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Lexington school superintendent is retiring in 2015

February 26, 2014 11:12 AM

Lexington school Superintendent Paul Ash announced at Tuesday's School Committee meeting that he will retire on June 30, 2015.

Ash, who has served as superintendent for nearly nine years, said in a prepared statement that he is stepping down from his role to take a new position at a large national educational consulting company. He said he announced his retirement now to ensure that the School Committee has time to find a new candidate for superintendent.

Ash's announcement comes as School Committeee members were negotiating a contract extension for Ash beyond the 2014- 2015 school year.

The committee voted 3 to 2 in December 2013 to enter into contract negotiations with Ash, whose contract ran through June 2015.

School Committee Chair Margaret Coppe said the committee had had several negotiation sessions, and that she had met with Ash on behalf of the committee, but that her team had not reached any conclusions before Ash announced his retirement.

Coppe called Ash a superb leader and said that he turned around the school system’s finances, which were in a tenuous place nine years ago.

“We have one of the best school systems in the state, if not the country. A lot of that has to do with his leadership. He will be missed,” Coppe said. “Our responsibility as a School Committee now is to make sure we continue to keep up the high standards of our students and schools and to find someone who can continue with the leadership
standards that he practiced.”

Ash’s tenure as superintendent was marked with both accomplishment and controversy, with some Lexington residents and officials lauding him for steering the district through the worst years of the recession and for his willingness to discuss issues with members of the public, and others criticizing him for perceived problems with transparency and teacher morale.

Ash said in his statement that he is proud of Lexington’s high SAT and MCAS scores, and he said during his tenure the achievement gap has closed significantly.

He also pointed to the schools’ strong financial situation and the good condition of its facilities.

Coppe said she and her fellow School Committee members found out about Ash’s planned retirement yesterday, so they have not devised a process for finding a new superintendent. But she said the committee has already received offers of help from two prior School Committee members who hired Ash, and that it will soon start setting dates for the hiring process.

Boutique hotel opens in Lexington

February 4, 2014 12:20 PM
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Michael J. Lee photo
The Inn at Hastings Park's guest rooms feature decor from New England designers.

The Inn at Hastings Park, a new luxury boutique hotel in Lexington, opened yesterday, according to a press release. The hotel offers 22 modern guest rooms in three historic buildings.

Each room is unique in design and layout. New England products and craftsmen are emphasized in the decor, which was overseen by Robin Gannon of Robin Gannon Interiors. Guests will find Sister Parish Designs and Peter Fasano wallpapers at the hotel, as well as Dunes and Duchess candelabras and sconces, and O&G Studio wood furniture.

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Michael J. Lee photo

Daniel Braun, formerly of Castle Hill Inn, a Relais & Chateau property in Newport, is general manager. The Inn is owned by the Kennealy family of Lexington.

“My husband and I always have embraced a lifestyle that prioritizes warm hospitality, gathering family and friends, and sharing great food,” said Trisha Pérez Kennealy. “With the opening of The Inn at Hastings Park, we look forward to sharing our style of hospitality with guests who come to us for a variety of purposes: tourists experiencing New England; corporate travelers whose work takes them to Boston, Cambridge and the Metro West area; and people from within our community who are looking to experience something special.”

The hotel's restaurant, Artistry on the Green, is set to open in a month. It will feature executive chef Matthew Molloy, who has previously served as a chef at Lumière in Newton and Beacon Hill Bistro in Boston.

Maggie Quick can be reached at margaret.quick@globe.com.

Reception for Faces of Lexington postponed

January 2, 2014 02:54 PM

The opening reception for Faces of Lexington, an exhibit of 37 photographs to coincide with the town's 300th anniversary celebration, has been postponed due to the snow storm.

The reception, originally scheduled for Thursday night, will now be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the lower level of Cary Memorial Library.

The exhibit is currently on display in the Pierce & Meeting Room Galleries at the Library and is open during normal library hours.

Foundation for MetroWest awards $228k in grants to various communities

December 16, 2013 02:03 PM

Representatives from the Foundation for MetroWest announced last week that the foundation has awarded $228,000 in grants to organizations in various communities west of Boston.

The announcement was part of an event held last week at The Center for the Arts in Natick.

The 2013 distributions were focused on three key service areas: arts and culture, environment, and family support. This year's grant recipients will use the money to fund a variety of programs along the lines of these themes, including support for families at-risk of becoming homeless; workforce training and job placement programs; improving access to the arts for underserved populations; the removal of invasive species from local watersheds; and resources to the elderly and victims of domestic abuse.

“During this time of unprecedented financial need, Foundation for MetroWest is proud to support organizations throughout the region,” said Judith Salerno, the foundation's executive director. “By distributing these much needed funds, we are doing our part to ensure that the MetroWest region remains vital and strong.”

A complete list of grant recipients in each category is as follows:

Family Support

  • Advocates, Inc., Framingham
  • Bethany Hill School, FraminghamCOMPASS for Kids, Lexington
  • Cooperative Elder Services, Inc. Lexington
  • Employment Options, Inc., Marlborough
  • Framingham Adult ESL, Natick
  • Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts, Acton
  • Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Waltham
  • Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, Framingham
  • LVM Literacy Unlimited, Framingham
  • MetroWest Legal Services, Inc., Framingham
  • MetroWest Mediation Services, Framingham
  • Minuteman Senior Services, Bedford
  • Natick Service Council, Inc., Natick
  • New Hope, Inc., Attleboro
  • Newton Community Service Center, West Newton
  • REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Waltham
  • SMOC - Voices Against Violence, Framingham
  • Waltham Partnership for Youth, Waltham
  • WATCH, Inc., Waltham


Arts and Culture

  • Assabet Valley Mastersingers, Inc., Northborough
  • The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN), Natick
  • Danforth Art, Museum\School, Framingham
  • Framingham History Center, Framingham
  • Gore Place, Waltham
  • Medway Friends of Elders, Medway
  • Music Access Group, Dedham
  • New Repertory Theatre, Watertown
  • North Hill, Needham
  • Plugged In, Needham


Environment

  • Charles River Watershed Association, Weston
  • Lake Cochituate Watershed Council, Inc., Natick
  • Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, Belmont
  • Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln
  • OARS, Concord
  • Waltham Land Trust, Waltham

The foundation has distributed over $8 million in grants to the local community since its inception in 1995.

For more information, visit the foundation's official website.

Bedford couple part of effort to create memorial for Afghanistan and Iraq vets

December 14, 2013 09:29 AM

WASHINGTON — Brian and Alma Hart of Bedford frequently visit marker 60-7892 at Arlington National Cemetery, the grave site of their son, who died when his unit was ambushed in Iraq in 2003.

But their visits to the capital area do not stop there. They also search for another, more prominent location to memorialize Private First Class John D. Hart — and the estimated 2.5 million of his comrades from America’s post-9/11 wars.

The Harts are part of a diverse movement of veterans and families seeking to establish a national memorial to honor those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their drive is fraught with complicated questions about the “global war on terrorism,’’ its open-ended nature, and the unpopular conflicts it spawned. In all, nearly 6,800 American soldiers have died since 2001 — more than 4,400 in Iraq and nearly 2,300 in Afghanistan.

Globe subscribers can read the rest of the story here.

State Sen. Barrett joins committees on health, adoption, early edication

December 12, 2013 12:40 PM

State Sen. Mike Barrett, a Lexington Democrat who also represents Waltham and other nearby communities, has been named to three committees specializing in health disparities, adoption costs, and early education access, according to a statement from his office.

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State Sen. Mike Barrett
He was recently named to the Health Disparities Council, the Early Education and Care Commission, and a newly-created task force on the adoption process in Massachusetts. The Health Disparities Council, created in 2006, looks for solutions to health care inequalities. The council includes hospitals, insurance companies, community health centers, and the Massachusetts Medical Society, among others. Originally charged with examining racial and ethnic disparities, the council included people with disabilities earlier this year after Barrett pushed for it, according to his office. Representatives noted that he also serves as Senate chair on the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. His office, citing the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said that 13 percent of disabled Massachusetts residents report getting to a doctor is prohibitively expensive, compared to 6 percent of people without a disability. That gap is small relative to other states, but Barrett said in his statement that more can be done. When people with disabilities do get to the doctor’s office, Barrett said, they face further challenges: Earlier this year, a survey of more than 250 specialists in major American cities found that fewer than 10 percent of offices had disability-friendly equipment, such as height-adjustable examining tables, and most lacked specially-trained employees, the statement said.

“On the whole, people with disabilities smoke at a higher rate and have higher obesity numbers,” said Barrett, a healthcare IT specialist by profession, in his statement. “When you dig deeper, you’ll see this population also has a harder time seeing doctors due to high costs.”

Barrett has also been appointed to a newly-formed adoption task force which will recommend ways to reduce costs and delays in the adoption process. The task force, led by children and families department commissioner Olga Roche, will consult with chief justices of the probate and family and juvenile courts to come up with solutions.

Adoption expenses consist of home study and legal fees, among other costs, Barrett's office said.

Barrett will also serve on the recently-created Early Education and Care Commission, which will study early education's high costs and care services, and look at ways to expand access.

Citing the nonprofit Early Education for All, Barrett's office said 40 percent of pre-school aged children in Massachusetts are not enrolled in an early education program.

“Sixteen percent of kids who aren’t reading at a proficient level when they finish third grade end up not graduating from high school on time,” Barrett said. “We should be investing in their future from an early age.”

For more information, visit Barrett's legislative page.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

Special election for Ed Markey's former seat on Tuesday

December 9, 2013 05:21 PM
Special election for U.S. House district Tuesday (via Your Arlington)

Clark Addinivola The special election to decide who will represent the state's Fifth District in the U.S. House is set for Tuesday, Dec. 10. Polls in Arlington will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vying for the seat held until last summer by Edward J.…

NECN to air televised debate between two candidates seeking to replace Ed Markey in Congress

December 5, 2013 11:29 AM

With less than a week to go before a special election, Congressional candidates Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose) and Republican Frank Addivinola are set for their first televised debate.

New England Cable News announced Thursday morning that Clark and Addivinola will debate at 3 p.m. Friday and the cable channel will air the debate at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Rebroadcasts are planned for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m.

The special election to fill the seat formerly held by Sen. Edward Markey is Tuesday.

Independent James Aulenti of Wellesley and Justice Peace Security candidate James Hall of Arlington are also on the ballot.

- M. Norton/SHNS

A look at the two candidates in Tuesday's special election to replace Ed Markey in Congress

December 4, 2013 11:25 AM

Katherine Clark, the 50-year-old Democratic nominee for the Fifth Congressional District, is heavily favored in the Dec. 10 special election to succeed Edward J. Markey in the US House of Representatives.

Yet Clark, a state senator from Melrose, still faces one last test.

Her Republican opponent, Frank J. Addivinola Jr., a businessman and lawyer with six graduate degrees and conservative views on the Affordable Care Act, guns, gay marriage, and abortion, says he is going to win.

Here are brief biographies of the two candidates. Go to Thursday's Globe North and Globe West for more.

Katherine Marlea Clark
Born: 1963 New Haven, CT
Undergraduate education: St. Lawrence University
Profession: State senator
Self-described political views: Progressive Democrat
Personal life: Married with three school-age boys
Current residence: Melrose
Grocery store of choice: Market Basket
International adventure: Studied abroad in Nagoya, Japan, in 1983


Frank John Addivinola Jr.
Born: 1960 Malden, MA
Undergraduate education: Williams College
Profession: Doctoral student, teacher, lawyer, owner test prep business
Self-described political view: Smaller government, traditional Republican
Personal life: Married
Current residence: Boston
Grocery store of choice: Market Basket
International adventure: From 2002-2006, lived in Odessa, Ukraine, and ran a tourist-focused business there

Patrick administration selects 15 communities to participate in Massachusetts Solar Incentive Program's second round

December 2, 2013 04:45 PM

Bedford, Lexington, Needham, and Watertown are among the communities chosen to participate in the second round of the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program.

The grassroots solar energy program, run by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, aims to increase the adoption of solar energy while reducing its overall cost. Residents are offered a tiered pricing structure where savings increase as more people sign on.

“The popularity of Solarize Mass highlights the growing interest in renewable energy across the state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan in a press release that named the 15 communities chosen for the program. “Programs like Solarize Mass allow people across Massachusetts to join the clean energy revolution right at their own homes and businesses, while creating local jobs here in the Commonwealth.”

A designated solar installer will be chosen from each community through a competitive bidding process.

Ten communities participated in the first round of the program and a total of 551 contracts for solar installation were signed.

Shandana Mufti can be reached at shandana.mufti@globe.com.

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