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Regional planners outline potential impact of Milford casino project

November 15, 2013 05:05 PM

The impacts on the entire region from the proposed Foxwoods casino in Milford are really no different than any other very large development that creates a lot of jobs and attracts a lot of patrons, according to Marc Draisen, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

Over the past several months, the council and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission have been working with area towns to identify the likely impact of the proposed $1 billion casino off Interstate 495 and Route 16 on issues such as traffic, public safety, and water.

And while there would be some significant positive impacts, including jobs and economic benefits, if the complex proposed for Milford wins a state gaming license, the planners primarily focused on identifying and commenting on the negatives, Draisen said.

A 183-page draft report paid for with a grant from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission suggests ways to minimize or mitigate those negatives on a number of nearby towns, including Ashland, Bellingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, Millis and Upton.

The draft report does not take a position on whether a casino would benefit the region, or how it would change the region’s character.

“We try to stick to the numbers,” Draisen said. “Every large-scale development changes the community it’s located in and those communities surrounding it; this is no different.”

Draisen said his agency’s charge was to focus on the communities around Milford to identify potential impacts that may need to be mitigated, so that they could be covered by the formal “surrounding community’’ agreements required by the state’s new gaming law.

But first, Milford voters will have two chances to decide whether there may even be a need for those negotiations.

A special election Tuesday will serve as a binding referendum on the Foxwoods proposal; a majority vote against the community hosting the casino would end the developer’s bid.

If Milford’s voters approve the project, the plan can move forward. Special Town Meeting is slated to convene next month to decide on a request to rezone the casino site, which requires a two-thirds majority.

The draft report by the regional agencies is being reviewed by local officials, and a final version is expected to be completed early next month.

Traffic has been a major concern for Milford and surrounding communities since the casino proposal first surfaced, and the regional planners also have questions about Foxwoods’ proposed mitigation plans.

The plans call for extra lanes, known as connector/distributor roads, to be built in each direction along Interstate 495 between the Routes 109 and 85 exits, and a connector that would provide access to the 187-acre site and Route 16.

“We think that will go a long way toward alleviating traffic along that stretch,” Draisen said.

But, he said, the draft report raises concern about backups north of the new lanes at I-495 and the Mass. Pike.

In addition, Draisen said, there wasn’t enough consideration given to casino employees who are more likely to use local roads when driving to and from work.

The draft report agrees with Foxwoods’ assumption that residents of neighborhoods along East Main Street (Route 16) in Milford, between I-495 and the Holliston town line, will see the most traffic impact from the casino, but it also identifies other potential problem areas.

The report cites routes 109 and 85, which was identified as likely having more traffic than Foxwoods’ predicts; the intersection of Route 16 and Route 126 (Summer Street); the intersection of Route 16 and Highland Street; Route 16 at South Street and Courtland Street, an intersection that currently has no traffic signals; as well as 11 intersections in Holliston, Medway and Millis.

Crime also is considered by the regional planners.

“It is hard to predict, but there will be an increase in call volume to the police and fire departments, and towns have to be prepared,” Draisen said.

The draft report suggests additional information is needed to determine whether things like additional holding cells, training for responding to emergencies in high-rise buildings, and long-term crime investigators would be needed in surrounding towns, and whether existing mutual aid agreements with Milford need to be restructured.

Drunken-driving arrests and “a variety of other motor vehicle related issues, including speeding, stop sign violations, accidents, and mechanical breakdowns,” will also go up in surrounding communities, according to the draft report.

Water concerns are also addressed.

“There are questions about peak days, and the effect on other future developments,” Draisen said.

The draft report raises questions about Foxwoods’ plans to provide adequate water capacity in the future, and concerns raised by Hopedale and Mendon, which rely on the Milford Water Co. for their supplies.

“Those questions have not adequately been answered yet, but presumably they will be,” Draisen said.

Foxwoods is competing for the lone casino license that will be issued in Greater Boston. A project proposed by Steve Wynn in Everett has been endorsed by the city’s voters. A Suffolk Downs proposal for a casino straddling the East Boston-Revere line is in jeopardy after East Boston voters rejected the plan. Suffolk Downs is attempting to put its complex entirely in Revere, where voters embraced its proposal.

Ellen Ishkanian can be reached at

Buses to replace train service along part of Franklin commuter rail line on Saturday

July 12, 2013 12:55 PM

Buses will replace train service between the two westernmost stops of the Franklin commuter rail line on Saturday, officials for the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad company said.

Due to needed track work, service between Forge Park/495 and Franklin/Dean College stations will be provided by shuttle only on Saturday, July 13, the company said in an e-mail to riders Friday.

Delays of up to 30 minutes should be expected, officials said.

“We apologize for any inconvenience as a result of this project and wish to thank you for your patience during this disruption in the service,” the company said.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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Franklin High grad Victoria Bernardini receives seventh annual A. James Lavoie Scholarship from Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation

July 5, 2013 03:39 PM
Victoria Bernardini 1.jpg
Courtesy of the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation
Victoria Bernardini of Franklin who received the seventh annual $5,000 A. James Lavoie Scholarship

This press release was provided by Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation

Dana M. Neshe, President of the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation, has announced that Victoria Bernardini of Franklin is recipient of the seventh annual A. James Lavoie Scholarship.

The $5,000 award is named in honor of Mr. Lavoie, former president of Middlesex Savings Bank, who was deeply committed to the support of education. Bernardini, a graduate of Franklin High, will attend UMass-Dartmouth. She plans to concentrate on the history and cultures of the Middle East, and she hopes to spend a year of study abroad.

An independent committee selected Bernardini for the Lavoie Scholarship for her essay in response to “If you could do one thing to improve the quality of life in your community, what would it be and how would you do it?” Bernardini proposed a peer-to-peer counseling program she named “High School Journey…Seriously.”

As a learning-disabled student whose dyslexia came to light in grade school, Bernardini followed an Individualized Education Program (IEP) through Franklin High and overcame her difficulties in reading and math. But in freshman and sophomore years she did not take her studies seriously. She explained that she would have benefited greatly from a program in which upperclassmen advised younger students on how to realize their academic potential and improve their prospects for admission to college.

“Doing well in high school has very serious consequences. High school students often live in the moment and let academics slip. Both my teachers and parents expected good grades from me, but often the message did not get through. I believe I would have been receptive to some friendly advice and guidance from an informed peer,” she wrote.

Bernardini’s plan envisioned a series of seminars by a cadre of senior-class volunteers who would explain the school’s academic expectations and stress the importance of setting high standards – including consistent class participation, homework, cumulative grade point average, and SAT scores – beginning in freshman year.

“We’re pleased to award this year’s A. James Lavoie Scholarship to Victoria Bernardini,” said Neshe.

“Her essay demonstrated both a mature understanding of high school education’s importance and a clear, realistic path to helping young people reach their full potential. We also salute her for perseverance in her own studies, and we wish her the very best at UMass-Dartmouth and in her future endeavors.”

The Foundation also announced that 30 other students from 25 communities have received $1,000 scholarship grants. Selection criteria included academic merit, financial need, community service, and personal improvement.

The towns represented, the students, and the college they plan to attend, are listed below. Unless noted in parentheses, the students are graduates of their respective town’s high schools.

Ashland: Phoebe Kurris, Bridgewater State. Bedford: Evelyn Sainato, TBD. Bellingham: Megan Kenney, University of New England. Boxborough: Ryan Small (Acton-Boxborough Regional), Endicott. Concord: Jack Struck (Concord-Carlisle), American University.

Framingham (4): Fiorella Portal-Venturi (Advanced Math & Science Academy), Worcester State; Jonathan Montanez (Joseph P. Keefe Technical), TBD; Melanye Fontanelle (Framingham High Resiliency for Life Program), Mass Bay; Colin Moran, University of New Haven.

Franklin (2): Victoria Bernardini ($5,000 A. James Lavoie Scholarship), UMass-Dartmouth; Katherine Nazzaro, Bridgewater State. Groton: Jamie Park, UMass-Amherst. Holliston: Jacob McLinden, UNH; Hopkinton: Jaclyn Chirco, Assumption; Littleton: Garrett Essman, University of Vermont.

Maynard (2): Morgan Parmeter (Assabet Valley Regional), Merrimack; Colby LeSage, Bridgewater State. Medfield: Scott Todd, Florida Institute of Technology; Medway (2): Abigail Gay, Tri-County Regional) Wheelock; Madison Holland, Simmons; Milford (2): Gabriela Rosa, Blackstone Valley Regional), Assumption; Madeline Parsons, Worcester State.

Millis: Matthew Fife, Westfield State; Northborough: Josue Deleon (Algonquin Regional), Worcester State. Natick: Timothy Sakharov, Northeastern; Needham: Julie Weinberg-Connors, Beloit College; Sudbury: Adam Bradley (Lincoln-Sudbury), UMass. Wayland: Mark Bonner, TBD; Wellesley: Amanda Harkavy, Dartmouth; Westford (2): Aaron Febbi, UMass-Amherst; Emily Morency, Elon University.

The Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation was established in 2000 through an endowment provided by Middlesex Savings Bank to ensure funding of scholarships and worthy non-profits in any economic climate. Over $325,000 has been distributed to date through the scholarship program.

MetroWest 'Ambassador' workshops kick off Thursday in Marlborough, Framingham

May 29, 2013 11:26 AM
The MetroWest Visitors Bureau is looking to help train a few good ambassadors to help guide visitors to the MetroWest region.

Three workshops are designed for real estate agents, hotel personnel, residents looking for something new to do with the families and guests, human resources specialists and corporate recruiters, school admissions personnel, municipal employees, docents, ticket-sellers at cultural venues, retailers, among others.

The workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Yawkey Special Olympics Training Center in Marlborough, and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Historic Village Hall in Framingham.

A third workshop will be held June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Milford.

The workshops are part of the bureau's MORE MetroWest campaign that seeks to help define the region as an attractive area to visit and do business in.

"MetroWest is indeed a region with its own unique characteristics. It's not just a place to drive through on the turnpike between Boston and Worcester. But if you're going to market the region, you've got to know about the region," said the bureau's Executive Director Susan Nicholl.

In order to accomplish that, the workshops will help educate ambassadors on cultural or economic "jewels" in the region, said Nicholl, which can range from businesses such as Bose, to facilities such as the New England Sports Center, to wildlife sanctuaries and botanical gardens.

"There's so many people who work in an ambassador-type role," said MetroWest Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susan Nicholl. "If we can help by giving them more tools, then they can become more effective ambassadors."

Contact John Swinconeck at Follow @johnswinc on Twitter.

Dedham jail seeks mentors for prisoners

April 10, 2013 08:53 PM

Norfolk County’s sheriff is looking for volunteers to mentor prisoners at Norfolk County House of Correction in Dedham.

Mentors are paired with inmates while they are in prison, and they continue to meet after the release from prison, according to Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti, who began the program in 2011.

“The idea is to help the inmates stay on a productive, law-abiding path after they leave our walls,” Bellotti said.

Prospective mentors are interviewed and screened by Norfolk County Sheriff’s office staff to determine how well they will fit the program, but Bellotti said people from all walks of life could make good mentors.

About 40 mentors have been paired with inmates since the program began.

Funding in 2011 came from a US Justice Department grant received by the non-profit organization Volunteers of America, which partnered with the sheriff’s office to administer the program.

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can contact Assistant Superintendent Patty Spataro at 781-751-3416.

Norfolk County registry to hold computer seminar on property research

April 2, 2013 01:59 PM

William O'Donnell Norfolk Deeds

Norfolk County’s register of deeds will host a free informational seminar about using computers to research property records.

William P. O’Donnell will hold the seminar at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds at 649 High St. in Dedham on Thursday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m.

The seminar is intended for both real estate professionals and the general public, and will include a presentation, written handouts, and hands-on exercises.

Computer assisted land records research is currently available both at the registry and on the Internet at

The seminar is free, but anyone planning to attend should register by contacting Alicia Gardner at 781-461-6104 or, and providing name, address, e-mail, and a daytime phone number.

Framingham Daughters of the Revolution chapter announces 'Good Citizens' scholarship winners

March 19, 2013 08:54 AM

The Framingham chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution has announced this year's winners of the Good Citizens Award, a nationwide program that gives recognition to local high school seniors and provides them the opportunity to apply for a college scholarship.

Now in its 80th year, the program aims to recognize and reward the qualities of good citizenship among senior high school students. The award is granted to one senior in each community within the local DAR’s district.

Candidates chosen have demonstrated outstanding character and citizenship - defined by the DAR as dependability, service, leadership and patriotism - to their school, community, and country, according to the organization.

Each "Good Citizen" was selected by the respective faculty, staff, and student government.

The following high school seniors have been selected for the award:

  • Ashland: John Joyce
  • Bellingham: Shane Cardinal
  • Holliston: Amber Ahronian
  • Hopedale: Kelsi McDougle
  • Hopkinton: Brian James Doyle
  • Milford: Carolyn Chaplin

Framingham did not participate in the award this year.

For more information about the Framingham DAR chapter, visit the organization's website.

Follow us on Twitter: @yourframingham, @jaclynreiss

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at

Voters' guide for state legislative districts west of Boston

October 29, 2012 10:00 AM

Want to learn about who's running for state representative and state senator in your district? Here's our voters' guide to the candidates facing off in this year's general election on Nov. 6.


Bristol and Norfolk (Medfield): James E. Timilty (D-Walpole, incumbent), Jeffrey Robert Bailey (R-Attleboro)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Middlesex (Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell): Eileen M. Donoghue (D-Lowell, incumbent), James J. Buba (R-Lowell)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

3rd Middlesex (Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Lexington, Sudbury, Waltham, Weston): Michael J. Barrett (D-Lexington), Sandi Martinez (R-Chelmsford)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

4th Middlesex (Arlington, Lexington): Kenneth J. Donnelly (D-Arlington, incumbent), Gerry C. Dembrowski (R-Woburn)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Middlesex and Norfolk (Brookline, Newton, Wellesley): Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton, incumbent)

2nd Middlesex and Norfolk (Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, Natick): Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland, incumbent)

Middlesex and Worcester (Acton, Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, Shirley, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Westborough): James B. Eldridge (D-Acton, incumbent), Dean J. Cavaretta (R-Stow)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex (Franklin, Millis, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Sherborn, Wayland, Wellesley, Wrentham): Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham, incumbent)

2nd Suffolk and Middlesex (Belmont, Watertown): William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont, incumbent), Steven W. Aylward (R-Watertown)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Worcester (Boylston, Northborough): Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester, incumbent)

2nd Worcester (Shrewsbury, Upton): Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury, incumbent), Stephen R. Simonian (R-Auburn)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

Worcester and Norfolk (Bellingham, Milford): Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge, incumbent)


1st Middlesex (Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell): Sheila C. Harrington (R-Groton, incumbent)

2nd Middlesex (Littleton): James Arciero (D-Westford, incumbent), Valerie A. Wormell (R-Westford)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

3rd Middlesex (Bolton, Hudson, Maynard, Stow): Kate Hogan (D-Stow, incumbent), Chuck S. Kuniewich, Jr. (R-Hudson)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

4th Middlesex (Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough): Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Steven L. Levy (R-Marlborough, incumbent)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

5th Middlesex (Millis, Natick, Sherborn): David Paul Linsky (D-Natick, incumbent), William J. Callahan (R-Natick)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

6th Middlesex (Framingham): Chris Walsh (D-Framingham, incumbent)

7th Middlesex (Ashland, Framingham): Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland, incumbent), Jon Andrew Fetherston (R-Ashland)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

8th Middlesex (Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough, Westborough): Carolyn C. Dykema (D-Holliston, incumbent), Martin A. Lamb (R-Holliston)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

9th Middlesex (Lincoln, Waltham): Thomas M. Stanley (D-Waltham, incumbent)

10th Middlesex (Newton, Waltham, Watertown): John J. Lawn, Jr. (D-Watertown, incumbent), Francis Xavier Stanton, III (R-Waltham)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

11th Middlesex (Newton): Kay S. Kahn (D-Newton, incumbent), Greer Tan Swiston (R-Newton)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

12th Middlesex (Newton): Ruth S. Balser (D-Newton, incumbent)

13th Middlesex (Framingham, Marlborough, Sudbury, Wayland): Thomas P. Conroy (D-Wayland, incumbent)

14th Middlesex (Acton, Carlisle, Concord): Cory Atkins (D-Concord, incumbent), Michael J. Benn (R-Concord)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

15th Middlesex (Lexington): Jay R. Kaufman (D-Lexington, incumbent)

21st Middlesex (Bedford): Ken Gordon (D-Bedford), Walter Zenkin (R-Burlington)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

23rd Middlesex (Arlington): Sean Garballey (D-Arlington, incumbent), Joseph J. Monju (R-Arlington)

24th Middlesex (Arlington, Belmont): David M. Rogers (D-Cambridge), Tommasina Anne Olson (R-Belmont), James F. Gammill (Open Innovative Government-Belmont)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

29th Middlesex (Watertown): Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown, incumbent)

37th Middlesex (Boxborough, Harvard, Shirley): Jennifer E. Benson (D-Lunenberg, incumbent)

9th Norfolk (Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Plainville, Wrentham): Daniel B. Winslow (R-Norfolk, incumbent)

10th Norfolk (Franklin, Medway): Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), Richard A. Eustis (R-Medway)

13th Norfolk (Dover, Needham, Medfield): Denise C. Garlick (D-Needham, incumbent)

14th Norfolk (Wayland, Wellesely, Weston): Alice Hanlon Peisch (D-Wellesley, incumbent)

15th Norfolk (Brookline): Frank Israel Smizik (D-Brookline, incumbent)

10th Suffolk (Brookline): Edward F. Coppinger (D-West Roxbury, incumbent)

15th Suffolk (Brookline): Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain, incumbent)

18th Suffolk (Brookline): Michael J. Moran (D-Brighton, incumbent)

8th Worcester (Bellingham): Robert J. Dubois (D-Blackstone), Kevin J. Kuros (R-Uxbridge, incumbent)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

9th Worcester (Upton): George N. Peterson, Jr. (R-Grafton, incumbent)

10th Worcester (Medway, Milford): John V. Fernandes (D-Milford, incumbent)

11th Worcester (Shrewsbury, Westborough): Matthew A. Beaton (R-Shrewsbury, incumbent)

12th Worcester (Berlin, Boylston, Northborough): Harold P. Naughton, Jr. (D-Clinton, incumbent)

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