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Marlborough Public Schools afternoon cancellations

December 17, 2013 11:35 AM

Afternoon classes for preschool and kindergarten are canceled today as a winter storm moves into the area.

Students currently at school will be dismissed at their regular times.

Afternoon and evening activities have also been cancelled, according to an email sent by Marlborough Public Schools. The Whitcomb sixth-grade concert will be rescheduled for tomorrow evening.

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

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.

A look at Brazilian immigration in Framingham and beyond

December 16, 2013 08:45 AM

THE GREEN and yellow Brazilian flag adorns many downtown shops in Framingham, reflecting the pride of the town’s dominant immigrant group. But as much as the waves of Brazilian immigrants have transformed Framingham over the past 30 years, the town has been a melting pot for generations — only slightly more than half of its immigrants are from Brazil. One in four Framinghamites is foreign born.

All the same, immigration continues to cause political friction even in a town seemingly accustomed to newcomers of all nationalities. For here a microcosm of the national immigration debate played out very intensely on the local level: Town Meeting members faced a vote to require the town-funded English as a Second Language program to check the immigration status of its students to qualify for two classes funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Globe subscribers can read the entire column here.

Middlesex DA pushes for domestic violence bill after Jared Remy case

December 14, 2013 10:02 AM

Months after her office was criticized for its handling of a domestic violence case that ended in murder, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan is pushing legislation that increases penalties on defendants with a history of violence and in cases where the victim is a household or family member.

Ryan testified before the Joint Committee on Public Safety Thursday in favor of a bill (H 3242) that broadens the aggravated assault and battery statute when the defendant has previously been convicted of certain crimes, including violating a restraining order. The bill, entitled “an act relative to protecting domestic violence victims from repeat offenders,” was filed by Rep. Carolyn Dykema, a Democrat from Holliston.

The legislation also increases penalties for a defendant on an assault and battery charge who violates a judge’s order not to contact the victim as a condition of release on bail. Currently, a defendant is subject to increased penalties only when the assault and battery occurs in violation of a restraining order, according to Ryan.

“Right now the legislation does not provide for violation of the court order, a stay away order, to be an aggravating factor. This bill would remedy that,” she said. “This bill would say that if you have been ordered by the court to stay away from the victim and you, in fact, violate that order, commit an assault and battery, that will be an aggravating factor. It just increases the number of aggravating factors.”

The legislation gives prosecutors more tools to recommend higher sentences, and gives judges more discretion in sentencing, without creating mandatory minimum sentences, Ryan said.

Ryan is pushing for passage of four domestic violence bills, according to a spokeswoman. “It is part and parcel of a broader review of domestic violence legislation to increase penalties and discretion in sentencing that began when the DA took office,” spokeswoman MaryBeth Long said.

Ryan testified before lawmakers in July on a handful of bills, including one to create a new crime of strangulation and strangulation with serious bodily injury. In October, the Senate passed a domestic violence bill that included the strangulation measure. The bill is awaiting action in the House.

In August, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office was criticized for how it handled the case against Jared Remy, who was in court on an assault and battery charge two days before he allegedly killed his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, a case that has spurred a reexamination of laws intended to prevent domestic violence.

Remy was arrested for allegedly slamming his longtime girlfriend into a mirror, and the DA’s office was publicly criticized for not asking a judge to continue to hold him, based on a past history of domestic violence charges, or ordering him to stay away from Martel following his arraignment.

In the wake of Martel’s murder, House Speaker Robert DeLeo asked Attorney General Martha Coakley to partner with him in looking at the state’s restraining order laws.

Dykema, who filed the bill in January, said abusers often have a history of violence before the domestic violence incident that should raise a red flag.

The bill recognizes if the defendant has a past history of violent behavior, they would be eligible for increased penalties on the domestic violence charge, Dykema said.

Dykema told the News Service the issue hit close to home for her after a Westborough mother was murdered in a domestic violence incident several years ago. After the woman’s death, she worked with former Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone, and then Ryan when she took office, Dykema said.

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, Dykema said.

“The most frustrating thing I hear from the public when you read these tragedies in the paper, there is a clear history of violence. People ask themselves, and I ask myself, why weren’t we able to recognize this…to discern the clear signs. This (bill) allows us to recognize those past patterns of behavior.”

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority hosting hot chocolate bar event Friday in Framingham

December 9, 2013 04:22 PM

The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority will host a holiday-themed customer appreciation event this Friday complete with a hot chocolate bar and a raffle, according to the transportation organization.

The event will be held at the organization's central headquarters at 37 Waverley St. in Framingham on Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- during the most popular commuting times, the organization said in a statement,

The hot chocolate bar will feature the popular winter-time drink and different mix-ins, as well as whipped cream and sprinkles. Cookies will be served alongside the hot chocolate.

The organization will also have a free raffle, with two pre-loaded Charlie Cards as the prize. Those entering the raffle do not have to be present if their name is picked as a winner, the organization said.

The authority provides fixed-route bus and paratransit service to 11 communities west of Boston. For more information, visit the MWRTA's official website.

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

Marlborough Hospital celebrates 100 years with Tree of Light event

December 5, 2013 11:49 AM

Marlborough Hospital will mark a century of caring with a Tree of Light event on Dec. 16, when the star of the evening will be a tree decorated with lights and ornaments donated by patients, their families, hospital employees, and members of the community.

“We want to thank our many supporters and acknowledge all the lives that have been touched over the past 100 years,” saidd Ellen Carlucci, the hospital's vice president of development, in a press release. “Add up all the lives that have been cared for and treated at Marlborough Hospital and the number is astounding.”

Though the hospital, founded by Hannah Bigelow, MD, opened in 1890, this year marks one century at its Union Street address.

The tree will be decorated by angels purchased in memory of loved ones, and shining stars purchased in honor of physicians, nurses and other hospital employees. Snowflakes and lights will represent appreciation for the hospital, according to a press release.

For more information about purchasing an ornament or to learn more about joining the hospital’s Century Club or Bigelow Society, contact Ellen Carlucci at 508-486-5807.

The even will be held at 157 Union Street in the Leahy Conference Room, with festivities beginning at 5 p.m.

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

Governor Patrick announces projects for Framingham and Marlborough

November 5, 2013 03:07 PM

Gov. Deval Patrick announced funding Tuesday for a Framingham State University building project and transportation improvements in Marlborough.

Patrick, whose administration provided $22 million for MassBay Community College’s Framingham campus, also committed to help make that project a “reality” by working with lawmakers to “fill an additional funding gap.”

Patrick announced $9.3 million for renovating and expanding Hemenway Hall at Framingham State, which will include a science lab.

The state will also spend $1.6 million for pedestrian, motor vehicle and bicycle improvements along Simarano Drive in Marlborough’s Southwest Quadrant, where TJX and Quest Diagnostics are expanding.

The administration says the Simarano Drive investments will support additional housing, a new hotel, and more dining and retail space.

In a press release, the administration also promised to “fix Framingham’s chronic traffic issue that has stunted development in downtown” by beginning construction this winter on Rte. 126 to replace the roundabout at Concord and Union Avenue.

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Middlesex DA launches safe baby sleeping awareness campaign

October 25, 2013 01:49 PM

The Middlesex District Attorney's office is launching a campaign to educate parents on putting their infant to sleep safely, an initiative timed with recognizing October as National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, Awareness Month.

SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies aged 1 month to 1 year of age, and an average of 41 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in Massachusetts, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan's office. Reviews founds that many of those deaths are because of accidental suffocation, which can happen when infants are put to sleep unsafely, the district attorney's office said.

The office will distribute “Let Your Baby Breathe” fliers to hospitals, birthing centers, pediatricians, and community organizations. The campaign will also include a website with tips and resources for parents.

Partnering medical centers will also train their pediatricians to discuss infant sleeping safety with new parents at initial follow-up visits following the baby's birth.

The Middlesex District Attorney's office will also produce a public safety video about the issue.

In a statement, Ryan said the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a blanket- and pillow-free area that is also devoid of bumpers.

"There are a lot of mixed messages out there about what is a safe sleep environment and we hope this campaign provides clear information for parents and caregivers," Ryan said. "SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants, thus this campaign is one way we can make sure no family has to suffer the loss of a child."

Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths by following these guidelines:

• Always place baby on his or her back to sleep -- for naps and at night
• Keep baby’s sleep area free of pillows, soft or loose bedding, padded bumpers, soft objects, and toys
• Place baby to sleep in a separate sleep area close to where you or others sleep
• Place baby in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a tightly fitted sheet
• Do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not allow smoking around the baby
• Give baby plenty of tummy time when awake and when someone is watching
• Prevent overheating by not over-dressing baby and by keeping the room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees
• Frequently checking on your baby
• Call 911 immediately if the baby is not responding
• Talk to ALL caregivers about the importance of safe sleep practices

Partners in this initiative include Lowell General Hospital, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and Winchester Hospital.

The safe sleep initiative was developed by the district attorney's new task force Safe Babies Safe Kids, which grew out of the Middlesex Shaken Baby Task Force and the Middlesex Child Fatality Review Team by expanding the focus to include all types of preventable death and injury to infants and children.

For more information and sleep safety tips visit www.middlesexda.com, www.middlesexcac.org/fatality_prevention, and http://www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS.

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

Regional and vocational technical schools would get more money under bill

October 24, 2013 04:39 PM

Regional and vocational technical high schools would be eligible for additional state funding for capital projects, under legislation filed by Sen. Kenneth Donnelly, an Arlington Democrat.

Advocates for the bill (S 228) told lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Education Thursday that regional and vocational technical high schools desperately need the state’s help to fund renovation and improvement projects because it is nearly impossible to get several different towns all to agree to take on the debt.

James Laverty, superintendent at Franklin County Technical School, said his school has done as many renovations as they can over the years without asking the towns for money.

“We will have to go to 19 towns at town meeting with our hat in our hands,” he said.

The odds are stacked against them to get all the towns to approve a large renovation project, Laverty said.

The town of Heath, in Franklin County, has only two students who attend the school out of 500 students. If 70 people in Heath show up at town meeting, and 36 vote no, “the whole project is dead in the water,” Laverty said.

Under the legislation, regional and vocational technical high schools would be eligible for additional reimbursement, which is calculated by the Massachusetts School Building Authority based on a four-part formula. A school district can receive up to 80 percent of the cost of a capital improvement project, and must pay for any remaining share of the cost.

The formula awards percentage points of reimbursement in three mandatory income-based metrics. Regional school districts often have unequal shares for each city or town when improvement costs are allocated, according to Donnelly’s office. The legislation would increase the percentage points awarded in the grant process for regional schools by 10 points, and vocational schools would receive 20 additional points. The goal is lower the costs for cities and towns, according to Donnelly’s office.

If the Legislature offers a “little more” and regional school capital projects can get closer to 80 percent reimbursement from the MSBA, “it would make it a little easier,” Laverty said.

Alice DeLuca, the Stow representative to the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Lexington, said vocational and technical high school students are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts at traditional high schools because their schools cannot renovate and bring in the latest technologies.

State lawmakers need to back up with money the support they voice for vocational and technical schools, she said.

“These schools provide the middle skills that everybody says they want,” DeLuca said.

“The kids who go to vocational schools do not have a nice, new renovated building and they are never going to unless something is done,” she added.

AMSA to celebrate Computer Science Education Week

October 18, 2013 10:27 AM

The Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough will be hostiing several events for the public to mark Computer Science Education Week in December.

Computer Science Education week celebrates the Dec. 9, 1906 birthday of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist.

On Dec. 7, the school is offering two sessions of an hour-long lesson on coding basics, according to a press release. The topics covered range from HTML web design to create apps for phones and tablets. The first session starts at 11 a.m., and the second starts at 1 p.m. Registration is required.

Other events include Portal 2 competitions in which participants must navigate a Portal 2 test chamber as quickly as possible. The game is open to the public, and the prize is an XBOX 360 buncle including Kinect. Prizes will also be given to those with the fastest overall time and to the top three in the following categories: students from any high school, AMSA staff and community members. This event is open every day between Dec. 9 and 13, from 4-6 p.m. Again, registration is required.

The school is located at 201 Forest St. in Marlborough.

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

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