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Watch: Wellesley firefighters rescue dog trapped in ice

December 24, 2013 12:31 PM

Wellesley firefighters had a rough time rescuing a dog that fell through the ice into a bone-chilling Charles River Sunday, authorities said.

For their efforts, the Wellesley Fire Department will be given an award by PETA, the animal rights organization.

Firefighters had to fight through patches of ice near the border of Dover and Wellesley to rescue a golden retriever named Crosby, said Wellesley Fire Captain Jim Dennehy. The dog fell through a thin patch of ice during an afternoon walk, he said.

Rescuers donned ice suits and swam through the freezing waters to get close enough to Crosby, who was then grabbed by the collar, Dennehy said. A team on the shore then threw a rope to rescuers and pulled the humans and canine to safety, he said.

“The dog wanted to get out of the water pretty bad,” he said. “It was cold, so the dog was shivering pretty good.”

Dennehy said it was a good thing rescuers arrived when they did.

“There was a current, so the dog would have tired out after a certain amount of time,” he said.

Once ashore, firefighters wrapped Crosby in a blanket and warmed the dog in the back of a police cruiser before returning her to her owner, Dennehy said.

For saving Crosby’s life, the department will receive PETA's Compassionate Fire Department Award, according to the organization.

"The compassion and heroism shown by the Wellesley Fire Department is an inspiration," said PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman in a statement. "Wellesley is very fortunate to have first responders who are ready to protect and serve both residents and their beloved animal companions."

The fire department will receive a framed certificate, a letter of appreciation, and a box of vegan chocolates from PETA.

PETA reminds all dog guardians to always keep their animals on a comfortable and secure harness when taking them for walks.

For more coverage of Wellesley, go to boston.com/wellesley.

Local students honored by Middlesex District Attorney for avoiding drugs and alcohol

December 2, 2013 04:55 PM

About 85 middle school students in Middlesex County were honored for their leadership, judgment, and decision-making -- especially when it came to avoiding drugs and alcohol -- at an annual peer leadership conference hosted by the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

The conference, which was also hosted by nonprofit Middlesex Partnerships for Youth and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association, was held Monday at the Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford. Students from nine local schools who were chosen as role models by school officials were recognized at the event, according to a statement from the district attorney's office.

The nine school districts include Bedford, Dover-Sherborn, Groton-Dunstable, Littleton, Lowell, Reading, Somerville, Weston, and Wilmington.

The event included a keynote address by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, and a presentation by Interscholastic Association's "You Lead" program that supports and connects resources for young people choosing not to use drugs, drink alcohol or smoke tobacco.

“Our youth are under a tremendous amount of pressure whether it to be to fit in with their peers or to be academically or athletically successful,” Ryan said in the statement. “It is refreshing to see these youth who have made good choices in their lives and are committed to healthy living.

"This program is about supporting those who exhibit the confidence, maturity and strength to make positive decisions everyday and to help them continue to be a role model in their community.”

A similar event will be held next month for high school students, officials said.

For more information, visit the Middlesex District Attorney's website.

Massachusetts hunting, fishing licenses for 2014 available

November 30, 2013 04:48 PM

BOSTON (AP) — The new year is a few weeks away but it’s not too early to think about 2014 hunting licenses.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says 2014 hunting, sporting, fishing, and trapping licenses will be available for purchase starting on Monday.

They can be purchased at all license vendor locations, MassWildlife District offices, the West Boylston Field Headquarters, and at MassFishHunt.org.

Anyone 15 or older needs a license to hunt or for freshwater fishing.

Freshwater fishing licenses for minors ages 15 to 17 are free and can be obtained online.

The department also reminds hunters that all deer harvested during shotgun season must be checked at a check station. Online checking is not available from Dec. 2 until Dec. 14.

Curt Schilling selling off memorabilia at his Medfield home Saturday

October 7, 2013 04:37 PM

Curt Schilling, the former famed Red Sox pitcher and failed video-game business owner, is selling off items from his Medfield home this Saturday.

The sale will be short on sports memorabilia, aside from some bobbleheads, baseballs, and a Schilling bathrobe, but offer the more mundane items of Schilling’s domestic life, including candlesticks and couches, a microwave and vacuum cleaner, and even artificial potted plants.

Schilling has sold his assets, including items from his celebrated baseball career, to satisfy creditors since his video game company, 38 Studios, collapsed into bankruptcy in the spring of 2012. The bloody sock worn by Schilling when he pitched for the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series auctioned for more than $92,000 earlier this year.

Schilling has sold his assets, including items from his celebrated baseball career, to satisfy creditors since his video game company, 38 Studios, collapsed into bankruptcy in the spring of 2012. The bloody sock worn by Schilling when he pitched for the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series auctioned for more than $92,000 earlier this year.

Saturday’s estate sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m in Medfield, , according to the company managing it, Consignworks, Inc. of Dudley.

When Schilling’s Providence -based video-game company went bankrupt, it defaulted on loan payments to the state of Rhode Island. To lure 38 Studios from Massachusetts, Rhode Island’s economic development agency had approved a $75 million in loans.

The agency is now suing Schilling and others arguing that it was misled. Neither Schilling nor his representatives could be immediately reached for comment.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.

Massachusetts congressional delegation votes against delay in health care act

September 30, 2013 11:00 AM

All eight current U.S. House members from Massachusetts voted against a temporary budget measure put forward by House GOP leadership over the weekend that would have averted a government shutdown by delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year and repealing the tax on medical devices used to help fund the health care reform law.

The continuing resolution that would have funded the federal government through Dec. 15 cleared the Republican-controlled House on a mostly party-line vote of 231-192, with the Massachusetts delegation voting in a bloc to protect Obamacare despite opposition in the delegation to the medical device tax.

With the Democrat-controlled Senate preparing to reject the budget bill on Monday, time is running out and options appear limited to avert the first government shutdown since late 1995 into early 1996 when Bill Clinton was president. That shutdown lasted 21 days.

Sen. Edward Markey last week warned that a government shutdown could delay processing of new Social Security benefit applications and access to student and small business loans. The House also passed a measure to ensure that military pay continues in the event of a government shutdown if a deal cannot be reached by midnight. Open enrollment for new health plans under the ACA is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

- M. Murphy/SHNS

Needham technology executive welcomes governor Patrick's opposition to tax

September 11, 2013 09:08 AM

The president of a Needham technology company who met with Governor Deval Patrick last week welcomed the governor's new position in opposition to the state technology tax.

“He’s taking the right position. He sees the reputational problem that Massachusetts faces by targeting the tech industry,” Andy Singleton, president of Assembla Inc. of Needham, told the Globe for a story published Wednesday. “Almost everyone who has looked closely at this law now realizes it’s a bad law. Everyone realizes the tax needs to be repealed. It can’t be replaced.”

The measure applies the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax to a variety of computer software related services, including such common business practices as modifying off-the-shelf software, configuring programs, and developing websites.

Patrick announced his opposition Tuesday. Read more in the Globe.

Ride through Middlesex, Norfolk counties to support injured soldiers’ families

August 29, 2013 03:18 PM

Motorcyclists in Middlesex and Norfolk counties are invited to participate in a fundraiser to benefit the families of wounded and recovering soldiers on Sept. 14 in Millis.

The Warrior Thunder Motorcycle Ride starts at Millis AMVETS Post 495, at 404 Village St. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., the ride starts at 11:30 a.m. Police will escort riders through 50 miles of Norfolk/Middlesex County roads and back to the Millis AMVETS post, where registered riders are invited to take part in a barbecue.

The ride will pass through Medfield, Dover, Needham, Wellesley, Natick, Holliston, Milford, and Medway.

The event is being hosted by the Warrior Thunder Foundation, which is made up of veterans, their families, and supporters. Its mission is to raise public awareness and charitable donations for the needs of veterans, particularly injured service men and women and their families.

All proceeds go to The Fisher House of Boston, located in West Roxbury, which provides a place for families of severely injured soldiers a place to stay as the soldiers recover.

This will be the fourth annual ride, according to foundation president Darren Bean, a veteran who now works at Natick Soldiers System Center.

Last year’s ride raised $9,000 for the Fisher House, and the goal this year is to raised twice that, Bean said.

“Recovery and rehab is more than just going in for treatment,” Bean said. “It’s really about their families being there for emotional support, and helping make [recovery] a 24 hour job, and that increases a likelihood that a soldier will recover.”

The cost to participate is $20 for riders, $15 for passengers or those who would like to walk. Advanced registration is available at http://www.warriorthunderfoundation.com/. Those who in active military service can participate for free.

“Motorcycle riders are some of the most patriotic, loyal people you'll ever meet,” Bean said. “Every weekend, you’ll find to eight charity rides, because they’re all giving people.”

Participants are asked to bring a nonperishable, non-alcoholic, unwrapped item that can be sent in a care package to a soldier serving overseas.

For more information, send an email to darrenbean@warriorthunder.org.

Contact John Swinconeck at johnswinc@gmail.com. Follow @johnswinc on Twitter.

New Dedham principal and athletic director set for coming year

August 1, 2013 06:33 PM

The Dedham School Committee welcomed two top level administrators to the Dedham Public Schools at a meeting Wednesday.

Incoming Athletic Director Steve Traister and Greenlodge Elementary School Principal Philip Banios were both recently hired and will begin work this coming academic year.

Traister was previously an athletic director at the Milton Public Schools and Banios was previously assistant principal at Pine Hill Elementary School in the Dover-Sherborn Public Schools.

“I’m enthusiastic and I’m honored to be a part of the Greenlodge School,” Banios said Wednesday. “It’s a smaller school, a neighborhood school, where parents can get to know you.”

Banios said he worked as both a second grade and a fifth grade teacher to give him practical experience in a range of elementary classes.

Traister updated the School Committee about the ability to use local parks in the fall and that he had been working with the town’s Park and Recreation Commission.

School Committee chairman Joe Heisler welcomed Traister, and reminded him of his predecessor Michael Plansky’s successes.

“He broke some new ground here,” Heisler said. “He increased the level of participation.”

MetroWest Health Foundation announces $329,000 in grants

June 14, 2013 11:24 AM

The MetroWest Health Foundation announced in a press release on Thursday that it approved $329,000 in grants to local organizations to improve the health of elders and adolescents, and to assess how some school districts are able to handle students' mental health needs.

Four school districts in Holliston, Framingham, Natick, and Needham will conduct mental health capacity assessments that will evaluate the procedures currently in place to identify, prevent and refer students to mental health treatment and intervention services. The schools will receive training from Boston’s Children’s Hospital researchers on how to complete the assessments, interpret the results and identify areas of improvement.

Mental health issues among students are an area of focus for the foundation. The foundation’s 2012 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey found that one in five high school students reported symptoms of depression, and 5 percent of youth had attempted suicide in the past year.

“It’s clear from our health survey and from talking with school officials that more needs to be done to ensure that students have access to appropriate mental health services and supports,” said Martin Cohen, president of the foundation.

In addition to the school mental health capacity assessments, the foundation’s board of trustees approved an additional 13 grants, including:

From the Framingham Union Grants Panel:

Framingham Public Schools – $25,000 grant to help adolescent boys obtain information and skills needed to build healthy relationships and prevent teen pregnancy.
Framingham State University – $10,000 grant to offer the Lifelong Learning Series Program, which provides social support and enrichment to older adults.
Jewish Family Service of MetroWest – $48,266 grant to train volunteers to assist elders with medical appointments.
New England Eye Institute - $6,000 grant to provide eyeglasses to low-income children.

From the Leonard Morse Grants Panel:

Natick Fire Department - $20,000 to train and certify Natick High School students in CPR, cardiac defibrillation and first aid.

Grants from the Distribution Committee:

Ashland Public Schools - $18,515 to reduce marijuana use among Ashland’s adolescents ages 10-19.
Franklin Council on Aging - $12,245 to offer in-home respite care relief for caregivers of elders in Franklin and Bellingham.
Jewish Vocational Service/ReServe Greater Boston - $48,481 to establish a MetroWest hub for ReServe Greater Boston to enhance the lives of older adults.
Millis Public Schools - $6,740 to train counseling staff in dialectical behavioral therapy, resulting in a reduction of self-harming behaviors among middle school students.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts - $33,747 to expand sexual health education programs for parents and teens in Milford and Marlborough.
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc. - $23,511 to address teen dating violence and increase bystander intervention.
Senior Support Foundation/Holliston, Dover and Sherborn COA - $9,775 to offer evidence-based fall prevention programming.
Share Our Strength - $42,056 to educate parents of young children on good nutrition and healthy eating habits.

The MetroWest Health Foundation states that it provides more than $4 million in annual financial support for preventative and responsive health programs. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $37 million in financial support that helps residents and their families lead healthier lives. For more information, visit www.mwhealth.org.

Contact John Swinconeck at johnswinc@gmail.com. Follow @johnswinc on Twitter.

Law raising age to buy cigarettes to 19 takes effect in Brookline

June 3, 2013 04:09 PM

Eighteen-year-olds can no longer legally buy cigarettes in Brookline, as a measure spearheaded by high school students to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products kicked in over the weekend.

The new law took effect on Saturday, June 1, and will affect 28 retailers in Brookline, which can no longer legally sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19, according to Wesley Chin, the tobacco control program coordinator for Brookline.

The change to local tobacco laws was an initiative led by Eric Dumas and fellow members of the Peer Leadership Group at Brookline High School in 2012. Dumas, who graduated last year, and his classmates, asked the town to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco in an effort to cut down on smoking by students at Brookline High School.

Brookline’s Town Meeting approved the idea by an overwhelming margin of 169-1, and the town joins Needham, which was the first community in the state to hike the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 19 in 2003, and now sets the minimum age at 21 years old. Other communities, including Belmont, Arlington and Dover have also approved raising the minimum age to buy tobacco in the past year.

“A regulation aimed at increasing the purchase age of tobacco to nineteen is good public health policy, as research suggests that those who delay the onset of smoking are less likely to develop a smoking habit,” said Alan Balsam, Brookline’s director of public health and human services, in a statement Monday.

Brookline health officials said that research has shown that about 90 percent of current smokers become addicted before the age of 18, and as a result the Brookline Department of Public Health is focusing efforts on prevention and placing an added obstacle to deter teenagers from addiction.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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