Work has begun to install a three-sided clock in Lexington's Depot Square. Courtesy photo by Jesse Steigerwald.
The granite base has arrived and work has begun to install a new three-sided clock that will be dedicated Saturday to mark Lexington’s 300th Anniversary.
The clock that is being donated by Lexington’s Lions and Rotary clubs will be unveiled Saturday at 4 p.m. at a ceremony in Depot Square’s Emery Park.
Jesse Steigerwald, a member of Lexington’s 300th Anniversary Committee, said the dedication ceremony will not be postponed by bad weather.
“We are hardcore,” Steigerwald said.
Steigerwald said the clock and the installation is costing about $25,000 and work began Friday to install the granite base. The three-sided clock, which has a face for each of Lexington’s 300 years as a town, will be installed late tonight or early Saturday, she said.
The dedication ceremony Saturday will also include the closing of two time capsules that will include items from the town government and the public. The time capsules will be buried in Emery Park and will be opened in 2063.
Celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of Lexington’s incorporation as a town in 1713 began last fall and this weekend is expected to include the culminating events.
Despite some predictions of rain Sunday, Steigerwald said old-time baseball games will proceed as planned Sunday at Center Field off of Park Drive. Opening ceremonies for the games will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the games, entertainment and music that will run from noon to 6 p.m.
Steigerwald said that because there is so much rain in the forecast she is hoping it will increase the number of people who stay in Lexington on the holiday weekend and have the opportunity to attend the events.
The weather is expected to improve by Memorial Day Monday, when the town’s Memorial Day Parade will be held. Monday night, at 6:30 p.m. a 300th anniversary concert featuring the Lexington Bicentennial Band, the Master Singers of Lexington, the Lexington Pops Chorus, and the Lexington Symphony will be performed at Lexington High School. Tickets to the concert are $10; more information about the weekend of events can be found at www.lexington300.org.
The Lexington Retailers Association has postponed the Discovery Day festival until Saturday, June 1, because of inclement weather in the forecast this weekend.
The annual street fair hosted in the Muzzey Street/Waltham Street municipal parking lot in Lexington Center had been scheduled for this Saturday, but rain is in the forecast.
More than 80 Lexington businesses, organizations and town departments are expected to participate in the festival, which offers sidewalk sale, food and entertainment. The festival will now be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 1. More information can be found online at www.discoverydayinLexington.com.
Massachusetts state Senator Karen Spilka has one more reason for supporting Ed Markey's campaign for U.S. Senate. If Markey wins the seat vacated by John Kerry in the special June 25 election, Spilka said she will run for Markey's seat in the U.S. House.
"I'll make a formal announcement that I'm a candidate, once I can call him 'Senator Markey,'" Spilka said in an interview Thursday. "I'm working very hard to get Ed elected, and I believe he will be elected."
Markey, a Democrat representing the Fifth Congressional District, is leading Republican Gabriel Gomez in the race, 41 to 35 percent, according to a WBUR poll.
Efforts to reach Markey's campaign office for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.
Spilka is on a growing list of potential candidates for Markey's seat if he wins the Senate race. Others are Middlesex County Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, state Senators William Brownsberger of Belmont and Katherine Clark of Melrose and state Representative Carl Sciortino of Medford, all Democrats.
Spilka said she has a strong track record in "fighting for the little guy" during her time in the Massachussets legislature, first as a member of the house, then as senator representing the Second Middlesex and Norfolk District, comprising Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, and Natick.
If elected, Spilka would represent communities from Holliston to Winthrop.
Among her accomplishments, she cited the overhaul of the Children Engaged in Services, or CHINS, law, for handling children who consistently get in trouble at home or at school, including runaways and students who are habitually truant.
She said she also helped change state law to allow communities west of Boston to create or join existing regional transit authorities.
Spilka said she would be able to work in the U.S. House, an often fractious and partisan body. "My background is in conflict resolution," she said. "People are tired of hearing about conflict, bitterness, and divisiveness."
She was elected to the Massachusetts House in 2001, before becoming sworn in as Senator in 2005. In January, she was promoted to Majority Whip after previously serving as Assistant Majority Whip since January 2012. She also serves on the Joint Committee on Rules, the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules, and the Senate Committee on Steering and Policy.
Spilka lives in Ashland with her husband, Joel S. Loitherstein. They have three children and three dogs.
Former state representative Stephen Doran arrested for allegedly receiving meth package at JP school
Former state representative Stephen W. Doran was held Wednesday on $10,000 bail after being charged with drug trafficking for allegedly receiving a package containing more than 400 grams of methamphetamine at a Jamaica Plain charter school where he worked as a tutor, authorities said.
The package was mailed to Doran at 215 Forest Hills St., the address of the Match Charter Public Middle School, according to a statement from the Suffolk County District Attorney's office. It had been sent as Express Mail via the United States Postal Service.
At about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, State Police pulled over the Jeep Cherokee that Doran was driving just after he left the school, the district attorney's office said.
State Police had received "information that [Doran] might receive a package with a large amount of methamphetamine," and had obtained a warrant to search the package, said district attorney office spokesman Jake Wark.
Wark, citing an ongoing investigation, declined to say where the package was sent from.
Inside the package, police found two heat-sealed baggies containing 480 grams of a crystalline substance believed to be methamphetamine, a highly-addictive stimulant, authorities said.
Doran, 57, was arrested.
Authorities said they found another 38 grams of the same substance, about $10,000 in cash, a digital scale and "other items consistent with drug distribution" inside his home on Dix Street in Dorchester, after they obtained a warrant to search there.
Altogether, prosecutors estimated the total street value of the seized drugs to be about $50,000.
At his arraignment Wednesday in West Roxbury District Court, Doran was charged with trafficking methamphetamine and with violating the state's drug laws in a school zone, officials said.
A plea of not-guilty was automatically entered on Doran's behalf, said Wark.
Assistant District Attorney Rakhi Lahiri recommended Doran be held on $500,000 cash bail.
Instead, Judge Michael Coyne instead ordered Doran to be held on $10,000 cash bail, Wark said. If Doran posts bail, he will be required to wear a GPS device and remain confined to his home, except if he needs to leave for medical appointments.
During the arraignment, Doran's lawyers said that Doran has been receiving treatment for cancer, according to Wark.
Doran is due back in court on those charges June 24.
He will be charged with a second count of methamphetamine trafficking in Dorchester District Court for the methamphetamine allegedly found in his home, Wark said. A date for that arraignment has not been set.
If convicted, Doran would serve at least eight and up to 20 years in prison, Wark said.
Doran's attorneys, Vincent A. Murray Jr. and Joseph Daniel Eisenstadt, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Between 1980 and 1994, Doran, a Democrat, served seven terms as the state representative for the 15th Middlesex House District, which includes Lexington, where he lived while in office and was also involved in town government.
Doran was born in Boston, earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1978 and went on to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science, according to records from the State Library of Massachusetts.
His time in the State House included serving as chair of committees on ethics, education committee and taxation, the state's library records show. He also served as vice-chair of the government regulations committee.
"During his 14 years in office, Doran focused on budgetary issues, consumer protection, drug/alcohol abuse, economic development, education, elderly affairs, employment, environmental issues, housing, local aid, social services, and women's issues," the state records say. "Doran sponsored and co-sponsored a considerable body of legislation during his time in office, including legislation for tax reform, the prevailing wage law, and the greenhouse bill."
He retired from politics in 1994.
Doran will no longer tutor at the school in JP, according to Michael Larsson, chief operating officer of Match.
"We have no knowledge, nor any reason to believe, that any staff, teachers, or students are involved in this matter or in danger in any way," Larsson said in an e-mailed statement. "We are cooperating completely with the police investigation, and we are conducting our own internally."
"We will share all appropriate information with our staff, students and families to assure them of the safety of our school," he added.
Doran had tutored there since Sept. 2012, Larsson said in an e-mailed statement.
Larsson emphasized that Doran was not a teacher and that Doran, "like all tutors at Match was subject to a Criminal Offender Registry check before he began his service with us. Mr. Doran passed that check."
The district attorney office spokesman said Doran had been arrested twice before. The first was in 1979 for driving while under the influence of alcohol in Framingham; that was "continued without a finding" resulting in its eventual dismissal. In 2001, Doran was arrested in Haverhill for marijuana possession; that case was dismissed at Doran's first court appearance, Wark said.
E-mail Matt Rocheleau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Visitors to Lexington Center go there for the shopping and to dine, but would like to see a bigger mix of retail stores and more casual restaurants, according to a survey conducted by Bentley University students this spring.
Coffee shops and the public library are also big draws to the center, but visitors would also like to see some parking improvements and more independent stores, according to the survey results released this week by the Lexington Center Committee.
Bentley University undergraduate students surveyed about 700 people, 89 percent of which were Lexington residents, during a semester-long course that looked at the best suburban downtown practices.
The Lexington Center Committee, chaired by Jerry Michelson of Michelson’s Shoes in the Center, engaged the students in the Integrated Business Project course to look at the town center. Peter Siy, a member of the center committee, is one of the professors for the course.
The students used a 23-question survey to ask about everything from what is good about Lexington Center, to what could be improved, what are the best words to describe the center and what they think is important for a suburban town center to be successful.
About 77 percent of the respondents were women, and 23 percent were men, and a plurality of the respondents, about 41 percent, visited the center two or three times a week, according to the survey results.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, the top reasons people said they visited the town center were retail shopping, which received and overall score of 3.85, and dining at restaurants, which received a mean score of 3.69 percent. Coffee shops and the library were also big attractions, but visiting doctors or historical sites received the lowest scores of 1.8 and 1.94, respectively.
Visitors ranked a better mix of retail stores and more independent retails stores as the two ways to most improve the overall appeal of Lexington Center, with mean scores of 4.5 and 4.43, respectively, on a scale of 1 to 5. Visitors also said the center could be improved by making parking and traffic management changes, by adding more casual restaurants and extending the evening hours of retail shops.
About 73 percent of the survey respondents suggested that the center needs a bookstore, while 65 percent said suggested specialty foods, 58 percent suggested more women’s clothing stores, and 48 percent suggested a hardware store.
The students also asked respondents what word best describes the center, and the most prominent responses were “many banks,” “friendly,” “historic,” and “charming.”
The Bentley students created a “word cloud” using the descriptors of the square, with the most prominent responses appearing the most prominently in the “word cloud” (see below).
This weekend, a small group of high school students from Greater Boston will travel across the country to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
These eight students will be among about 1,600 finalists from more than 70 countries, territories, and regions competing for more than $3 million at the fair, which bills itself as “the world’s largest high school science research competition,” and will be held in Phoenix from May 12 – 17.
The local students include six residents of Boston, one from Lexington, and one from Medford. They are as follows:
Shirley Fang, 17, a student at the Boston Latin School, whose project is titled “The Effect of Stress on Reproductive System.”
Adrian Haber, 16, a student at the Boston Latin School, whose project is titled “Testing the Effectiveness of Liposomal Nanoparticle Delivery of Oxybutynin to Reduce Bladder Spasms.”
The team of Omar Janoudi, 18; Abeer Sharari, 17; and Adriana Flores, 18; all students at East Boston High School, whose project is titled “Comparing Efficiency of Different Biofuel Sources.”
Benjamin Brown, 18, a student at Lexington High School, whose project is titled “Investigating Methods for Measuring Phosphorus Concentrations in Water.”
Erica Budina, 17, a student at Medford High School, whose project is titled “The Effect of Chemical Crosslinking on the Structural and Mechanical Properties of Extracellular Matrix-Fibrin Hydrogel Scaffolds.”
Nafisa Wara, 15, a student at the Boston Latin School, whose project is titled “Purification of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Antigen and Antibody by Affinity Chromatography.”
Massachusetts ‘mathletes’ will defend championship title at Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition
Four middle school students will represent Massachusetts in a math competition to defend their team's National Champion title in the 2013 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition in Washington, D.C., on May 10.
The annual event brings the nation’s best and brightest middle school math students to compete for individual and team National Champion titles.
“Attitude is great,” said team coach Josh Frost, who also coached the team last year that won the championship title. Three of the four students on last year’s team will be returning to compete again this year.
“They are sticking to the routine that worked for them last year,” said Frost, an eighth-grade math teacher from the Jonas Clarke Middle School in Lexington.
Seventh-grade student Michael Ren of the Pike School of Andover will join returning eighth-grade students Alec Sun of the Jonas Clarke Middle School in Lexington, Matthew Lipman of the Meadowbrook School of Weston, and James Lin of the McCall Middle School in Winchester.
"The Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition showcases the incredible achievements of our nation's most talented math students, and challenges them to reach their full potential in mathematics," said Lou DiGioia, executive director of MATHCOUNTS, in a press release.
Since 2008, Waltham-based Raytheon has been sponsoring the annual competition, which will award the individual champion an $8,000 Donald G. Weinert Scholarship for college and a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.
Statistics showing that students are turning away from math and science after they leave middle school are what prompted Raytheon to “become part of the solution” and start the MathMovesU initiative, according to Pam Erickson, vice president of Community Relations. As a company that hires engineers, Erickson said, Raytheon tries to increase interest in math and science to encourage career possibilities in those fields.
Overall, 224 ‘mathletes’ who represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S territories, will compete in the 2013 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition.
Last year in individual scores, Sun came in second place, Lin in eighth place, and Lipman in 23rd place among all competing participants.
Frost has been training the team representing Massachusetts for seven consecutive years now. Prior to teaching in Massachusetts, Frost taught in New Hampshire, where he also coached the state team for the MATHCOUNTS National Competition for six consecutive years.
“This is the 13th year that I’ve been training a team to try to win,” said Frost. “Having three-fourths of the team back, I feel that a little bit of the pressure is off.”
Frost’s team traveled to the country’s capital today.
Members of the winning state team will receive $2,000 in college scholarships and a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.
Lexington will close a section of the Minuteman Bikeway for approximately three weeks beginning Monday, May 13, because of work to replace a collapsed culvert.
The collapsed culvert has caused flooding on some local property. During the construction the Bikeway will be closed between Woburn Street and the driveway area of the Seasons Four outdoor furniture and garden store at 1265 Massachusetts Ave. in Lexington, according to the Lexington Department of Public Works and Peggy Enders, a member of the Lexington Bicycle Advisory Committee.
Users of the bikeway will be detoured along Massachusetts Avenue, and signs will mark the detour route. The work is expected to take about three weeks.
When Eileen Kneeland rides her bike, she looks like many other recreational cyclists: happy, smiling, and rolling along.
But unlike most other recreational cyclists, Eileen has Multiple Sclerosis.
Fourteen years ago, Eileen went to her doctor because she was not feeling well. On a Friday night, she was diagnosed with MS. By Sunday, she struggled to stand up.
It took Eileen a month of rehabilitation at the same hospital where she had worked as a physical therapy assistant before she was able to walk again. For Eileen, a former college athlete, this was a huge adjustment.
“It was hard to face the fact that I could barely get up and roll over.”
For Eileen, being an athlete helped her recover. “My muscle memory relearned things a lot faster. Also, because I had done physical therapy, I knew what I needed to do.”
What Eileen needed to do was not easy. For this long-distance swimmer, a woman who had always been active, just walking around the cul-de-sac where she lived was a challenge.
“When I first got home, I did walks around the circle. I’d measure how far I went by how many mailboxes I passed.”
The first year that she was diagnosed with MS, Eileen volunteered to help out at the MS walk. As her recovery progressed and she got stronger, Eileen was eventually able to do the walk itself.
Most people with a life-changing illness don’t describe themselves as fortunate. But that’s exactly how Eileen sees herself.
“I’m extremely fortunate, but I know I’ve worked hard to recover. I’m also a glass is half-full kind of person. That’s how my father taught me by how he lived, that’s how I’ve always approached life. Plus I have the support of my husband, Dave, a loving family, and great friends.”
Even with all of these supports, Eileen’s recovery has not been easy. For one, she has had several exacerbations of her MS. Fortunately, they have been controlled by changes in her medication.
As Eileen descirbes it, “There are so many options for treatment now if you get MS.” Once again, this glass half-full woman finds the good in whatever comes her way.
Life has changed greatly for Eileen since she was diagnosed with MS 14 years ago. Although she tried to return to her job as a PT assistant, the physical strain was too much. For a time, Eileen worked ran a work-study program at Holy Cross, her alma mater. But when a position doing community outreach for the Worcester D.A.’s office opened up, Eileen was all-in.
Eileen’s new job was an opportunity. It was also a big change, though one that she quickly embraced.
“I didn’t choose to have MS, but I can choose how I deal with it. And that’s what I focus on when I talk with kids about peer pressure and bullying: I talk with them about the fact that they have choices, too.”
Eileen’s life has changed, to be sure, since she was first diagnosed with MS. She no longer skis—she worries she might fall. But instead of focusing on what she can’t do, Eileen found something new that she can do: ride a bike.
Before she got MS, Eileen did not bike that much. Now, it’s a different story. “I love biking: I can go fast, I get to be outside, and it’s something that my husband Dave and I can do together.”
“When I’m on my bike, I don’t feel like I have MS. I feel centered and balanced.”
Eileen wants people to know that MS is not a life sentence, that you can still be active and happy. And because Eileen can still ride, she will do the Bike MS Martha’s Vineyard Ride on May 4th.
“It’s my way of riding for those who can’t ride.”
Centered and balanced, caring and giving: that’s Eileen, both on and off of the bike.
Full Disclosure: I donated to support Eileen’s ride.
More disclosure: it’s not too late to donate to Eileen.
Jonathan Simmons is the author of “Here For The Ride: A Tale of Obsession on Two Wheels.”
Dozens of people attempted to attend a pro-gun rally in Lexington Friday morning despite an emergency moratorium the town placed on gatherings on the Battle Green after the Boston Marathon bombings this week.
Lexington Police Chief Mark Corr said several groups, ranging in size from eight to 10, to as many as 80 people, came to the town Friday morning beginning around 9:30 for a Second Amendment rally that had at one time been permitted for the Battle Green.
But Corr said after the marathon bombings Monday, and based in part on the advice of federal authorities investigating the attack, the town’s Board of Selectmen held an emergency meeting Tuesday to suspend all permits on the Lexington Battle Green temporarily. Corr said the town consulted federal authorities and state police, and they also agreed postponing the rally would be a good decision.
But dozens of people came to Lexington anyway Friday morning for the rally, and when they arrived Corr said police would not let them on the Battle Green. The decision was underscored by the violent manhunt underway for the marathon bombing suspects in nearby Cambridge and Watertown Thursday and Friday.
“In light of what was happening in the Boston area, I don’t know how we could not have made that choice,” Corr said.
Corr said police did allow the rally-goers to briefly assemble on the lawn in front of Lexington’s visitor center, and briefly say their piece before moving on.
Some of the rally-goers came by motorcycle, and were headed to other pro-gun rallies Friday, Corr said. The rally permit had previously been granted to a Stephen Redfern, whom Corr said was affiliated with Gun Rights Across America. Before the rally permit was suspended, Corr said other people were going to hold a counter-protest to the pro-gun groups.
Several people who came for the rally were still lingering near the Battle Green shortly after noon Friday.
Walter Reddy, 61, of Weston, Conn., wore a tri-corner hat and other Colonial-era attire to attend the rally in support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, he said. Reddy said he thinks the militias need to be revitalized and restored in several states.
Will Harvey, 40, of Andover, said he came to Lexington to rally support for the Constitution, argue that the country needs to get back to its original values, and to urge people to turn off their televisions and care for the people in their communities.
Speaking together to a reporter, Reddy said there is no excuse for the attack in Boston Monday, but Harvey said that does not mean that the rally in Lexington should be canceled.
“When there is some sort of event, are we supposed to put our lives on hold?” Harvey said.
Corr said he also considered that the Boston Marathon bombings occurred on Patriots Day Monday, a holiday in which thousands of people also visit Lexington to remember the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. He said authorities were also weary of having a pro-gun rally on the April 19 anniversaries of the government siege in Waco, Texas, and the Oklahoma City bombing in the 1990s.
Lexington Selectman Norm Cohen said the board’s emergency vote to place a moratorium on all rally permits for the Battle Green was done completely in the interest of public safety.
Cohen said the pro-gun supporters can reapply for another permit once the moratorium is lifted.