richard Gillespie, who selectmen named to serve as a provisional chief until they appoint permanent replacement for Joseph Collamati. Gillespie will turn 65 next September.

"We're 100 percent behind Chief Gillespie," McGrath said.

-- Calvin Hennick

Confusion over bylaw change prompts public meeting in Weston

Posted November 15, 2007 08:41 AM

WESTON

Concerned that one of the items on the warrant for the Nov. 28 Special Town Meeting has created confusion for residents, officials have scheduled a public meeting to explain it.

Article 7 proposes changing the process for dealing with violations of town bylaws so that town officials, such as the Fire Chief, Dog Officer, Building Inspector and others, can directly issue a citation to an offender.

The current procedure requires the town to file a criminal complaint in district court, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process, according to a draft information sheet provided by the town.

The proposed replacedment process is called non-criminal disposition. It would apply to things like littering, violations of Board of Health and Planning Board rules, violations of dog bylaws, and failure to obtain a street opening permit. Alleged violators would be able to appeal by requesting a hearing in district court within 21 days.

The Board of Selectmen will hold an informational meeting for the public about the proposed bylaw on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston resolution would fund pollution solution

Posted November 8, 2007 07:50 AM

WESTON

Voters at Weston's Nov. 28 Special Town Meeting will be asked to appropriate approximately $210,000 for removal of arsenic-contaminated soil on town land.

The 40-acre field at the intersection of School, Wellesley, and Newton streets was probably polluted as a result of pesticides used while the property was an orchard, officials have said. Arsenic had earlier been found on parts of the Case Estates, land that the town voted to buy from Harvard University last year. Harvard will be paying for cleanup of that property.

The town warrant also asks voters to appropriate an estimated $40,000 for an engineering analysis of Field School. The School Committee is considering whether to undertake a major renovation of the school or replacing entirely with a new building.

For a complete listing of warrant items, check out the document online).

The Special Town Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Weston High School's auditorium.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Kids welcome at Department of Public Works open house

Posted October 30, 2007 03:00 PM

WESTON

"Fun for the whole family" is not usually a phrase one associates with public works departments. But there's something for at least two key demographics at Weston's Department of Public Works open house this Saturday (Nov. 3). Kids can get an up-close look at all the big trucks and equipment, and town officials are hoping their parents will learn why the department needs a new building. The special town meeting scheduled for Nov. 28 will ask voters for money to pay for additional design fees for the new facility.The town's Permanent Building Committee, town staff, and the design team working on the project will all be available to answer questions between 9 a.m. to noon at the current public works building, 190 Boston Post Road By-Pass.

Town officials have also planned an informational meeting for next Wednesday (Nov. 7) about the proposed new building. It starts at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Ain't ya got no culture?

Posted October 26, 2007 08:29 AM

WESTON

Five openings on the town's Cultural Council have the Board of Selectmen looking for volunteers.

The board, which has five to ten members, is responsible for administering grant funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The money can be used for things like performances, educational programs, and lectures that "provide access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences... to improve the quality of life and contribute to the economic vitality" of the community.

Anyone intereseted in applying for a spot on the council is urged to send a letter of interest with background information to: Town of Weston, Board of Selectmen, P.O. Box 378, Weston, MA 02493.

Materials can also be faxed to Town Hall at 781-891-3697, or e-mailed.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Have card, will get needle jabbed in arm

Posted October 15, 2007 10:29 AM

WESTON

Residents age 50 and over and those with chronic illnesses can get their seasonal flu vacciIne for free at Weston's annual flu clinic on Nov. 20.

Participants are asked -- but not required -- to bring their insurance cards with them. In some cases, the town able to recoup the cost of the shot from a patient's insurance coverage.

The clinic will be held from 10 a.m. until noon at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 57 Brown Street. Anyone seeking more information is being urged to call the Weston Board of Health at 781-893-7320, extension 332.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston panel to review special ed effectiveness

Posted October 9, 2007 06:57 AM

WESTON

The Weston Public Schools' special education program will undergo a review this year by a committee of parents, teachers, and outside professionals as part of a long-term series of curriculum reviews.

The goal of the reviews is to gauge the effectiveness of the district's two types of special education services, inclusionary programs and learning centers, as well as evaluating how more special education students at the high school level and changes in staffing have affected services, according to the school committee office.

Members of the new committee will also asked to determine whether intervention programs and regular educational offerings are doing enough to help students before they are referred to special education services. The committee will put its findings into a report due next March.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Will Comcast get Com-pliments or Com-plaints?

Posted October 8, 2007 10:06 AM

comcast.jpg

WESTON

Everyone loves to complain about their cable service, but most of the time it doesn't count.

Citizens of Weston, however, have a brief window to officially state any complaints, suggestions or questions about Weston's cable provider, Comcast at an Oct. 22 hearing to review the company's performance, discuss possible improvements, and decide whether Comcast's ten-year license to provide services in Weston should be renewed.

Comcast's license expires Jan. 6, 2008. The hearing is the second of two are mandated by federal law; the first hearing was held last year. The Oct. 22 meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston woman fined for illegal vote that decided Connecticut state house race

Posted September 25, 2007 08:55 AM

WESTON

State election officials have fined a Massachusetts woman $4,000 for voting in Connecticut with an absentee ballot that tied a primary race in Groton that had to be decided by a coin toss.

The state Elections Enforcement Commission has fined Alicia Primer, of Weston, Massachusetts, who has a second home in Groton. While Groton is not her primary residence, Primer had told The New London Day that she thought she could vote because she owned property there.

The situation figured in a tie vote in a Democratic party primary for state representative in August 2006.

When the results were tallied last August, candidate Rita Schmidt had one vote more than her opponent, Elissa Wright. But when the mandatory recount was completed, state officials determined that one more absentee ballot should have been counted, resulting in a tie vote. That absentee ballot was the one cast by Primer.

Wright won the Democratic nomination for a state House seat in Groton last summer by a coin toss and then went on to win the general election. One of her first acts as a lawmaker was to help pass a new state law that replaced coin tosses with runoff elections in cases of tie votes.

-- AP

Weston calls time out at some recreation fields

Posted September 19, 2007 08:19 AM

WESTON

The fields, parking lots, tennis courts and trails around College Pond will be closed for as long as six weeks between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. due to construction of nearby baseball fields.

Recreation Director Douglas MacDougall said work began last week, but how long it will last will depend on the weather. When the work is complete, Weston will have five new baseball fields. MacDougall also said said that Field 14 at Weston High School should be ready for field hockey, soccer and lacrosse players this week.

MacDougall urged anyone seeking more information about the construction or about alternatives for tennis, dog-walking and other activities to call the Recreation Department at 781-529-0203.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston chief applicants to be tested under fire

Posted September 17, 2007 07:51 AM

WESTON

The recruiting firm hired by the town to oversee the search for a new fire chief is contacting as many as seven of the top candidates in preparation for the next round in the process, said town Human Resources Director Lisa Yanakakis.

Municipal Resources of Meredith, New Hampshire will then conduct an "assessment center" in October to test the candidates' skills in decision-making, oral and written communication, internal and external customer service, leadership, organizational management, budgeting, and teambuilding. The assessment center consists of exercises and essays -- such as role playing a scene at a fire involving an angry citizen and an injured person -- that determine how the person would handle the demands of the job.

"It''s not a standard interview. It's pretty grueling," said Yanakakis.

Those who finish with high scores from the assessment process will move on to a series of interviews with town officials.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Talking trash in Weston

Posted September 11, 2007 10:13 AM

WESTON

The town has been able to hold the line on trash fees, thanks to a new contract with the company that incinerates the town's waste.

Public Works Director Robert Hoffman said that fees, which could have changed on Oct. 1, will stay at $190 per household. The new 20-year contract with Wheelabrator of Millbury reduces the per-ton disposal rate from $113 to approximately $75, Hoffman said.

In other trash-related news, the Public Works Department is trying to expand town-wide recycling efforts by placing more recycling bins in schools and other public buildings and making students and staff more aware of the importance of recycling.

In 2006, about 38 percent of incoming material to the transfer station from municipal buildings was recyclable. Hoffman said he hopes to push that rate over 40 percent this year.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Not taking the river for granted

Posted August 25, 2007 12:35 PM

WESTON

The Charles River Watershed Association has received a $5,000 grant from outdoor recreational retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc., better known as REI, that will help the organization continue its antipollution and community education efforts.

The money will help the association, founded in 1965, support clean water advocacy, recreational events such as the annual Run of the Charles Canoe and Kayak Race, a stenciling program that paints reminders not to dump chemicals down drains leading to the Charles River and protection of native species.

The REI grant is one of nine awarded to organizations in the Boston area focusing on either conservation or improving access to outdoor recreation.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

MBTA to seek proposals for development at Riverside Station

Posted August 20, 2007 01:22 PM

riverside.JPG
MBTA officials believe Riverside Station is ripe for development
(Globe staff photo by Dominic Chavez)

NEWTON/WESTON/NEEDHAM

MBTA officials said they will request proposals as early as this fall from developers interested in building housing and commercial space at the Riverside T station.

Transit officials also said they have asked aldermen in Newton to solicit input from Auburndale residents who will be affected by the project and and that they will will incorporate those ideas into the design requests. Several neighborhood residents have spoken out against the project, saying the streets are already jammed with auto traffic.

The Riverside station sits on 22 acres close to the borders of Weston and Wellesley, less than a half-mile from Interstate 95 and the Massachusetts Turnpike.

-- Megan Woolhouse

Weston Fire Department has a new look

Posted August 19, 2007 07:10 AM

WESTON

The town of Weston has three new lieutenants, a captain and a new firefighter on board.

The officers were officially welcomed in a swearing-in ceremony at Town Hall on Aug. 8 -- the first such ceremony that the town has ever held. The ceremony recognized the appointment of firefighter Kevin Burke and the promotions of four others: Dean Munson, Paul B. Nicholas, and Justin Woodside were promoted to lieutenant, and Dwight F. Robertson was promoted to Captain in charge of Fire Prevention.

Town Manager Donna VanderClock said it was a chance to thank them for volunteering to serve the town.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Sidewalk repair curbed in Weston

Posted July 31, 2007 12:11 PM

WESTON

Efforts to refurbish a sidewalk and parking lot next to Weston's Town Green have hit a bump in the road.

The town wanted to accomplish two tasks: replace the uneven sidewalks in front of a strip of businesses at 391-409 Boston Post Road), and ensure that cars using the tiny parking lot in front of the businesses don't encroach on the sidewalk to park.

Public Works Director Robert Hoffman said the town has a ten-foot-wide right-of-way in front of the stores, but the rest is private property, and the town needed permission to go forward. But the owners of the land decided not to allow the town's contractor to do the work, preferring to hire their own. Hoffman said that will make for inconsistent results.

"The parking lot's very uneven, and because we put the new sidewalk in, it's going to look kind of ugly," said Hoffman. "It made sense to do everything at once."

One of the property owners, declined to comment or answer questions on the matter. The other could not be reached.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

A fine, wet mess in Weston

Posted July 24, 2007 02:54 PM

WESTON

The state Department of Environmental Protection has fined the Weston Public Schools $5,000 for discharging too much wastewater into the treatment plant that serves the middle school and the high school. Department spokesperson Racheal O'Brien said there were repeated violations in both 2000 and 2006.

The school department is now required to come up with a plan for reducing the amount of water discharged, and to install $20,000 worth of plumbing fixtures that will cut down on water usage. That includes replacing showerheads at the middle school with low-flow plumbing and timers that prevent the showers from running when not in use.

The schools have agreed to make additional improvements, such as installing water-saving toilets, urinals and sinks, if the total cost of the work is less than $20,000.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Soil spoiled in Weston

Posted July 23, 2007 03:24 PM

WESTON

The town has determined the extent of the arsenic contamination on town-owned land near the Land's Sake Farm Stand.

Town Manager Donna VanderClock said that soil in a 100-by-160 foot area of a former orchard was found to have an unsafe levels of the chemical, which is probably related to pesticides commonly used in the early 20th century. The fields where Land's Sake grows fruit, vegetables and flowers have been ruled safe, and the community farm's director Grey Lee said they had never planted anything in the polluted area.

The Town Engineer, along with environmental consultant Gale Associates, is drawing up a plan for its cleanup. The project will probably done in November, VanderClock said.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

History and trees need help in Weston

Posted July 17, 2007 11:35 AM

WESTON

Weston's Board of Selectmen is seeking volunteers to fill two vacancies on town boards.

The Weston Historical Commission, which works to preserve historic architecture and landscape in town, needs someone to fill the seat left by Robert Fronk. The time commitment includes meetings every three weeks and additional hours spent on site walks, project work, and coordination with other town boards. Officials are especially encouraging residents with a background in architectural history and preservation to apply.

Selectmen are also looking for someone to fill an added slot on the town Tree Advisory Group, which oversees tree plantings and tree education programs. If possible, applicants should have experience in landscape design and maintenance, officials said.

Officials are urging anyone interested in either position to send a letter of interest with background information to the Town of Weston, Board of Selectmen, P.O. Box 378, Weston, MA 02493. Materials can also be faxed to Selectmen at 781-891-3697 or e-mailed to townmgroffice@westonmass.org.

All applications are due August 10.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Fake grass, real progress on Weston High project

Posted July 15, 2007 08:22 AM

WESTON

Installation of a synthetic turf field behind Weston High School began last week, part of a $12 million initiative to improve the school's fields and athletic facilities.

Georgetown-based Quirk Construction Corp. has been contracted to do the work, which should be done by the middle of September, said Master Field Steering Committee member Bob Crowley.

The high school gym is also getting a face-lift, with a new floor and bleachers, which the town expects will be done by the end of the summer.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

New principal for Weston's Field elementary

Posted July 9, 2007 12:19 PM

westonschools.jpg

WESTON

An interim principal has been appointed at the Field School to serve through the 2007-2008 school year. Matthew Lucey started work on July 1, according to the school department's human resources office.

Lucey had been the director of technology and libraries for the Weston Schools since 2006, and before that he was director of business and finance for the Littleton Public Schools. He had also served as Weston's director of technology and libraries from 1995-2000. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and master's degrees in education and arts from Boston College.

Lucey is serving as an interim replacement for Margaret MacQuillan, the school's long-time principal, who left the job as of June 30.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Mr. September

Posted July 8, 2007 09:06 AM

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Derek Brown, a member of the first class of men to be accepted into newly-coed Regis College center, is surrounded by female students at orientation.
(Globe staff photo by Suzanne Kreiter)

WESTON

History may remember them as gender pioneers, but they looked more like typical teenagers, wearing T-shirts, baggy pants, and shy grins.

They were the first men to be admitted to Regis College since it was founded by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1927. The college trustees voted last year to go coed in hopes of boosting enrollment at the financially troubled school.

The nearly 60 young men are (forgive the expression) still outmanned at what was the state's last all-women's Catholic college. More than 250 young women are also enrolled in the class of 2011, putting the guys in a minority that isn't likely to equalize for years.

However, all the young men who gathered on campus recently for freshmen orientation seemed pleased about being surrounded by X chromosomes. Especially those who had spent years at all-boys Catholic high schools.

"It feels great to be in the first class of guys," said Derek Brown, 19, of Brighton, a recent Matignon Prep grad who will play on Regis's first-ever men's basketball team. "My friends say I made a smart move."

Read more about the first men to be accepted to Regis in the online edition of today's Globe West.

They've got male

Posted July 6, 2007 12:14 PM

regis.jpg
(Globe staff photo by Suzanne Kreiter)

WESTON

After 80 years as an all women's Catholic school, Regis College in Weston prepares to welcome its first co-ed freshman class this fall.

``It feels great to be in the first class of guys,'' said Derek Brown, 19, of Brighton, who is pictured above, meeting some of his classmates.

Look for the complete story in Sunday's Globe West...

-- Erica Noonan

Weston to join regional public transit project

Posted July 3, 2007 10:34 AM

WESTON

Selectmen have voted to begin the process of joining the newly formed MetroWest Regional Transit Authority, paving the way for public transportation links within points in Weston and with neighboring communities, officials said.

A law sponsored last year by local legislators allows towns without fixed-route MBTA bus service to use part of their state public transportation assessment to create regional transit authorities. Donna VanderClock, Weston's town manager, said the town's assessment for the current fiscal year was $233,155.

The six towns currently included in the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority are Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Natick, and Wayland. Sherborn also recently voted to join.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Competing for a crown in another realm

Posted June 25, 2007 02:21 PM

kane.jpg
Alyssa Kane

WESTON

A Weston teenager was the second runner-up to the Miss Connecticut competition, which wrapped up yesterday, the AP reports.

Alyssa Kane, 18, is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut, and currently holds the title of Miss Southern New England.

Kane was eligible for the Connecticut crown by virtue of living primarily in the state while she attends classes.

-- Alex Oster

Weston looking for fire guru

Posted June 11, 2007 08:31 AM

WESTON

Weston will start the process of finding a replacement for Fire Chief Edmund M. Walker, who is leaving the department to take the lead job at the Massachusetts Fire Academy.

Town Human Resource Director Lisa Yanakakis said that the town has hired a consulting firm specializing in public safety to organize the recruiting process. The firm, Municipal Resources Inc., is based in Meredith, N.H. Yanakakis hopes that they'll find a replacement as soon as possible, but hopefully within six months.

In the meantime, former Newton Fire Chief Joseph Daniele will be serving as Interim Chief Fire Administrator. State law prohibits anyone over 65 years old from serving as a firefighter, so Daniele will handle only administrative duties. He was to start the job today.

- Stephanie V. Siek

New strategies for Weston's road warriors

Posted June 9, 2007 10:48 AM

WESTON

Drivers who live in Weston or commute through it might want to take a look at the town website this week.

The town has released its list of scheduled road improvements this summer. Keep in mind, though, that all dates are subject to change based on weather conditions and other circumstances beyond the town's control.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Policy discussions on tap for School Committee

Posted June 4, 2007 02:12 PM

WESTON

The School Committee meets tonight for its second-last meeting of the 2006-2007 school year, and end-of-the-year business tops the agenda.

The Weston Education Enrichment Fund Committee, also known as WEEFC, will give its year-end report and present proposals for next year. The School Committee will also review and discuss reports on the department's athletic program, next year's School Improvement Plans for Country and Woodland School, and general policies.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in Case House, 89 Wellesley Street. The School Committee's last regular meeting of the year is scheduled for June 18.

- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston teachers reach accord

Posted May 30, 2007 11:44 AM

WESTON

The Weston School Committee and the union representing the town's teachers have reached a unanimous agreement on a three-year contract.

Year one of the contract, which begins Sept. 1, gives teachers a 3 percent raise, which goes up to 3.25 percent for the second and third years.

The Weston Education Association agreed to increase their members' contribution to their health insurance plans from 10 percent of the premium to 20 percent.

"We are pleased with what we have achieved and for the respectful process that enabled us to get to this result, " said chairman Ed Heller, according to a School Committee news release.

The last round of contract negotiations in 2004 was more contentious after talks stalled over health insurance issues, with teachers picketing and residents taking sides.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston remembers, celebrates

Posted May 27, 2007 01:00 AM

westonseal.jpeg

WESTON

Weston's only parade of the year takes place tomorrow, with an old-fashioned celebration of Memorial Day.

The remembrances start at 9:15 a.m. with Weston Girl Scouts tolling the First Parish Church bell, which was cast by Paul Revere. The parade will follow a 10 a.m. Memorial Day service in Town Hall's auditorium, and will feature a honor guard, local veterans in antique cars, and a fife and drum corps.

For more information, visit the town website.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Harvard's deadline to clean up Case Estates arsenic extended

Posted May 25, 2007 06:02 AM

case estates.JPG
Environtmental historian Brian Donahue and local resident Jack Williams at the Case Estates.

WESTON

The Board of Selectmen selectmen has voted this week to extend the deadline by which Harvard University has to submit a plan for cleaning up arsenic contamination found on parts of the Case Estates.

Harvard now has until June 13 to submit its plans to clean up the 62-acre former farm, which the town voted to purchase last fall. The land was owned by Harvard's Arnold Arboretum. Recent testing also found similar contamination on nearby land owned by the town. The contamination is believed to have come from lead arsenate, a commonly-used pesticide for apple trees from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

Town Manager Donna VanderClock said that a more permanent fence will be replacing the cautionary tape now surrounding the tainted site. VanderClock said the town is waiting for more test results before deciding how to proceed with the cleanup, but it will probably involve removing the tainted soil and replacing it with clean fill.

Meanwhile, Steven L. Charlip was elected to serve as the board's chairman, replacing Michael Harrity. The board's chairmanship rotates every year.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Newsweek’s “Best High Schools” list includes six area schools

Posted May 24, 2007 06:46 AM

NeedhamHigh.JPG
Needham High's new rallying cry: "We're No. 1,028!"
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)

DOVER/SHERBORN/WELLESLEY/WESTON/
NEWTON/WAYLAND/NEEDHAM

Six schools in Globe West have made Newsweek’s newly released 2007 “America’s Best High Schools” list, including Dover-Sherborn High School, which ranked second highest in the state.

Of the over 1200 public schools on the list, Dover-Sherborn ranked 127th, Weston High School 186th, Wellesley High School 487th, Wayland High School 686th, Newton South High School 714th, and Needham High School 1028th. The state’s highest ranking school was Boston Latin School, which at 76th was the only Massachusetts school to make the top 100.

Rankings are based on only one factor: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2006 divided by the number of graduating seniors. Newsweek reports that while some critics consider the criteria too narrow, research studies have shown that passing scores on AP exams are a predictor of college success.

Scores from 27,000 public schools were reviewed, meaning schools included on the list are in the top 5% of public schools nationally. Three schools fell off the list from last year: Hopkinton High School, Newton North High School, and Holliston High School.

-- Denise Taylor

Weston vote will mean one-stop-shopping for wine and cheese

Posted May 8, 2007 12:24 AM

WESTON

Oenophiles in Weston will be able to toast a victory after tonight's Annual Town Meeting, although for the moment they'll have to buy the wine elsewhere.

Despite invoking fears of increased underage drinking, retail monopoly and damage to the "unique character of Weston," opponents of a petition to allow wine sales in Weston's only supermarket did not gain enough traction to preserve Weston's status as a dry town.

With 106 votes in favor and 71 against, Weston took the first step towards allowing the sale of alcohol for the first time in at least a century.

Now it will have to go to the legislature and governor for approval before returning to Weston for a vote in next year's town elections.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Driving safety course offered to senior drivers

Posted April 4, 2007 02:16 PM

WESTON

Weston's Council on Aging is offering senior citizens a AARP driver safety refresher program.

The course covers safe driving strategies, crash-avoidance techniques, recent changes in the law, and how age-related changes affect driving abilities.

The 8-hour course meets April 20 and 27 for two classroom sessions, and costs just $10. You don't need to be a Weston resident to enroll.

For more information or to register, call Fran Kelly at the Weston Council on Aging at (781) 893-0154.

-- Erica Noonan

Another mishap for Fung Wah bus

Posted March 23, 2007 12:37 PM

WESTON

The Fung Wah Bus Company had another mishap this morning when one of its coaches got stuck on a curb in front of a tollbooth on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Weston, police said.

No one was injured, but the westbound bus was not immediately able to continue on its trip to New York, said State Police Lieutenant Eric Anderson.

The bus approached the tollbooth at 8:30 a.m. and drove up on one of the cement lane dividers, Anderson said. It was not immediately clear how many people were onboard.

-- Andrew Ryan

Weston's sports fields almost ready to play ball

Posted March 16, 2007 11:26 AM

WESTON

The Weston Field Study Committee is in the thick of $12 million worth of improvements to the town's playing fields and sports parks over the next ten years. The committee updated the Board of Selectmen on its progress last Tuesday.

Committee Chair Bob Crowley, reached after the meeting, said that they are completing "Phase Zero" of the project, which included the conversion of a former septic field between the middle and high schools into a multi-use playing field.

Now designed to accommodate softball, t-ball, soccer and lacrosse, it will be officially inaugurated at Weston High School's first varsity softball game in April.

The last stage of this phase is $1 million worth of improvements to the high school gymnasium - including new floors, bleachers, lighting and sound system - that will begin after school ends in June.

Future phases include the expansion and redesign of College Pond park and improvement of drainage, parking, fencing and irrigation at the town's other fields and facilities.

- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston "star" of open government, says group

Posted March 15, 2007 07:11 PM

Open government advocacy group Common Cause Massachusetts has named the Town of Weston as one of just 41 "Stars" in the state for posting key government documents online.

The group examined all of the state's 351 communities to see if they had websites which allowed access to six important sets of documents: the municipal bylaws, the agenda and minutes of the governing body of that municipality, the budget for the current fiscal year, and town meeting warrants and results if applicable.

Weston had all six available on Weston.org, for the second year in a row.

Common Cause Massachusetts recognized the Star communities in a ceremony at the Statehouse today.

Other Globe West communities with Star status include Hopkinton, Newton, Franklin, Bolton, Maynard, Shrewsbury, Stow, and Sudbury.

For a complete listing of how each community rated, go to the Common Cause's Massachusetts Campaign for Open Government site at http://www.maopengov.org/

- Stephanie V. Siek

The warm before the storm

Posted March 14, 2007 06:26 PM

Warm Weather.jpg

The weather is supposed to take a turn for the wintry worse. But at least we could enjoy today, with temperatures peaking near 70. In this photo by AP photographer Chitose Suzuki, Jeffrey Beck of Watertown feeds birds with his nine-year-old son C.J. in Weston this afternoon.

Alex Cohn, 18

Posted March 13, 2007 06:18 PM

14cohn.jpg

WESTON

Putting people at ease was so effortless for Alex Jacob Cohn it seemed a birthright.

‘‘Alex was born with a great sense of humor,’’ said his mother, Carol Kaplan. ‘‘From the time he was pretty young we have so many pictures of him fooling around with his brother, laughing at jokes that you wouldn’t think a baby that age would get.’’

A competitive freestyle skier who put more emphasis on the skiing than the competition, Mr. Cohn was on the threshold of adulthood and college when he died of viral encephalitis Monday in Newton-Wellesley Hospital. He was 18 and had lived with his family in Weston while attending his senior year at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill. He had been accepted to Connecticut College by early decision.

‘‘He was a wonderful kid, really,’’ said his father, Rick Cohn. ‘‘There was something special about him.’’

In addition to his parents and brother Zachary, Mr. Cohn leaves his grandparents, June and Seymour Cohn of Selma, Ala., and Ziona Kaplan-Weber of West Hartford, Conn.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow in Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill. Burial will be private.

-- Bryan Marquard

Weston's library among the best

Posted January 30, 2007 01:01 PM

WestonLibrary.jpg
(Town of Weston image)

WESTON

The next time you walk through the doors of the Weston Public Library, you can do it knowing that you're visiting the best library in the state, at least according to Hennen's American Public Library Rankings Report.

The annual report, a nationally-known analysis of library quality, ranks libraries across the country based on 15 criteria culled from federal statistics. Weston's highest scores are in visits per resident, circulation per resident, and reference materials per resident, according to Library Director Susan Brennan.

Brennan said the library had more than 200,000 visitors last year. "Statistics like this mean that we're headed in the right direction,. It validates what we do on a day-to-day basis, but it also means we can improve," Brennan said.

Other area libraries also fared well in the rankings, with the Dover Library and Newton Free Library just tenths of a percentage point away from Weston.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston boys unbeatable in pool

Posted December 28, 2006 12:47 PM

westonswimming.jpg
Swimmer Michael Grant gets encouragement from the girls' team during a competition
(Globe Staff Photo by Evan Richman)

SPORTS

The Weston High boys' swim team is on an historic run in the pool.

Seventy-seven straight dual meet victories. Eight consecutive Division 2 state titles.

The man at the controls is Pete Foley, now in his 35th and final season as coach.

And his talented squad has every intention of ending their highly regarded mentor's career with another title.

"Even last spring, the [returning] kids were talking about what it would take to keep it going, it would be nine [state titles] in a row," said Foley, whose squad opened the season with five straight victories.

Read more about the team in today's GlobeWest.

-- Craig Larson

Always in fashion

Posted December 27, 2006 04:57 PM

WESTON

adele3.jpg

Today, people learn home decorating from HGTV and cooking from the Food Network. But from the '50s to the '80s, novices learned how to sew from the books of Adele P. Margolis.

Now 97, the Weston resident has reissued a book of techniques that the children and grandchildren of her first readers will still find useful; and she is preparing a new one to help her long-time fans tailor clothing to the quirks of physique that come with age.

Just to show that she's as good with the pen as the pin, she has published a book of her own poetry.

"It's so astonishing that I'd still be writing at 97, but it won't be in the future," Margolis said. "We think about old people as decrepit, but the brain continues. It's kind of wicked to be forced out of things when you want to go on."

Read more of Stephanie Siek's story in tomorrow's Globe West.

The lost mountains

Posted December 14, 2006 03:07 PM

WESTON

Ever wonder what happened to all the ski areas that used to be in New England?

Here's something that can help: The New England Lost Ski Areas Project (NELSAP).

Weston has its very own lost ski area, Tony Chamberlain reports today in the "On Skiing" column. Cat Rock used to be a ski area, but no longer exists, for reasons unknown to NELSAP.

Do you know what happened to Cat Rock? E-mail your answer to etochin@globe.com.

-- Erica Tochin

Dem fundraiser Solomont seeking state post

Posted December 5, 2006 09:16 AM

WESTON

Weston's Alan D. Solomont, a wealthy businessman, philanthropist, and premier Democratic fund-raiser, is looking to Governor-elect Deval Patrick to clear his path to public service, either in a Cabinet position in the new administration or as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

A senior adviser in the Patrick camp said Solomont has made it clear to the governor-elect's advisers he is interested in being secretary of economic development, an agency that promotes business development and job creation and is considered a critical position in any administration.

But Solomont also has privately expressed interest to education officials in becoming the new chancellor at UMass-Lowell, the Globe reports today.

-- Frank Phillips

Weston to pay $700k to finish work on schools

Posted November 9, 2006 06:24 PM

WESTON

Voters at Wednesday's Special Town Meeting appropriated $700,000 to cover construction costs and legal bills related to finishing work at Country and Woodland schools, which were dedicated in 2004.

School Committee Chairwoman Wendy Spector told voters that the town found some of the original contractor's work to be defective and had problems with a second contractor.

Spector said the town is trying to recover at least some of its additional costs.

In another financial vote, voters approved changes to the current budget that allow for an additional section of kindergarten. The expense was offset by decreased insurance costs for school administrators and managers.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Weston to buy Case Estates

Posted November 8, 2006 09:58 PM

WESTON

Loud applause and wild cheers broke out at tonight's special town meeting in Weston as hundreds of voters approved the purchase of the Case Estates.

No one spoke in opposition to the motion, which called for the town to use $22.5 million in Community Preservation Act funds and loans, as well as municipal bonds to buy the land at Weston's center.

The measure, which needed a two-thirds majority vote, passed unanimously.

"I was a little surprised to get a unanimous vote but not surprised to see that it passed," said Brian Donahue, who had advocated for the purchase as a member of the Community Preservation Committee. "Now comes the hard work of seeing how much we can keep."

The town selectmen have said that the majority of the land should be kept as open space but some parcels could be sold off as house lots to recoup part of the cost.

Michael Harrity, chairman of the board of selectmen, had reminded the meeting's attendees that private donors could purchase these parcels and then give them back to the town for use as recreational or open space.

The nonprofit Case Fund was established last month to head private fund raising efforts. During the meeting, fund board member William Brady announced that the fund had collected nearly $1 million in pledges.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Nearly three-fourths of Weston voters cast ballots

Posted November 8, 2006 04:05 PM

WESTON

Yesterday's election drew 72 percent of Weston's registered voters to the polls, according to the Town Clerk's office.

Preliminary counts, excluding provisional ballots, indicate that 5,108 ballots were cast. As of Oct. 18, the last day to register for the election, Weston had 7,028 registered voters.

The turnout percentage was slightly higher than the turnout at the 2002 mid-term elections, which drew about 69 percent of registered voters.

A major draw this year seemed to be Question 4, which asked voters to approve a tax increase resulting from debt incurred should the town purchase the 62-acre Case Estates.

Figures posted on the town website showed that 3,954 voted in favor of the debt exclusion, 914 voted against, and 240 ballots were left blank on the question.

Tonight residents will attend a Special Town Meeting to vote on whether the town should buy the land, which Harvard University has offered to sell for $22.5 million, to prevent it from falling into the hands of a developer.

A detailed explanation of how the land might be used and how a purchase would impact taxpayers is available at the town website, weston.org. The special town meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Weston High School.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

First step towards Case Estates purchase approved

Posted November 7, 2006 09:16 PM

WESTON

Voters in Weston have approved a tax increase that paves the way for the purchase of 62 acres of field, forest and trails known as the Case Estates.

According to unofficial numbers reported at 8:37 p.m. by Town Manager Donna VanderClock, 3,948 people have voted in favor of a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion proposal, which will exclude the debt incurred by buying the land from tax increase limits.

So far, officials have counted 910 votes against the measure and counted 236 blanks.

Some hand-counted ballots are still being processed. Tomorrow, voters at a Special Town Meeting will decide whether to give the official go-ahead for the purchase by approving the use of town money for it, including Community Preservation Act funding.

A two-thirds majority is needed for the Town Meeting measure to pass. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Weston High School.

-- Stephanie Siek

Son of Patriots coach placed on probation

Posted October 31, 2006 08:28 AM

WESTON

Stephen Belichick, 19, of Weston, son of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, was placed on probation for six months yesterday after being arrested Saturday in Weston on charges of marijuana possession, authorities said.

Belichick, who authorities said had no prior record and was found with less than a gram of the drug, was arraigned in Waltham District Court along with Jonathan Pizarro, 18, of Roxbury.

Pizarro, who also had no prior record, had several small plastic bags of the drug, police said. He was charged with attempt to distribute, officials said.

He is due back in court Dec. 7. The two were found about 9:25 p.m. inside Pizarro's car in a church parking lot on Winter Street by police on routine patrol.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Bill Clinton visits the 'burbs

Posted October 25, 2006 04:42 PM

WESTON

The man from Hope will be in Weston tonight.

Former President Bill Clinton, after attending a fundraiser for Deval Patrick and Tim Murray in Worcester, will head to the western suburbs tonight to raise more than $1 million for Democratic congressional campaigns.

Democratic fundraiser Alan Solomont said the event at his house will break fund-raising records, taking in up to $1.4 million. He said Democratic congressional leaders have told him that this is the biggest money event ever that has been held outside of Washington. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi is showing up for the sit-down dinner.

Originally planning for no more than 60 people, Solomont has had to use a tent in his backyard to accommodate a crowd that has swelled to 150.

''We're turning people away,'' Solomont said. The tent had been originally set up for a Monday fund-raiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Patrick, where his campaign collected $200,000 in donations.

Earlier in the day, Clinton will appear in Worcester for a fundraiser and rally for Patrick and the lieutenant governor nominee, Murray. It is his second trip to the state this month, the Globe's Political Intelligence blog reports.

-- Frank Phillips

clinton.jpg

(Bill Clinton at a fundraiser in Louisville, Ky., AP Photo by Ed Reinke)

Smoking tape in Regis battle?

Posted October 19, 2006 06:46 PM

WESTON

A newly discovered videotape. Dueling lawsuits. And angry neighbors.

It's not an episode of "Boston Legal" -- it's the latest twist in a dispute between the town of Weston and Regis College. The neighbors group Stop Regis Overdevelopment says it has video proof that the college once promised never to build anything like the retirement village planned for its east campus.

The group has blitzed the media with a DVD containing a tape from a Town Meeting in 1999 where then-Regis president Sheila Megley said the college would not build a "nonconventional" development on the site.

A transcript shows that Megley specifically referenced Lasell College's on-campus retirement community as an example of what would not be built.

"There was a rumor that we were going to build a whole development area; we are not," the transcript quotes her as saying.

The neighbors group and Weston officials say that Regis misled the town about its intentions in order to get approval for an easement it needed to tie into Waltham's sewer system.

The town today filed a counter-claim in Land Court in response to Regis's lawsuit. The college is suing the town, which has denied permission for the retirement community.

Regis argues that since the community would be tied to the nursing school, the state's Dover Amendment protecting educational institutions trumps local zoning laws.

-- Stephanie Siek

The Big Bopper in Weston

Posted October 17, 2006 11:10 AM

WESTON

ortiz.jpg

(Red Sox slugger David Ortiz at bat in a Weston backyard Wiffle Ball game, Globe staff photo by Stan Grossfeld)

Although the Red Sox aren't playing October baseball, that didn't stop slugger David Ortiz from hitting some majestic home runs this past weekend.

Big Papi himself showed up in Weston for a game of backyard Wiffle Ball. Ortiz played with about 30 kids, although he complained that the bat was too light.

"I feel like I was hitting the ball with my arm," he told the Globe.

It was all for a good cause, though. Several Harvard Business School grads shelled out $30,000 at an auction for Ortiz's time, all of which will be donated to Good Sports Inc., a non-profit based in Dorchester that donates sporting goods for city youths.

-- Erica Tochin

Weston native is young inventor

Posted October 15, 2006 10:22 AM

WESTON

Weston native Nicholas Powley was two years old when his parents put him on one of those octopus-style amusement park rides.

His parents worried something was wrong when he sat rigid, staring at nothing.

But when they asked him if he was all right, he slowly declared: "I — know — how — it — works!"

The young inventor who runs a business called Open Forum Design is profiled today in the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn.

Regis goes coed

Posted September 1, 2006 12:14 PM

WESTON

Regis College will no longer be an all-girls Catholic school. Starting in 2007, the school will admit men as well, the Globe reports today.

The Weston college had a round of layoffs and cutbacks in 2002, and has continued to have deficits every year. By admitting men, the college hopes to have 1,000 undergraduates rather than the 640 it has now.

Will the change deter prospective female students? Some, like Kathryn Enrici, a sophomore from West Roxbury, think it might be a little awkward.

"Right now we go to school in our pajamas," she said. "For some girls, they'll still look like they just woke up, but for other girls, they'll be completely dressed with full makeup and shoes. Plus some girls just don't like speaking up in front of boys, so that'll be a big change."

Others, like junior Sophie Gabrion, don't think allowing men at the college will change the experience.

"I don't think Regis is going to be any less special if guys come here," she said.

-- Erica Tochin

Paul Licht, 89

Posted August 25, 2006 12:15 PM

WESTON

Paul Licht, a former teacher, coach and day camp director at The Rivers School in Weston, has died. He was 89.

He is being remembered as an energetic man who established connections with students that lasted decades.

"He had a special way of pushing people to excel and to get the most that they could do," said former student Edward Shifman of Newton. "He didn't coddle you, but by the same token, he wasn't abusive. And he wasn't shy about being demanding."

Licht's career spanned from the 1940s to his retirement in 1987, but even then he was no stranger to the students and campers, visiting the school well into his 80s, the Globe reports in an obituary today.

PaulLicht.jpg


Weston Library Closed through 8/14

Posted August 10, 2006 03:11 PM

WESTON

The Weston Public Library has closed its doors until Aug. 14 to let workers complete work on the front part of the building's roof.

Fortunately for procrastinating bookworms, the library will waive fines for books that are due on those days.

The library will also be closed Aug. 19 and Aug. 26 to allow for more repairs.

- Stephanie V. Siek

Chow ciao?

Posted August 8, 2006 12:38 PM

WESTON

Local aficionados of Roman-style fresh pasta, pizza and pannini are puzzling over the fate of Campo de Fiori's three restaurants, including one in Weston.

In the Boston Area section of the Chowhound blog, Campo devotees report that a sign on the door in Weston says it's closed due to equipment failure - and that a similar sign has been posted at the Commonwealth Avenue location near Boston University.

The Harvard Square location in Cambridge, posters on the blog say, seems permanently closed.

Our own reporting has determined that the Weston shop hasn't been open since mid-July. No one answered the phone in either Weston or Cambridge when a reporter called Tuesday at lunchtime, and the voicemail at the Boston location was full.

More information to follow when it becomes available ...

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Farmers' Bounty

Posted August 5, 2006 10:55 AM

FOOD/REGIONAL

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

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

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

-- Erica Noonan

Kitchen clash

Posted August 2, 2006 09:56 AM

WESTON

Super chef Lydia Shire of Weston is waging a legal battle against Ken Hiimmel, the megadeveloper and high-end restaurateur.

Shire says Himmel fired her from the Excelsior restaurant because of her age. Himmel's lawyer says she was fired because of huge cost overruns and other missteps in the kitchen, Steve Bailey reports in his column in today's Business section.

Vacation homework

Posted July 30, 2006 10:37 AM

REGION

Ah, good old summer. A time for teenagers to sleep late, hang out, and daydream. And, of course, there's always homework.

Homework?

The Globe reports today that starting more than a decade ago, the amount of summer homework for high school students has risen in the state's affluent, high-achieving districts.

Some schools think it's gone too far. Needham High School and Weston High have cut back.

"These kids are overstressed and overprogrammed," said Connie Barr, whose daughter will be a senior at Needham. "They need a chance to play and make decisions about how to spend their summer without something hanging over their heads all the time."

Principal Paul Richards cracked down on the amount of homework to allow more time family vacations, camps -- and, of course, internships.

needham2.jpg

(Olivia Boyd, an incoming junior at Needham High, worked Friday at Nobles Day Camp. Boyd fits summer reading into her busy vacation schedule. Photo by Robert Spencer)

Meet Ms. Marian Case

Posted July 29, 2006 10:55 AM

WESTON

Meet Marian Roby Case.

She was a feisty spinster, an “odd stick” wearing frumpy clothes, who created a summer agricultural school for boys in Weston.

Now the 62 acres of land where she spent a fortune instilling “her boys” with a sense of respect for growing things is being sold.

Read more about Marian Case and the future of Case Estates in tomorrow’s Globe West.

-- Erica Tochin

Marian2.jpg

(Courtesy of Weston Historical Society, Pamela Fox)

Taking the hot seat

Posted July 25, 2006 09:28 AM

WESTON

A Weston resident has been appointed to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority board.

Governor Mitt Romney has appointed Judy M. Pagliuca to replace Beth Lindstrom. Lindstrom had to step down after Romney discovered he had run afoul of a law designed to prevent governors from overloading the board with members of a single party, the Globe reports today.

The board is in the spotlight these days because of questions about the safety of the Big Dig.

Highway bloggers

Posted July 25, 2006 09:02 AM

WESTON

Did you see the two signs recently on the Recreation Road bridge over Route 128 in Weston?

"The war is a lie," said one. "And you know it," said the other.

Those were put there by Cambridge lawyer Bruce MacDonald. The Globe reports today that MacDonald is one of an increasing number of "highway bloggers" who post their antiwar opinions on bridges over highways.

The bloggers say it's an easy, inexpensive way to reach lots of people, including those who may not be receptive to their opinions.

highwayblog2.jpg

(Photo by Rose Lincoln)

Former Patriots player arrested

Posted July 21, 2006 02:05 PM

WESTON

Police arrested former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson and his wife this week on assault and battery charges after a domestic disturbance at the couple’s Weston home.

Johnson, 33, who retired from the NFL last July after 10 seasons and three Super Bowl victories with the Patriots, got in a physical fight Sunday with Jacqueline Johnson at about 8 p.m., according to court documents.

Jacqueline Johnson, 40, called police and told officers that her 6-foot-4 husband twisted her arm behind her back and pushed her into a bookcase, where she hit her head. According to the court documents, she fought back, punching and kicking Ted Johnson.

Weston police arrested the former Patriot and, after questioning, also arrested his wife.

-- Globe City and Region staff

F. Douglas Garron, 85

Posted July 21, 2006 09:27 AM

WESTON

"I'll Be Blasting You" -- Remember that song? It was the theme song of the old "Major Mudd" show on Channel 7.

For a lot of people, the song is a passport to days gone by.

F. Douglas Garron of Weston and Edgartown, the man who wrote the song, has died, the Globe reports in an obituary today.

His wife remembers him as a man of "incredible charm" who made faces light up when he performed for children at Children's Hospital and Boston Shriners Hospital.

Evacuated from Lebanon

Posted July 20, 2006 09:17 AM

WESTON

A 47-year-old Weston man and his 17-year-old daughter are among those Americans who are being evacuated from Lebanon, McClatchy Newspapers reported.

Nabil El-Hage said it was a relief to arrive in Cyprus when he stepped off a cruise ship in Cyprus early today. He and his daughter were scheduled to take a commercial flight home today to reunite with the rest of the family.


His daughter Beatrice said they were afraid that if they didn't leave now, they wouldn't be able to leave.

Weston baseball

Posted July 15, 2006 12:27 PM

WESTON

Jon Beverly and the Weston High baseball team are featured in a piece in the Courier Journal of Elgin, Ill. today.

Beverly graduated from Larkin High School there, the newspaper notes, then talks about the team's triumphs over adversity.

Fuel for car and body

Posted July 12, 2006 11:51 AM

WESTON

Behind the usual baskets of arugula, radishes and cucumbers at the Land's Sake Farm stand, at 86 Wellesley Street, you can see the community farm's latest addition to its crops: biodiesel.

The fuel, sold in bright yellow gallon containers, is made from vegetable oil or animal feed byproducts.

Land's Sake Executive Director Grey Lee says it can be used as either an additive to regular diesel fuel or in place of it.

"It's 100 percent biodegradable. You can eat it on a salad - it's perfectly benign stuff," Grey says. "Not that people are doing that."

The biodiesel can be purchased any time the farm stand is open - from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

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