Post image for The week in Southborough history: Razing of historic building nixed, restructuring cemetery dept, zoning debate and daring rescue

Above: Five years ago, Southborough Firefighters responded to a report of a person laying/moving on the frozen Sudbury River. (Photo from Southborough Fire Department)

Here’s my new (hopefully bi-weekly) take on “the Villager Files” – from 10, 20, and 30 years ago. Plus, a recap of what was hot news on the blog 5 years back.

10 years ago: ZBA nixes razing of historic building

(Northborough-Southborough Villager, February 25, 2005):

Ten years ago, the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected plans to raze Woodbury Tavern, built in 1808. Marquis de Lafayette was said to have stopped their in 1825 to honor the town’s Revolutionary War veterans and soldiers’ widows.

The board denied building of an office complex at the site. ZBA members supported residents concerns about the scale of development for the location (Turnpike Road at Central Street).

(How is it possible that I have no memories of the tavern’s existance? By official town maps, its 75 Turnpike Road address no longer exists. In googling it, I could only find archived stories. At least this one has a long excerpt, sharing that David Falconi was trying to save that piece of town history.)

20 years ago: Looking towards Town Meeting

(Southborough Villager, March 2, 1995): 

Selectmen approved preliminary budgets for town meetings calling for a $1.1 Million increase. One of the 51 warrant articles asked for the establishment of a new position, reporting to the Cemetery Supervisor. The worker would be responsible for maintaining town recreational fields and the cemetery.

(Almost ten years later, restructuring to outsource that maintenance work would contribute to the infamous layoff of the supervisor.) 

[click to keep reading…]

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Post image for Weekend at a Glance: Spelling Bee, magic & juggling, and pancakes

Above: Kid friendly entertainment this week includes the SEF Spelling Bee and Lucky Bob. Top off the weekend with a pancake breakfast. (Top left: Finn’s RunABC team from 2013 Bee – cropped from contributed photo.  Bottom left: posted to Flickr by Tavallai. Right: photo from Facebook)

Here’s a quick reminder of what’s happening around town this weekend.

Friday, February 27, 2015:

  • SEF Spelling Bee (6:00) @ Trottier Middle School: The bee is held by Southborough Education Foundation as an annual fundraiser. This year promises to be at a faster pace than past years. Doors open at 6:00 pm for the raffle and silent auction. The actual bee begins at 7:00 pm. See dedicated post for event details. (Plus, a recent post on auction and raffle prizes is here.)

Saturday, February 28, 2015:

  • Magic and Juggling (11:00 am) @ Southborough Library, upper level: Come be a part of Lucky Bob’s non-stop action, awesome magic and cool juggling stunts. All are welcome. No registration is required.

Sunday, March 1, 2015:

  • Troop 1 Pancake Breakfast (8:00 am – 1:00 pm) @ Neary School: 46th Annual fundraiser for the troop. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, ham, and beverages. See dedicated post for details.

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Post image for Delivery or pickup? Why Mail Carriers aren’t carrying to some in town

Above: For the safety of their drivers and equipment, the post office has guidelines for snow clearance. This clearly doesn’t meet it! (Image posted to Flickr by bunnygoth)

I’m as sick of blogging about snow as you probably are of reading about it. But I have another item to share.

A reader, frustrated that his mail was being held by the local post office asked me to follow up.

As we all know, the old post office creed* hasn’t stood up to this winter. But I didn’t realize that the delivery was impeded beyond the days of the storms.

According to the reader’s complaint, many elderly residents have had to drive to the post office to pick up their mail recently. The post office has safety standards for cleared areas around mailboxes. Given the size of our snowbanks, it’s too much for many to keep up with.

A contact with the US Postal Service provided the diagram and explanation below:

20150227_postal_service_delivery_diagram

During and after a storm and throughout a severe winter like we are experiencing, Postal Service employees will make every reasonable, safe attempt to deliver mail to each and every address on their routes. For successful mail delivery, we ask for the cooperation of our customers to keep their streets and mailboxes clear so that our employees return home safe at the end of each work day.  [click to keep reading…]

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Post image for Transportation woes: MBTA announcement, legislators weigh in, potholes, and DPW budget

Above:  Problems with commuter rail service is just one of the fallouts from this winter’s snow (Image of Southborough station early this month posted to Flickr by Roadgeek Adam)

The onslaught of snow and arctic temperatures has undoubtedly hit public works the hardest this year. But commuters have to be a close second.

I’ve rounded up some news and reports on our transportation woes.

MBTA/Commuter Rail:

For those of you who take the commuter rail (or used to but have given up this month), here are some updates.

Plan to improve operations:

The good news is Commuter Rail operator Keolis has announced that it will get back to full operations under a new plan. The bad news – their commitment date isn’t until March 3oth.

Their goal for today was 78% capacity. You can read more about that in a story by WBUR here. And you can read the company’s latest statement here.

Our legislators weigh in:

Representative Carolyn Dykema released a letter she submitted to the MBTA. In it, she asks the agency to asking them to explain to her constituents top management’s reported double digit pay hikes:

If the public is to make additional, necessary investments in our transit system, it’s crucial they have confidence that decision-makers will allocate scarce resources prudentlly and strategically. (read more)

Senator Jamie Eldridge issued a letter to constituents about the MBTA crisis. In it, he apologizes to commuters and shares his plans for addressing problems:

With the MBTA crisis becoming more severe over the past few weeks, I am continuing to call for increased investment in the MBTA, and our entire transportation system. . .

Going forward, here are a few things that I’m doing (read more)

Reporting potholes:

As I’ve driven around our region, I’ve encountered some pretty nasty potholes this month. So, when I saw this tweet today, I decided to share it with you:

To report a #Pothole on a State roadway: Call 857-DOT-INFO. Online: http://t.co/Bg34B4A5Ik http://t.co/OEDLBLSAgF

— Mass. Transportation (@MassDOT) February 24, 2015

Southborough DPW deficit:

This week, the Board of Selectmen authorized the Department of Public Works to deficit spend up to $160,000 on snow and ice removal. DPW head Karen Galligan explained that overtime was largely responsible for the budget issue.  [click to keep reading…]

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Post image for MassDOT meeting on Main St project – March 11

Above: In November, the DPW released a video update showing changes to the plan since the MassDOT project hearing in June. Here, a street in Hudson is shown as an example of the the planned layout for much of the road. [Note: the sidewalk composition may be different. It is currently planned as asphalt, but that's a detail to be finalized at a later project stage.] (Image from video posted to You Tube by Southborough Access Media)

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation plans to hold a meeting on the Main Street reconstruction project on Wednesday, March 11, at 7:00 pm.

The meeting was originally scheduled for January 28. The blizzard hit a couple days before. It seems like public works and transportation have been buried ever since. Let’s hope things ease up over the next couple weeks! 

This will not be a public hearing to solicit feedback, like the meeting held last June. Instead, it will be an “informational meeting” on the project. Their stated purpose is:

is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed Reconstruction

However, MassDOT promises:

All views and comments made at the meeting will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible.

[click to keep reading…]

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Post image for Recreation sheds a light on town’s field constraints

Above: The Recreation Department is seeking approval to finance new lighting at Mooney field (left) for baseball and improved lighting at Choate field for multiple sports. (Images from Google Maps)

The Recreation Department informed selectmen that town fields are “tapped out” for youth sports. The department head asked for relief that would allow her to make more use of the fields the town has.

This week the Board of Selectmen heard a preliminary proposal to finance improved lighting for town sports, especially baseball. To put their plan in motion, the Recreation Commission has several hurdles to get through. That includes approval of the BOS, Planning Board, Fire Chief, and Town Meeting voters.

Tuesday night was the beginning of talks with selectmen with many questions still left to be answered. (Another step is the Recreation Commission meeting tonight. There, members hope to discuss Mooney Field lighting plans with property abutters.)

Recreation Department Head Doreen Ferguson told the board that motivation for the lighting isn’t about hosting baseball tournaments. She told the board that facilities and fields are stretched to maximum use. And sometimes she’s had to turn people away.

Between giving volunteer coaches time to get home from work and having to stop games at dark, baseball can only hold one practice or game per field per night. Lighting at Mooney would allow them to add an extra session each evening.

Choate field is located at Woodward School. Ferguson said that at night, one of its soccer fields is unusable where the lighting is too dim.  [click to keep reading…]

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Christian community invited to Lenten series (beginning next Tuesday) and Easter service

February 26, 2015 02:20:32 PM
Thumbnail image for Christian community invited to Lenten series (beginning next Tuesday) and Easter service

The United Parishes of Southborough are inviting the community to join their upcoming Lenten series and Easter sunrise service.

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On the market this week in Southborough

February 26, 2015 11:40:00 AM
Thumbnail image for On the market this week in Southborough

What went on the market this week.

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Symphonic chorus memorializing Anne Frank – March 8

February 26, 2015 09:30:30 AM
Thumbnail image for Symphonic chorus memorializing Anne Frank – March 8

Next week, the Assabet Valley Mastersingers are holding a special performance in town.

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More student creativity: Neary Art Show – March 4

February 26, 2015 07:30:00 AM
Thumbnail image for More student creativity: Neary Art Show – March 4

Art Show organizers are hard at work converting Neary hallways into a gallery.

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Scouts challenged to become hydrant heroes; how to find hidden hydrants

February 25, 2015 04:11:00 PM
Thumbnail image for Scouts challenged to become hydrant heroes; how to find hidden hydrants

Scouts in town are being asked to suit up (snowsuit that is) and help the town dig out.

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Obituary: Janice M. (Guida) Burgess, 61

February 25, 2015 02:10:00 PM

BURGESS, Janice M. (Guida) 61, of Southborough, died Monday, February 23, 2015 peacefully at home surrounded by her family, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

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SEF Silent auction (and raffle) prizes: Start the bidding now!

February 25, 2015 11:33:19 AM
Thumbnail image for SEF Silent auction (and raffle) prizes: Start the bidding now!

The annual Spelling Bee is happening this Friday night. But you don’t have to wait until then to check out, and even bid on, the silent auction prizes.

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Police logs: Child endangerment, underage drinking party, and route 9 shutdown

February 25, 2015 09:51:13 AM
Thumbnail image for Police logs: Child endangerment, underage drinking party, and route 9 shutdown

The latest log from Southborough Police Department.

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