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MBTA to open rebuilt Yawkey Station in March, boosting service on Framingham-Worcester rail line

February 26, 2014 12:36 PM

Yawkey Rendering.JPG

(MBTA)

A rendering of the soon-to-open rebuilt Yawkey Station.

The MBTA plans to open the rebuilt Yawkey commuter rail station in Boston next month, clearing the way for the transit agency to boost service across the entire Framingham-Worcester line, officials announced Wednesday.

The station is set to open and a new schedule for the commuter rail line is set be implemented on March 10, T general manager Beverly Scott announced.

“I would like to thank everyone for their patience,” she said in a statement. “We’re very excited about launching this new era in the continuing process of improving the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line.”

Completion of the $14.9-million Yawkey Station overhaul was delayed by about two months while the contractor worked to address accessibility-related issues, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

That delay forced the T to hold back on implementing increased service across the Framingham-Worcester line. The Yawkey project includes constructing a second track allowing more trains to move through.

The new schedule will bring the total number of weekday round trips on the Framingham-Worcester line to 24, up from 22 roundtrips currently. The revised schedule also allows trains to stop at more stations while making those trips.

The line only offered 10 weekday roundtrips just before the state struck a deal in 2009 to buy a 21-mile stretch of the line’s tracks for $50 million from railroad company CSX Corp.

Since then, the T has incrementally increased train trips and stops, while improving other aspects of passenger service on the line that was once among the least reliable in the agency’s commuter rail network.

The rebuilt Yawkey Station, located steps from Fenway Park, features a pair of 700-foot-long train platforms that are fully accessible to people with disabilities, four new elevators and stairs, track realignments, an open mezzanine and a new main station lobby, or head house, at Yawkey Way.

More changes to the station are planned to be made if and when the long-delayed, yet-to-break ground massive Fenway Center mixed-use development is built around the station.

Those future improvements include building new entrance shelters on Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street and extending Yawkey Way so MASCO shuttle buses, which serve the Longwood Medical Area, can pull up to the station.

When a parking garage for the Fenway Center development is built, solar panels installed atop the garage will power Yawkey Station, which will make it the first “net-zero energy” rail station in Massachusetts, officials have said.

During the recent construction project, the station remained in use. Riders would use one side of the platform while work would take place on the opposite side, officials said.

State officials held a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the project in the fall of 2010, but the actual work did not start until June 2012, about when officials had originally hoped to finish construction.

The project’s start was delayed because the state needed to wait until the track purchase deal with CSX was complete.

The project was paid for by the state, including through the use of federal stimulus funding, officials.

The developer of Fenway Center, Meredith Management Corp., has agreed to maintain the station’s entrances and elevators after the project is complete.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com.
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Absentee ballots available for Wellesley municipal election voters

February 18, 2014 10:00 AM

Absentee ballots are now available for the municipal election in Wellesley on March 4, according to an announcement from the Town Clerk's office.

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ci.wellesley.ma.us
Wellesley Town Hall
Anyone who qualifies to vote absentee can file an application, including the voter's name, voting address, and instructions on where to send the ballot, to the clerk's office by mail or email with the voter's signature. Applications may also be filed by the voter's family member.

The deadline to file an application to vote absentee is 12 p.m. on March 3, officials said.

This year, Wellesley voters will elect two selectmen and two School Committee members, as well as various other boards and positions. A full list of candidates is available online.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, visit the town's website or call the town clerk's office at 781-431-1019.

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State Rep. Alice Peisch to hold Wellesley office hours Feb. 24

February 18, 2014 02:28 AM

State Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch will hold office hours in Wellesley on Monday, Feb. 24, according to a statement from her office.

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malegislature.gov
State Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch
Peisch will be in Wellesley from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Wellesley Free Library at 530 Washington St., according to the statement.

Peisch or a member of her staff will see constituents on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointment is necessary.

Anyone who cannot make the local office hours can make an appointment to meet with Peisch by calling 617-722-2070 or emailing Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov.

More information about Peisch and general legislation information can be found on her official website.

Peisch represents Wellesley, Weston, and part of Wayland.

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During snowstorm, Wellesley police help deliver baby, save driver with heart attack

February 14, 2014 02:05 PM

During the height of Thursday's raging snowstorm, Wellesley police simultaneously helped deliver a baby and saved a man who had a heart attack while driving on Route 9, according to authorities.

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Wellesley Police Department
Wellesley officers respond during the snowstorm.
Wellesley Police Deputy Chief Jack Pilecki said around 2 p.m. Thursday, a man driving on Route 9 near Route 128 had what appeared to be a heart attack, causing him to drive off the road.

Paramedics rushed through the snowstorm to help him, giving him CPR and ultimately reviving him in the ambulance to the hospital, Pilecki said.

"The last we heard he was alive, and has no serious injuries," Pilecki said.

At the same time, officers also received a call from a panicked man who was trying to drive his pregnant wife to Newton-Wellesley Hospital because she was in labor, but was stuck in standstill traffic because of the snow, Pilecki said.

"At one point, everything was pretty much at a standstill given the rate of how fast the snow was coming down," he said. "This man couldn't go anywhere, but he was right by Papa Razzi, so we had him into the parking lot and then sent some officers over there."

Pilecki said the station had to call Newton for paramedics, since "ours were tied up with the gentleman having the heart attack," he said.

The woman gave birth in the ambulance to a baby boy, Pilecki said.

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Man arrested in Wellesley for allegedly selling phony Justin Timberlake tickets on Craigslist

February 3, 2014 05:49 PM

Wellesley police arrested a Bronx, N.Y. man last week after he allegedly tried to sell locals fake tickets on Craigslist to the Justin Timberlake concert at Boston's TD Garden this month.

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Wellesley Police Department
Wellesley officers arrest Christian Gil, 20, from Bronx, N.Y.
Christian Gil, 20, was arrested Jan. 30 after a local resident sent him cash, receiving phony Justin Timberlake tickets back, according to a statement from Wellesley police. The victim, suspecting the passes were fake, asked a friend to contact Gil and pretend to want to buy tickets as well.

Gil responded to the victim's friend, and at one point sent pictures of the tickets -- which were the same tickets he sold to the victim, police said.

The two friends called the Wellesley Police Department, and officers arranged to be nearby when Gil came to Wellesley Hills Square and allegedly tried to sell the counterfeit tickets to the victim's friend this past Thursday. After the transaction, a handful of Wellesley police officers arrested Gil, charging him with larceny over $250.

Gil was arraigned in Dedham District Court on Jan. 31 and held on $5,000 bail, according to police.

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Wellesley's John Dewar & Co. butcher shop shuts down

January 29, 2014 02:30 PM

A popular upscale butcher shop and gourmet store in Wellesley has closed, according to the store's owner.

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Pat Greenhouse/Globe File
Founder John Dewar at his Newton store
John Dewar & Co. announced on its website that the shop has shuttered its doors after opening almost a decade ago.

"To our incredibly loyal and valued customers we thank you for your business and support over the years," representatives wrote on the shop's website. "It has truly been an honor and our privilege to have had 'a seat at your table' over all of these years."

Owner John Kinnealey said the 277 Linden St. store closed Jan. 18 after management noticed customers were opting to buy their meats at supermarkets like Whole Foods and Sudbury Farms.

"We were at the end of our lease, looking at a potential five-year option, and realized with trends and shopping demographics in flux, that realistically, a long-term option of trying to turn that trend around was somewhat out of our control," Kinnealey said by phone Wednesday. "We had a loyal customer base, but we were losing transactions."

He noted that the company, which merged with T.F. Kinnealey & Co. in recent years, still provides meats to other local restaurants and retail locations.

"We continue to be in a growth mode in terms of servicing the food service industry," Kinnealey said.

The purveyor of quality meat and gourmet goods also shut its original butcher store in Newton in January 2012 after 33 years of business. Founder John Dewar previously told the Globe that limited metered parking, fraying interior store space, and declining business contributed to the Newton location's closing.

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Wellesley seeking Fuller Brook Park logo design submissions

January 29, 2014 11:54 AM

Wellesley officials are seeking creative locals to design and submit a logo for Fuller Brook Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is undergoing a major restoration project.

According to the announcement, the logo should be purely visuals, with no words, and should fit on a 4-square-inch carving stone atop a post. Officials also said entrants should use pictures that immediately bring the image of a park to the mind, such as a bird, a stream, a bridge, or a bench, to name a few.

Participants can enter as many times as they want. All entry pieces must be in color and on a 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, with the entrant's name and contact information attached to it.

Submissions should be delivered or sent to:

Logo Design
Fuller Brook Park Coordinating Committee
525 Washington St.
Wellelsey, Mass. 02482

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. The winner will receive $100.

For more information, call David Wright at 781-235-0349, officials said.

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Flu vaccine clinic offered in Wellesley Feb. 5

January 28, 2014 02:53 PM

The Wellesley Health Department is offering a flu vaccine clinic for the community next week, according to health officials.

The clinic will take place Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Annie F. Warren Recreation and Health Building, located at 90 Washington St.

Anyone under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The clinic is free, but insurance information will be requested, officials said.

For more information, visit www.flu.gov or call the Wellesley Health Department at 781-235-0135.

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Wellesley offering free reports to show residents where they can better insulate their home

January 27, 2014 01:37 PM

Wellesley homeowners can now get a free report showing where they have the most heat and energy loss as part of a local going-green campaign.

The thermo imaging reports are the newest feature of the "Power to Choose" campaign started by the town's Sustainable Energy Committee, according to group members. The thermo image report shows residents exactly where they are losing heat and energy in their house.

The report can help Wellesley residents make efficient home improvements, such as installing insulation or heatproofing windows, that can save them $1,000 per year or more in energy costs, according to group representatives. They also noted that the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that insulation and air sealing typically save 20 percent of heating and cooling costs.

“Seeing the energy leaking from the house is a vital first step, and an in-home energy assessment then allows homeowners to fully realize how they can achieve energy savings in their home,” said Tim D'Souza of Sagewell, Inc., the Cambridge-based company partnering with Wellesley to conduct the reports.

During the assessment, experts conduct a thorough evaluation of the house in question, from the basement to the attic, and will also provide information about how to save money on energy costs, said Peter Holland, managing partner of Wellesley-based Riverstone Custom Building, a home building and remodeling company.

“In addition to some immediate energy efficiency measures, they leave estimates or recommendations of deeper measures you can take to reduce your energy use," Holland said. "Everyone will see energy savings from the thermal image report, energy assessment, and by following up on the recommendations."

Wellesley's "Power to Choose" campaign offers several other options to help local home and business owners reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills, such as providing information on solar power and using renewable sources for energy.

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

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Wellesley students outscore state average on SATs, AP exams, principal says

January 21, 2014 11:38 AM

Wellesley High School students outscored the state averages on SAT and AP tests in 2013, and has also closed a bit of the achievement gap for its African-American and Hispanic students, officials said.

The data for local students' 2013 test scores were presented to the School Committee last week by Wellesley High's principal, Andrew Keough.

Citing College Board data, Keough said in his presentation that Wellesley students' average scores hovered above 600 in all three testing sections -- about 100 points higher than the state and national average for each subject, including math, writing and critical reading -- for an average total of 1823 in Wellesley. Each section is worth a total of 800 points; the highest possible SAT score is 2400.

The vast majority of Wellesley students passed their AP tests as well: 91 percent scored a 3 or higher on their AP exams, compared to the state average of 73 percent. Many universities waive certain courses for incoming freshmen with AP exam scores of 3 or higher, counting their tests as college credit. AP tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 5.

Wellelsey African-Americans saw a 9 percent increase in their average SAT scores in 2013, raising their overall scores 129 points from the previous year to 1539. It closes a gap of 170 points from 2010, according to the presentation.

Local Hispanics saw their average scores grow by 3.2 percent, or 57 points, to 1820 in 2013. The newest figures close a 107 gap from the 2010 scores, the presentation said.

White Wellesley students earned an average SAT score of 1891, which is in the same 10-point vicinity that white students received over the past three years.

To view the presentation, visit Wellesley's public school district's website.

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