Post image for Selectmen update: Recognizing service of outgoing members, reorganizing the new board

Above: Earlier this month, an outgoing selectmen was recognized for years of service to the Town. Last night, the board picked its new chair and really new vice chair. (images L-R cropped from SAM video and tweets by @17common)

Last night, the Board of Selectmen welcomed new members and reorganized its officers. But before I get to that, I need to recap a moment I missed earlier this month. It was a formal recognition for the service of outgoing members.

Goodbye to outgoing selectmen

May 7th was Bonnie Phaneuf’s final meeting as a selectman. It capped close to 14 combined years of service in that role over two stints (2002-11 and 2014-19).  (You can watch the recognition here.)

Chair Lisa Braccio acknowledged that Phaneuf was going to hate being the object of praise, but said it was well deserved. Braccio said they could never thank her enough for her service. She personally appreciated her mentorship.

State Representative Carolyn Dykema surprised Phaneuf by presenting her with citations from MA General Court and the State Senate her service and dedication to the community. Dykema cited Phaneuf’s years of advocacy for seniors, the disabled, and public safety. She also noted the Phaneuf’s long efforts to maintain and beautify the area of the All Wars Memorial to veterans.

Phanuef told the room that she previously lived in 26 different homes before making Southborough her home. Within months of her marriage, 49 years ago, she moved here to her husband’s hometown. When they built their home on Middle Road, they agreed never to uproot their children. Since then, she voted for very big projects, knowing that she’d have to pay for them but hoping others would benefit. That included the Southborough schools that her grandkids now attend.

The officials acknowledged the many hours that Phaneuf’s service had taken her away from her family. That was echoed in comments by her family.

Husband Peter Phaneuf told the board that they were losing a great selectman but he was getting back his wife. He followed that one of her grandchildren was happy that there were “No more meetings!” to take Nana away. Son Peter J. Phaneuf was looking forward to her phone not ringing endlessly off the hook.

He told the room that Phaneuf’s grandkids call her the Mayor of Southborough. He said he was very proud of both parents accomplishments for the Town. (Phaneuf’s husband is a retired Southborough Fire Chief.)

Later, her daughter Dr. Laura Bertonozzi tweeted:

Last night my mom participated in her last meeting as Selectwoman- 14 yrs of true advocacy. Thank you, mom, for your service to the @17common and for serving as my most cherished inspiration for what it means to be a true servant leader and a woman in leadership. #MAPoli #Nana

Selectmen also thanked absent fellow board member Brian Shifrin for his 1 1/2 year term of service. Braccio said that there were very few people who managed to change her mind and he was one of them. Referring to his struggle with ALS, she admired the dedication he still gave to the Town. Selectman Dan Kolenda said that anyone looking for a Profile in Courage could look to Shifrin and his family. 

Hello to new selectmen

Selectmen - May 2019 (tweeted by @17common)Last night Marty Healey and Sam Stivers participated in their first meeting as selectmen. It concluded with the board’s annual election of Chair and Vice Chair.

Braccio pointed out that by tradition, selectmen serve for at least one year to learn the ropes before becoming chair. She nominated the senior member who had the least recent term as Chair, Brian Shea. Kolenda seconded but adding the suggestion of Healey as Vice Chair. He pointed out that Healey had received a big share of the votes in the latest election. The duo were unanimously approved.


This morning, I ran into a terrific traffic jam on Main Street on my way to Neary School to chaperone a field trip. (Which is why I couldn’t post a warning then. Sorry.)

Fortunately for me, we figured out an alternate path. Apparently, the situation isn’t expected to improve today or tomorrow – since police are asking others to do the same.

(It sounds like there’s no required detour. So, for some of you, that may mean consulting an app to determine the best route for your destination.)

This afternoon, Southborough Police Department asked me to share this notice:


Main St. reconstruction work is in full swing in the area of Parkerville Road, Deerfoot Road, and Sears Road.

Please expect long delays, especially during the morning commute.

We HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to seek alternate routes. Thank you.


Post image for Marijuana Addiction and Mental Health talk for parents – June 5th

In two weeks, Algonquin will host a talk warning area parents about the impact of marijuana on mental health. 

The presentation “Marijuana Addiction and Mental Health: What We’ve Learned in the Past 5 Years” is organized by the Northborough-Southborough Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative, along with the Hudson Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, the MetroWest Substance Awareness & Prevention Alliance, and the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance.

Marijuana Addiction and Mental Health flyerIt will take place in the Algonquin Regional High School auditorium on Wednesday, June 5th from 6:00 – 8:30 pm. 

Organizers promote:

Adolescent use of marijuana has been on the increase over the past decade. This rise is seen as more teens perceive the drug as being safe. With the entry of the electronic vapor device industry into the cannabis market, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of adolescents vaping high potency marijuana. Almost 20% of teens who use will become addicted to the drug. We are now seeing more and more teens suffer the many harmful physical and emotional consequences of marijuana use; especially concerning is the rise in Cannabis-Induced Psychosis. We are fortunate to have journalist Alex Berenson, author of “Tell Your Children: The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence” speak about this topic to our community.

And: [click to keep reading…]


Audobon Bird Walk – Wednesday morning

by beth on May 21, 2019

Post image for Audobon Bird Walk – Wednesday morning

Above: Some of the birds you might see tomorrow morning at Breakneck Hill. (image cropped from contributed photos of Birds of Breakneck by Dawn Vesey; click on image below right for a better look and more pics)

I know it’s a last minute invite – but the community is invited to join a free Bird Walk tomorrow morning – Wednesday, May 22nd. 

contributed photos of Birds of Breakneck by Dawn Vesey

(click to enlarge)

The walk will be led by MassAudubon’s Jeff Collins. Collins has led several past bird walks for groups in town.

This walk is sponsored by the Stewardship Committee and will take place on Breakneck Hill Conservation Land. Given Collins’ bio, it seems a natural fit:

Jeff Collins is Director of Mass Audubon’s Conservation Science department which includes our statewide bird conservation program, habitat management planning for our wildlife sanctuaries, the Salt Marsh Science program, and Ecological Extension Service. He holds a master’s degree in botany from the University of Vermont Field Naturalist Program.

Jeff is an enthusiastic birder and applies a landscape ecology perspective during our journeys, exploring the relationships of bedrock, soil, water, plants, animals, and human land use all while sharing his enthusiasm for the natural beauty of each destination.

He has traveled extensively, birding and botanizing throughout North America; exploring Southern Africa while a Peace Corps volunteer in Zimbabwe; visiting birding hot spots in Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica, and Nepal; and leading tours to Namibia, Belize, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, and Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.

Obviously, the group believes in the “early bird” bit, since the walk is scheduled for 7:00 am.

Particiants should meet up at the Trailhead Parking Lot on Breakneck Hill Road. If lot is full, you can park at Community Gardens Lot and walk over.

Walkers are asked to dress appropriately to avoid ticks. And, you’ll obviously want to wear good walking shoes. Plus, since the focus is birding, you might want to bring along binoculars or a camera. 

Participants will also take a look at native plants along the way.


The Senior Center is bringing in a dietician to talk to seniors about reducing serious risks to their health.  The presentation will focus on inflammation.

The free talk will take place on Wednesday, June 5th at 10:00 am:

The Fight Against Inflammation: Put Food First

Traci Robidoux, BayPath Dietician will present on this very important subject. It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is somewhere at the root cause of many serious illnesses—including heart disease , many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. Learning how specific foods influence the inflammatory process is the best strategy for containing it and reducing longterm disease risks.

Please sign up at the front desk or call 508-229-4453.


Post image for A Night of Art – May 30th receptions downtown

Above: No need to choose between two downtown receptions on the night of May 30th. There’s time enough to attend both. (contributed image)

May 30th will be a night of celebrating Art and Wellness in downtown Southborough. The evening will feature two receptions coincidentally scheduled by community groups that same night.

Night of Art flyer

(click to enlarge)

They are now working together to make the most of it. Organizers are promoting a Night of Art in Southborough.

Hopefully, the convenience of locations a stone’s throw away from each other will help draw an even bigger audience for both events.

The evening kicks off at 6:00 pm at the Southborough Library with Beyond the Art Classroom. The free exhibit is sponsored by Southborough Cultural Arts Council. It will feature art and design work by previous Southborough students and their art teachers.

The exhibition will be on display in the Library’s upstairs area through that Saturday, June 1st. But the Thursday night Opening Reception offers “Light Refreshments & Comradery” from 6:00 – 6:30 pm followed by the opportunity to meet and greet the 20 artists during an “Artist Stroll”.

Beyond the Art Classroom flyerArtists taking part are:

Martha Bachman
Caitlyn Beck-Sabino
Fred Bloy
Joyce Caras
Susie Carter
Sam Chase
Mary Ann Croatti
Arianne Del Rios
Amy Dietz
Katie Dobberpuhl
Heather Dubois
Marsha Gleason
George Hancin
Denise Johnson
Daniel Martins-Ferreira
Palmer Morse
Michelle Sheppard
Courtney Steacie

The event will run until 8:00 pm. But you won’t want to meander that long. Another reception across the corner will be beckoning.

Southborough Youth and Family Services is organizing a “one night only” community art show – Celebrating Wellness – at the Community House, 28 Main Street. The focus is honoring Mental Health Awareness month. The 7:00 – 8:30 pm reception will include live music and refreshments.

At 7:45 pm, SYFS will present the Laurie Sugarman-Whittier Wellness Award. According to their updated flyer, this year’s honor will go to Mary Ellen Duggan.  [click to keep reading…]


Southorough Lions commit to college sports programs

May 21, 2019 11:00:04 AM
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t. Mark’s School shared news about four of its seniors – sorry, make that “VI Form students” – that are also Southborough residents.

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Downtown Initiative: EDC & BOS joint meeting; Town pursuing grant for zoning assistance

May 21, 2019 09:54:39 AM
Thumbnail image for Downtown Initiative: EDC & BOS joint meeting; Town pursuing grant for zoning assistance

The discussion this Thursday will follow up on a discussion at the May 7th BOS meeting. On that night, selectmen approved EDC’s pursuit of a state grant to help their efforts.

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This week in sports: Girls Tennis players Singles and Doubles Central MA Champs; Boys Track League Champs

May 20, 2019 05:46:41 PM
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Highlights from last week’s competitions and what’s on tap this week in high school sports.

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Algonquin prom pics available online

May 20, 2019 04:56:32 PM
Thumbnail image for Algonquin prom pics available online

Photographer Jeff Slovin shared on social media that pictures are available for free download.

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Memorial Day observances: Flag placement Friday, parade Monday

May 20, 2019 03:16:00 PM
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Here is the information you need to observe Memorial Day in Southborough. Events begin with the annual flag placement in the rural cemetery Friday night.

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The week in government: BOS to revise charge for PILOT Committee

May 20, 2019 11:21:05 AM
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A list of board and committee meetings for the week with my selected highlights from the agendas.

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Events this week: Mosaics, Farm Hike, Poetry writing, Iftar Dinner, and early Memorial Day observances

May 20, 2019 10:45:21 AM
Thumbnail image for Events this week: Mosaics, Farm Hike, Poetry writing, Iftar Dinner, and early Memorial Day observances

Here are some highlights of events in and around Southborough this week.

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Videos: Choral Masterworks, Restorative Sleep, Jazz, Drama, and Bees

May 17, 2019 03:40:53 PM
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Here is the latest round of videos from local media and the schools.

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