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Shawn Dooley wins House seat

January 8, 2014 11:21 AM

House Republicans will soon add to their ranks after Shawn Dooley, the town clerk and School Committee chairman in Norfolk, cruised to victory Tuesday night over two challengers to capture the 9th Norfolk House seat vacated last year by former Rep. Daniel Winslow.

Dooley was able to hold the seat for the Republicans, defeating an independent and a Democrat, and will become the 29th member of the GOP House caucus when he is sworn in.

Dooley, 47, campaigned on small business creation, ending unfunded education mandates on cities and town, and making it easier for communities to regionalize services like public safety. He easily defeated independent Chris Timson of Walpole and Democrat Ed McCormick of Norfolk in Tuesday's special election.

The seat has been held by Republicans for two decades, including by former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and state Sen. Richard Ross. The district includes Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Plainville, Walpole and Wrentham.

– M. Murphy/SHNS

Raw milk dairies in Foxborough and elsewhere at center of regulation debate

December 5, 2013 11:35 AM

An agricultural group is sticking up for state regulation of raw milk dairies, as the town of Foxborough weighs local oversight.

"Massachusetts sets tough standards for its dairy farmers and every day our farmers rise to meet those challenges and produce the best raw milk available anywhere,” said Winton Pitcoff, coordinator of the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Mass Raw Milk Network, in a statement.

Unpasteurized milk has a following around the country as gastrophiles seek out the unadulterated flavors of the beverage, according to news stories over recent years. There is also a patchwork of regulation in different states, with 33 states allowing raw milk sales, and opposition to its sale by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Milk and milk products provide a wealth of nutrition benefits. But raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to you and your family,” the FDA said on a webpage. The FDA said between 1993 and 2006, 1,500 people in the country were sickened from raw milk or cheese and raw milk is 150 times more likely to cause illness than pasteurized dairy products.

State regulations allow dairies to sell raw milk as long as it is cooled soon after it is milked, it has low levels of bacteria, the milk bottle is dated and permitted for sale for five days after bottling, and it contains a warning label. According to NOFA, the Department of Agricultural Resources has a “stellar” record of ensuring product safety, with no illnesses attributable to raw milk in two decades under the current regulatory structure.

“The state regulations attempt to ensure that the production of milk is done using healthy animals, that the activity is conducted in such a way as to prevent the introduction of contaminants, that the product is handled appropriately to inhibit spoilage in an effort to mitigate the risk of any consumer being exposed to harmful pathogens,” state Energy and Environmental Affairs spokeswoman Krista Selmi told the News Service, saying 28 farms sell raw milk retail. According to the Boston Globe, Lawton’s Family Farm’s owner has said the proposed raw milk rules in Foxborough could put the farm out of business.

- A. Metzger/SHNS

Milford voters overwhelmingly reject proposed casino

November 19, 2013 11:20 PM

Milford voters emphatically rejected a $1 billion Foxwoods-backed gambling resort on Tuesday, crushing a casino proposal five years in development, and shrinking the field of applicants for the state’s most lucrative gambling license.

The casino plan proposed by Foxwoods and its partners, the last of 11 original Massachusetts casino or slot parlor applicants to reach the ballot box, joins a prominent list of pricey projects to die at the hands of the voters.

“There was always a lot of opposition,” acknowledged somber Foxwoods chief executive Scott Butera, after the votes were counted. “We tried to change people’s minds and educate people, but we weren’t able to do it. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”

The Bay State suburbs have proven to be the graveyard of casino dreams, and Milford voters followed suit, defeating the proposal 6,361 to 3,480 in a town-wide referendum. Turnout was 57 percent of 17,400 registered voters, according to the town clerk’s office.

Survey seeks opinions on Norfolk County judges

October 21, 2013 10:00 AM

DEDHAM, Mass. (AP) — The state’s highest court is sending questionnaires to attorneys and court employees in Norfolk County, seeking input on 35 judges as part of an ongoing program to evaluate judicial performance.

The Supreme Judicial Court’s survey covers several categories including a judge’s knowledge of the law, fairness and impartiality, temperament on the bench and treatment of litigants, witnesses, jurors and attorneys.

Lawyers who have appeared in court in the county over the last two years will receive questionnaires.

All questionnaires are confidential and do not ask for the names of the respondents. The resulting reports also will be confidential and are given only to the judge being evaluated and to the chief justices of their courts.

Questionnaires will be accepted by the SJC through mid-December.

Race to replace state Rep. Dan Winslow in Legislature begins

October 4, 2013 03:05 PM

The race to replace former State Representative Dan Winslow is on, with Winslow’s former campaign manager already an announced candidate for the Republican nomination and at least two Democrats considering a run for the seat.

Shawn Dooley – former campaign manager for Winslow and Norfolk’s town clerk – announced last month that he would run for the 9th Norfolk representative’s seat.

Stanley Nacewicz, Winslow’s Democratic opponent in 2010, said he is weighing a run. Edward J. McCormick III, a lawyer from Norfolk who ran for Congress as a Republican in 1992 against Barney Frank but is now a Democrat, also said he is considering running for the seat.

Potential candidates have until Oct. 29cq to submit nomination papers for the special election. Party primaries will be held on Dec. 10, with the general election on Jan. 7. The seat will be open again next fall. The district includes all of Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham, and parts of Walpole, Millis, and Medfield.

Winslow, who last spring ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry, resigned last month to take a job in the private sector

Sen. Richard Ross gains another committee seat

October 2, 2013 06:03 PM

The workloads of the three remaining Republican state senators have grown since former Minority Leader Richard Tisei gave up his seat in 2010 to run for lieutenant governor and former Sen. Michael Knapik resigned this summer to take a job at Westfield State University.

Senate Minority Whip Richard Ross, who has no junior members to whip and already serves on 13 committees, this week picked up a new job, ranking member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Knapik used to hold that post, which placed him on budget bill conference committees and conferences with the House on other key bills.

A Wrentham funeral home owner, Ross already sits on 13 legislative committees.

In the 40-seat Senate, Republicans face logistical difficulties tending to their assignments. Hedlund, the assistant minority leader, sits on 12 committees and Tarr serves on 11.

By contrast, House Minority Leader Brad Jones, one of 29 Republican members of the House, does not serve on any committees. The Senate’s GOP ranks were five-strong back in 2010 when Scott Brown briefly served before giving up his seat to join the U.S. Senate, opening the path for Ross to fill his seat.

Here is a description of Ross's district:

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex -- Consisting of the towns of Franklin, precincts 1 to 4, inclusive, and precinct 7, Millis, Needham, precincts A to C, inclusive, I and J, Norfolk, Plainville, Wellesley, precincts B, F, and G and Wrentham, in the county of Norfolk; the city of Attleboro, ward 1, ward 2 and ward 3, precinct A, and the town of North Attleborough in the county of Bristol; and the towns of Natick, precincts 6, 7, 9 and 10, Sherborn and Wayland in the county of Middlesex.


– M. Murphy/SHNS

Special election to replace Dan Winslow in House set for January

September 30, 2013 01:25 PM

A special election to replace former Rep. Daniel Winslow in the 9th Norfolk House district will be held on Jan. 7, 2014, the House ordered on Monday.

Less than half way through his second two-year term, Winslow resigned over the weekend, leaving his former House district unrepresented to take a position as vice president and general counsel at Rimini Street, a Las-Vegas-based global provider of "enterprise software support services."

The Norfolk Republican delivered his farewell address to colleagues last week during his final session as a member of the House. During that session, he cast a vote to repeal the sales tax on software design services.

After the House adopted the special election order, Secretary of State William Galvin announced primaries in the special election will be held on Dec.10 and that potential candidates will have until Oct. 29 to submit at least 150 nomination signatures to local officials for certification.

The district includes Norfolk, Plainville, Wrentham, one precinct in Walpole, one precinct in Millis, and two precincts in Medfield.

M. Murphy, M. Norton/SHNS

Rep. Dan Winslow to resign to work for software services firm

September 16, 2013 05:17 PM

Once considered to have a promising future in Bay State Republican politics, Rep. Daniel Winslow said Monday morning he plans to resign from the House later this month to pursue a private sector job in software services.

Winslow announced that he has accepted a position as vice president and general counsel at Rimini Street, a Las-Vegas-based global provider of “enterprise software support services.”

According to an aide, Winslow intends to keep his primary residence in Norfolk, but will do some work out of the San Francisco office. Winslow has submitted his resignation letter to the House clerk, effective Sept. 29, necessitating yet another special election in the Legislature and dropping the ranks of the minority party to 29.

“My excitement in joining Rimini Street is tempered by my sadness in leaving the House. I have been thankful for every minute of my service in the Legislature, for the honor of representing the people of the 9th Norfolk towns, and for the opportunity to contribute to debate and solutions to improve our Commonwealth,” Winslow said in a statement. “I hope that my efforts have made a difference and that the ideas I have advanced can be considered in future sessions. I fully appreciate the sacrifice of public service, by our legislators and their families, and hope to remain engaged in civic life in the future.”

Hours after Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Sunday that she would run for governor in 2014, Winslow Tweeted that he would have an announcement of his own about his future Monday morning. Many assumed the former judge and general counsel to Gov. Mitt Romney would run for attorney general after talking with colleagues in recent weeks about the possibility of seeking the top prosecutor job if Coakley stepped aside.

- M. Murphy/SHNS

Rep. Dan Winslow wants to raise speed limit to 70 mph

September 14, 2013 09:01 PM

State Representative Dan Winslow feels the need for speed.

Winslow, a Republican of Norfolk, testified Tuesday on behalf of a bill he’s sponsoring to raise the maximum speed limit in Massachusetts from 65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour on parts of the Pike, I-91. and I-95.

“Our roads are designed for 70. Our cars are designed for faster than 65,” Winslow said at the hearing, according to the State House News Service.

“By having a law that’s on the books that’s not being enforced, we actually incur sort of a lawless approach to driving in Massachusetts, which makes it all the more fun,” Winslow continued. “But my hope is that we can at least join the majority of states by having the maximum speed be 70 rather than 65.”

So, are we really all that slow? It turns out that 11 other states share our same maximum speed limit, eight of them in the northeast, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The rest of the country is split about half-and-half between 70 and 75 miles per hour.

That’s not nearly as brisk as one stretch of highway in Texas, where the speed limit is 85 miles per hour — the fastest road in America.

The only state with a lower maximum speed limit than Massachusetts? Hawaii, which maxes out at 60 miles per hour.

Slowpokes.

This post first appeared on the Starts and Stops blog.

Dunkin Donuts in Canton to host Alzheimer's event

September 10, 2013 09:34 AM

In recognition of September being World Alzheimer’s Month, Canton-based Dunkin' Donuts will help raise awareness through purple sprinkles.

During the week of Sept. 15 to 21, customers can buy the “Purple with a Purpose” Donut, a vanilla-frosted yeast donut topped with purple sprinkles throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

From each sale, 33 cents will be donated to The Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter.

Since 2009, eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire Dunkin’ Donuts have raised more than $70,000 for the campaign.

Brochures providing information about the disease will also be available during the entire month of September.

Customers are also invited to attend the “Purple with a Purpose” community awareness event on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant at 360 Turnpike St. in Canton.

The event will feature donuts, coffee, giveaways, music, and the opportunity to sign up for 11 upcoming Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

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